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Bitcoin surge prompts bid to remove Mt Gox from bankruptcy

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Leo Lewis
Financial Times, London
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A group of creditors pursuing a potentially vast bitcoin fortune from the imploded Mt Gox exchange have begun a legal action in Tokyo that would, if successful, remove the company from bankruptcy, disburse more than $3 billion worth of coins among depositors, and stop its former chief executive emerging from the debacle as a multibillionaire.

The move, which breaks largely uncharted legal ground in Japan, is a response by frustrated claimants to the recent stratospheric rise of bitcoin and a liquidation process that began when the cryptocurrency was trading at just a fraction of its current price of 2 million yen ($17,600) per bitcoin.

Creditors involved in launching the legal challenge to the bankruptcy say the 40-fold price surge in bitcoin since Mt Gox's collapse in February 2014 has fundamentally changed the financial mathematics of the bankruptcy, because the company's assets now completely dwarf its liabilities.

Mark Karpels, the exchange's former chief executive currently fighting charges of embezzlement in Tokyo, controls the company that owns almost 90 percent of Mt Gox. At the current bitcoin price, Mt Gox could meet all its liabilities and, under Japanese law, Mr Karpeles would then receive his share of the surplus -- a theoretical fortune worth well in excess of $2 billion. ...

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