The former CEO of bankrupted crypto exchange Mt. Gox has emerged as the new chief technology officer (CTO) for a Japanese blockchain venture.
Mark Karpeles, who was once the most powerful man in crypto–and now one of the most infamous–announced his new position to the press on June 5 at an event held
Karpeles spoke at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on June 5, where he told reporters of his new CTO position and intention to drive blockchain innovation in the country. The former CEO has been living in Japan since 2009 and will be joining Tristan Technologies Co., a Tokyo-based firm that seeks to design blockchain-powered systems capable of operating faster than the current industry standard.
During the event, Karpeles shared his continued passion for the country of Japan, despite the global fallout from Mt. Gox’s collapse
“My love for Japan has not changed. Japan used to be engineering superpower in terms of its PCs but right now, taking the cloud for example, it’s the U.S. that dominates. But I still believe in the potential Japan has and I would like to develop that.”
Karpeles’s involvement in Mt. Gox is one of the most infamous disasters in crypto history. After purchasing the exchange in 2011 from Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb, Karpeles grossly mishandled a hack which resulted in the theft of 850,000 btc (worth $450 million at the time).
Despite managing nearly 70 percent of all btc trades prior to the hack, the exchange was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2014, delivering a serious blow to the fledgling industry of crypto. Users lost millions in the fallout, and bitcoin was cast in a negative shadow that took years to recover from. Critics of crypto pointed to the Mt. Gox hack as evidence of a lack of security and the failure of blockchain.
While exchanges hacks have become commonplace sense, Mt. Gox will forever be remembered as a turning point for cryptocurrency where the industry was forced to weather its first significant adversity. The legal battles generated in the wake of the exchange’s closing are still ongoing, with users waiting to receive reparations that will amount to a fraction of what their btc would be worth today.
Karpeles has not managed to completely get free of the legality surrounding the hack. In March he was acquitted of embezzlement charges related to the Mt. Gox meltdown. However, he was subsequently found guilty of data manipulation, a conviction he claims to be appealing.
Regardless of Karpeles involvement Mt. Gox, the Japanese press appeared in support of his position as CTO. The original outlet to break the story painted Karpeles as a computer genius and fan of gaming and anime, as well as explaining his long tenure living in the country.
Karpeles appears to be making a resurgence in the crypto press after spending years avoiding the spotlight. The former Mt. Gox CEO released a new book “Cryptocurrency 3.0,” and spoke with CoinDesk in an interview, where he claimed that bitcoin’s security framework was in need of an overhaul.