The latest attempt to bring bankrupt Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox back to life appears to be a serious one.
William Quigley, managing director of Santa Monica-based venture capital firm Clearstone Venture Partners, is part of a group of investors aiming to resuscitate the collapsed exchange. He recently appeared on CNBC to talk about the bid.
Quigley's fellow investors include John Betts, a former Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs executive, and venture capitalist Brock Pierce. The proposal, which offered to purchase Mt. Gox for just 1 BTC, first surfaced on 10th April.
"You have to understand, of course, that Mt. Gox is much more that just [its] assets [...] The company still has a very important role in the continuation of bitcoin."
As part of the plan put forth by Quigley and his fellow investors, Betts would serve as the new Mt. Gox CEO.
Mt. Gox's precarious state
In the interview, Quigley acknowledged that Mt. Gox had losses that amounted "to the tune of several hundred million dollars". However, he said he believes that the reason why the exchange was plagued by so many problems can be attributed to its own lax practices.
"The company didn’t start as a bitcoin exchange. The measures that we would all put in place when bitcoin is worth $1,000, those weren’t thought important when bitcoin was trading at a penny or 10 cents."
Quigley said that the 1 BTC payment for the failed exchange is simply a token, stating:
"I want to put the one bitcoin term in context. That is a symbolic amount. It’s akin to what we do in the US when we buy a business that has a negative net worth."
Investments in bitcoin
The amount of VC investment in bitcoin has made Quigley take an interest in reviving Mt. Gox.
In the past month alone, bitcoin companies such as Circle and Kraken have received millions of dollars to ramp up their respective operations. “Silicon Valley is investing a lot of money in a lot of bitcoin businesses,” Quigley said.
"I would say there really is a great future for bitcoin. My belief is that we have a tremendous opportunity, at least certainly in the next year."
Quigley went on to compare the amount of investment in the bitcoin industry to the early days of the Internet, a popular comparison that has been widely invoked by bitcoin supporters.
Further, Quigley believes the current legal proceedings in Japan will allow his group of investors to bring the exchange back to life. "I want to point out that Mt. Gox is not in a traditional bankruptcy liquidation process: it’s in a civil rehabilitation process," he said.
His course of action to reboot Mt. Gox was simple:
"Our plan, of course, is to take the exchange, fix the security issues and rehabilitate it."
To learn more about Quigley's bid for Mt. Gox, watch the full CNBC interview below.