Andreas Antonopoulos, a bitcoin thought leader and current chief security officer at hosted wallet Blockchain.info has released a statement regarding the ongoing issues at once-leading bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
Wrote Antonopoulos in his official response:
“I fear the worst. Everything I see makes me believe that Gox will never recover and that the funds are most likely lost.
I am devastated by the impact this will have on customers of Gox and I am angry at the irresponsible behavior of Mt. Gox and especially [CEO] Mark Karpeles that will damage the lives of many people.”
The remarks echo the increasing frustration of bitcoin supporters, who have been highly critical of Karpeles and his handling of problems at the exchange for much of the last month, and are notable as Antonopoulos, despite his critical stance to the company, had moved to ease concerns in recent weeks.
Antonopoulos offered a blow-by-blow account of the issues that have affected Mt. Gox in the past two weeks on his personal blog. He points out the transaction malleability issue Mt. Gox was supposedly experiencing has been a known issue since 2011:
During this time, many exchanges were attacked via DDoS, according to Antonopoulos. The goal, he says, was to uncover other bitcoin exchanges that might be vulnerable:
Gox did develop a fix for the problem on its platform, and Antonopoulos later expressed optimism that the Japan-based exchange might be able to resume normal operations:
The statement from Antonopoulos makes clear that he did not know in advance Mt. Gox was headed for massive failure:
It appears that the writing was on the wall for Mt. Gox for some time. But Antonopoulos stated he did not believe that there was any intent of fraud by Mt. Gox CEO, Mark Karpeles.
Working into the night, Antonopoulos found that Coinbase had solid processes in place to secure bitcoin for its customers.
Comparison to MF Global, not the end
While companies like Coinbase have procedures in place to protect bitcoin wallets, the ultimate fate of Mt. Gox is still murky.
Marc Andreessen’s venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has invested heavily in bitcoin startups. On CNBC this morning he liked the current situation to that of another financial fraud:
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) February 25, 2014
Despite a serious systematic failure of a major bitcoin exchange, the price of BTC has been surprisingly resilient.
When asked for comment, the Bitcoin Foundation offered the following statement:
CoinDesk is monitoring this developing story, and will post updates as they become known.
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