Update 13:00 GMT 20th March: Mt. Gox confirmed the existence of this wallet in a new press release.
A new report suggests that Mt. Gox, the now-bankrupt Japan-based exchange said to have lost 850,000 BTC in customer funds may actually still be in possession of 200,000 BTC ($118m at press time).
The news, published by Yahoo Japan, allegedly comes from the exchange’s bankruptcy lawyer who suggests the bitcoins were found on 7th March in a wallet used by Mt. Gox prior to June 2011.
The 200,000 bitcoins would equate to just over 23% of the entirety of the funds presumed lost by the company in the wake of widespread theft that is said to have occurred on the exchanges for a period of several years. Given the date, these funds may be separate from that money, however.
Though the release does mention that the funds were found, it does not clarify as to whether the company still has access to any bitcoins inside.
Neither Chris Dore, a partner at the Edelson law firm, nor Ted Charney, the lawyer overseeing the Canadian class action, could be reached for comment to verify the report.
Asset freeze relaxed
The revelation that Mt. Gox may still have bitcoins in its possession notably coincided with an additional report that suggests a US judge relaxed restrictions on the movement of Mt. Gox Co. and CEO Mark Karpeles’ assets on 20th March.
That report suggests that Jay Edelson, the lawyer for the US class action, received a letter from US District Judge Gary Feinerman that allows for small amounts of the entities’ assets to be converted back into USD.
This is reportedly a bid to “track its movement and possibly discover assets belonging to Mt. Gox’s American affiliate, Karpeles and another business he owns.”
No connection between the two events has been established.
Speculation runs wild
The news led to wild speculation on reddit as to how the recovered funds would be used, especially in light of the fact that several class action lawsuits are so far suing the exchange for restitution and damages.
Some reddit users expressed optimism that the funds might be used to prop up the exchange’s bitcoin reserves so that it could resume operations, thereby ensuring former users received a greater return.
Notably, the 200,000 bitcoin figure is similar to the 180,000 BTC reported to be moving in the blockchain earlier this March.
Those funds, however, were said to be rapidly splitting in what appeared to be an automated fashion, while the most recent report suggests the newly uncovered funds had potentially been inactive.
Still, for those who lost funds, the discovery of new bitcoins is unlikely to do anything to stem lawsuits.
As noted by Fortune, former customers of the exchange are not creditors, and would not benefit from repayment via the sale of any assets by Mt. Gox or its related entities in either a liquidation or a rehabilitation.
As such, the lawsuits remain likely the only way these individuals will be able to retrieve any lost money from the exchange.
For creditors of the exchange, the path ahead is less certain, as Mt. Gox may be stuck waiting for approval for its proposed rehabilitation for six months or longer, and even then such actions may be blocked in favor of liquidation.
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