The death bells tolled loudly for Mt. Gox this week as the threads of its elaborate cloak of cover-ups, lies and poor business practices came undone, first with the release of documents the revealed a struggling company desperately seeking new capital, then ultimately with its formal bankruptcy filing on 28th February.
The news reverberated beyond the industry, with mainstream media plunging headlong into the sensational story that was likened to some of the more infamous debacles in the history of the traditional financial system, such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
Still, increased pressure from the outside world galvanized an impressive display of support and resilience from the bitcoin community as it worked to set facts straight and fight against the most recent wave of negative PR.
Notably, major names in the industry like principal of Winklevoss Capital Management Tyler Winklevoss, noted VC investor Fred Wilson and early Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, along with a host of others, went on the offensive for both bitcoin the technology and bitcoin the community.
The result was a growing sentiment that an integral chapter in the bitcoin story had been written, and that the coming year will still give way to the increased investment and higher levels of adoption that were expected at the end of 2013.
Tyler Winklevoss weighs in
Tyler Winklevoss spoke out about Mt. Gox via a blog post, noting that the bitcoin market wasn’t exactly suprised by the news. For example, he indicated that he personally stopped using Mt. Gox last summer, when it “started to look like a roach motel”.
But, Winklevoss didn’t just talk about bitcoin as an investment. He also embraced the idea that the sudden end to Mt. Gox was necessary for the ecosystem, citing it as evidence of the need for the US to work quickly to ensure the creation of regulated exchanges.
“The Mt. Gox ‘crisis’, as it’s been reported, has really been more of a speed bump on the road to mainstream maturity.”
Further, he revealed that he hasn’t sold any bitcoin despite the panic, saying “in fact, I have taken this as an opportunity to buy more” in a statement that could do much to encourage investment.
Fred Wilson reflects
In contrast to his sometimes brash public demeanor, Fred Wilson struck a more somber and reflective note in a blog post on 25th February, choosing to emphasize the sadness he felt at the passing of the first bitcoin company he transacted with.
Wilson continued, noting that bitcoin’s ability to withstand such a collapse was actually an advantage over the existing financial system.
“The wonderful thing about a globally distributed financial network is that if one of the nodes goes down, it doesn’t take the system down.”
He also noted the increasing investment and suggested that “failures, crashes and other messes” are just par for the course with any new disruptive ecosystem.
Andreessen on the offensive
Noted early Internet investor Marc Andreessen was one more the more vocal voices from the bitcoin community, as he took to major news networks to defend bitcoin and its underlying technology.
Andreessen, too, suggested that bitcoin would emerge from the latest setback stronger than ever, now famously stating that Mt. Gox “had to die” as part of this transition. He’ll likely have more time to help move this narrative forward at coming major industry events.
For a full review of the Mt. Gox story, view our complete timeline of the exchange’s entire history below:
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