This week in Bitcoin: what’s left in MtGox?

In this week’s Bitcoin review, we recap the MtGox bankruptcy filing in the U.S. and what effect, if any, it had on the market.

Another blow to MtGox?

Last weekend, hackers stole MtGox’s database and posted it online after hijacking the Reddit account of its CEO Mark Karpeles. The data led to speculation that the money wasn’t stolen after all, that Karpeles defrauded the exchange’s customers. After all, nearly 750,000 customer bitcoins are unaccounted for in addition to 100,000 that belong to the exchange itself. The hacked data also posted with a nasty surprise though — “specialized tools” that turned out to be malware to steal Bitcoin wallets. (The irony was not lost on anyone.)

The exchange then on Monday filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in the U.S., which deals with insolvency cases that involve more than one country. The Tokyo-based exchange had already filed for bankruptcy in Japan on February 28. The second filing doesn’t come as a surprise, because Chapter 15 allows for aid to be offered to the company as long as it hasn’t violated U.S. law.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Chicago froze the assets of MtGox, its parent company Tibanne KK and its CEO Mark Karpeles.

The question remains though: what are MtGox’s “assets” in the United States? And what exactly does Karpeles own stateside? The hacked data shows that the exchange might have more in its coffers than it reported, but for now, all money that might be there can’t be redistributed or used.

The market this week

The market is finally leveling off with the price fluctuating between $615 and $638 last week. A $23 swing is nothing Bitcoin enthusiasts should be worried about.

Source: Coindesk

Source: Coindesk

For background on why we’re using Coindesk’s Bitcoin Price Index, see note at bottom of the post. 

In other news we covered this week:

  • Xapo wants to build a Bitcoin “vault” that insures your cryptocurrency and also works as a wallet. Investors have put $20 million in their pot to make the vault a reality. Plus as a sign-up gift, you get 5,000 satoshis.

Here are some of the best reads from around the web this week:

  • It’s a race to regulate Bitcoin — or to not regulate it at all. In the past week, the Bank of England issued a report saying it views Bitcoin as a commodity. Goldman Sachs also said that it is not a currency, but the technology still holds promise. Mexico warned banks against using Bitcoin while Singapore said it will now require exchange operators to verify the identity of their customers and report suspicious activities. The newest report comes out of Iran where Reddit users informally translated an article from the Fars News Agency that suggests the country may implement Bitcoin regulation as early as this year.
  • Re/code interviewed the man who will decide the future of Bitcoin in New York. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t own any Bitcoin.
  • Are we building an internet of money? The Economist discusses the “hidden flipside” to the cryptocurrency and what innovation it may spark.
  • For those still unsure of where they stand in the “Is Satoshi Nakamoto really Satoshi Nakamoto” Newsweek debate, Felix Salmon spent two hours on the phone with the story’s reporter Leah Goodman and remains unconvinced.

Bitcoin in 2014

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Bitcoin’s weekly closing price since 2013

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A note on our data: We use Coindesk’s Bitcoin Price Index to obtain both a historical and current reflection of the Bitcoin market. The BPI is an average of the two Bitcoin exchanges which meet their criteria, Bitstamp and BTC-e. To see the criteria for inclusion or for price updates by the minute, visit Coindesk. Since the market never closes, the “closing price” as noted in the graphics is based on end of day Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST). 

Featured image from pond5/stevanovicigor