A Mt Gox initial coin offering (ICO)? It’s not unthinkable, according to the defunct bitcoin exchange’s controversial CEO.
In a blog post published yesterday, Mark Karpeles detailed possible avenues for reviving Mt Gox, the once-dominant Japanese bitcoin exchange that collapsed amid allegations of fraud and mismanagement in early 2014. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoin – at then-current prices – were feared lost, though ultimately 202,000 BTC were retained as assets, under the custody of a trustee.
In the aftermath, Mt Gox entered bankruptcy, and has since been at the center of an acrimonious, years-long claims process, including a $75 million claim from CoinLab. Prosecutors in Japan later charged Karpeles with embezzlement, with that trial beginning earlier this summer.
The blog post also addressed a recent bone of contention: while the value of the remaining Gox BTC has swelled as bitcoin’s price has climbed to close to $8,000 per coin, those seeking to recoup their losses may ultimately collect much less, if anything.
And while some are clamoring for that increase in value to be factored into the payouts, Karpeles pushed back on the idea in the blog post, stating that those gains haven’t actually been realized yet, among other complications (the bitcoins remain in the custody of the Mt Gox trustee).
One possible avenue around the issue: reviving Mt Gox, with a price tag of $245 million. This could be accomplished either through a recapitalization by way of an equity sale or an ICO, according to Karpeles.
“Launch an ICO to raise money to hypothetically revive MtGox. This sounds more challenging, both legally and because there is no guarantee of raising enough to revive MtGox. In case there is not enough raised it could still be locked to be distributed to creditors, which would be better than nothing.”
And in a seeming acknowledgement that the idea is rather far-fetched at present, Karpeles suggested that anyone interested in recapitalizing the exchange should get in touch.
“Should anyone have 245 million USD sitting around and want to purchase MtGox, just drop me an email,” he wrote.