Mt Gox Allowed Trading After Exchange Discovered Loss

According to statements filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas earlier this month, when executives at Japan-based Mt Gox, then the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, discovered that “hundreds of thousands” of Bitcoin’s had “disappeared,” the exchange continued to allow trading in product they no longer held.

Mt Gox Allowed Trading After Exchange Discovered Loss

$473 million bankruptcy

Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. on March 9 after losing $473 million in Bitcoin. The firm also filed for bankruptcy in Japan last month.

Nearly 750,000 customer Bitcoins were lost along with 100,000 of Mt Gox’s own Bitcoin stash, according to a Bloomberg report. The total amount of Bitcoin lost in the theft represents around 7% of all of the digital currency in existence.

Trading after discovery of missing “coins”

On February 7, the date the disappearance was discovered, Mt Gox discontinued customer withdrawals from the exchange. However, customers continued to trade on the exchange until February 24.

Mark Karpeles, Mt Gox chief executive officer, said in a sworn statement, “These events caused among others Mt Gox to become insolvent.”

Mt Gox was originally started as an exchange for magic cards and the name of the firm is an acronym for Magic, the gathering online exchange.

Some close to the derivatives industry as well as certain New York based investment banks have considered starting a Bitcoin exchange, which would certainly help usher the payment method into the mainstream. Analysts, however, point out the difficulty in hedging a currency that has no natural peg in the physical world and no intrinsic value make a robust derivatives market-making system difficult, among other issues.

On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) said that it will consider proposals for a regulated virtual currency exchange. In a nod to the Mt Gox issue, a statement identified “the urgent need for stronger oversight … including robust standards for consumer protection, cyber security, and anti-money laundering compliance.”




About the Author

Mark Melin
Mark Melin is an alternative investment practitioner whose specialty is recognizing a trading program’s strategy and mapping it to a market environment and performance driver. He provides analysis of managed futures investment performance and commentary regarding related managed futures market environment. A portfolio and industry consultant, he was an adjunct instructor in managed futures at Northwestern University / Chicago and has written or edited three books, including High Performance Managed Futures (Wiley 2010) and The Chicago Board of Trade’s Handbook of Futures and Options (McGraw-Hill 2008). Mark was director of the managed futures division at Alaron Trading until they were acquired by Peregrine Financial Group in 2009, where he was a registered associated person (National Futures Association NFA ID#: 0348336). Mark has also worked as a Commodity Trading Advisor himself, trading a short volatility options portfolio across the yield curve, and was an independent consultant to various broker dealers and futures exchanges, including OneChicago, the single stock futures exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade. He is also Editor, Opalesque Futures Intelligence and Editor, Opalesque Futures Strategies. - Contact: Mmelin(at)valuewalk.com