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Mt. Gox Chief: “I’m Deeply Sorry”

Mt. Gox landed in hot water earlier this year after it lost 850,000 of its clients’ bitcoins. Then the company rediscovered 200,000 of those bitcoins in another digital wallet. Unfortunately for the clients whose bitcoins remain lost, the exchange’s CEO sees no hope of ever recovering them.

Mt. Gox head is “deeply sorry”

Mt. Gox chief Mark Karpeles blames hacking attacks for his exchange’s loss of the digital currency. The bitcoin exchange filed for bankruptcy in February after the incident. A trustee decided that the business should be liquidated in April.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Karpeles said he was constantly worried about what would happen if the bitcoins they were storing ever got stolen. This is the first time Karpeles has spoken with the media since the news conference back in February when he announced that Mt. Gox was filing for bankruptcy. The executive said he is “deeply sorry” and “frustrated” with himself, saying that the exchange’s rapid pace of growth was just beyond what he could handle on his own.

Domain names to be auctioned

Karpeles said he’s planning to auction off some of his domain names in an attempt to keep his other business alive and also pay back creditors. Two of those he plans to auction are bitcoins.com and akb.com, which he bought because there’s a popular Japanese pop group called AKB48. He has not said whether the MtGox.com domain name would be included in the auction.

His other business is called Tibanne and offers web services. He said he plans to find a new chief for Tibanne but stay on at the company as an engineer to build the company’s service offerings. After the debacle with Mt. Gox, Karpeles said he no longer wants to manage. He said his biggest problem when he was running the bitcoin exchange was that he didn’t find experienced executives to handle the daily operations. Instead, he did it himself and failed to focus on the company’s technology. He was the exchange’s only executive, and he spent hours in meetings with bankers and lawyers rather than on developing secure technology.

Where Mt. Gox goes next

Karpeles said he wants someone else to take over Mt. Gox and that there are a number of groups interested in doing so. However, he’s not thrilled with all of the plans that have been offered. For example, child actor Brock Pierce, who became an entrepreneur, wants to use the exchange’s customer money to rehabilitate it. Karpeles said the customer money that’s left should be left alone.

Police in Japan are still investigating the case of the lost bitcoins. Karpeles said in addition to the hacks, they also had physical break-ins at the office and that at least one of Mt. Gox’s employees stole some data. He recommends that anyone who is interested in starting a bitcoin exchange keep security guards on the clock at all times.