The wallet had not been used by Mt.Gox since June of 2011, and was believed to be empty. The discovery of the old coins was confirmed in a March 10 hearing with the Japanese bankruptcy court and supervisor.
Due to ongoing security problems at Mt.Gox, the bitcoin were moved to offline accounts. The discovery of the coins and the movement of them through the Mt.Gox system was noticed immediately by the bitcoin community, prompting wild speculation.
What does this discovery mean for the thousands of users who lost their bitcoin in the Mt.Gox implosion? Not much, at least at the moment. The company is currently under bankruptcy protection, and cannot liquidate any assets without court approval. Given the international nature of Mt.Gox, the lack of legal status for bitcoin, the priority given to creditors in bankruptcy proceedings and the two class-action suits filed by Mt.Gox customers in Canada and the U.S., its entirely possible that the ultimate fate of those newly unearthed coins won’t be determined for years.
Mt.Gox also noted that “the exact number of bitcoins which disappeared is still under investigation” and that the total number of lost coins “may still change depending on the results of the investigation.”