Dressed in a suit and tie, Karpeles began his statement to the media with a long, humbling bow in the manner of previous disgraced Japanese business leaders. In a short, prepared statement Karpeles said “There was some weakness in the system, and the bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble.”
While the 750k estimate has been known since the leak of an internal “Crisis Strategy Draft” earlier in the week, until today’s announcement there had been no indication of the loss of a further 100,000 Bitcoins from Mt.Gox itself. At current prices, this brings the total Mt.Gox Bitcoin loss to nearly $500 million. If accurate, this loss represents roughly 7% of all Bitcoins in circulation.
Yesterday, Mt.Gox was also hit with a lawsuit filed by customer Gregory Greene, who claims the exchanges “misappropriated” his $25,000 in Bitcoin. Greene’s suit seeks class-action status, and will likely be joined by many who held accounts in the now defunct exchange. The filing reads in part:
This catastrophic loss has not only revealed the instability of a burgeoning new industry, it has also uncovered a massive scheme to defraud millions of consumers into providing a private company with real, paper money in exchange for virtual currency.”
Mt.Gox is represented in the U.S. by Baker & McKenzie, although that company has yet to make any statement about the class-action suit.