Troubled Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has been placed in administration after a court in Tokyo dismissed its plan for rebuilding its business. The company, which was once the biggest bitcoin exchange in the world, filed for bankruptcy protection back in February after it lost 850,000 bitcoins worth around $436 million in today’s prices. It blamed the disappearance of the bitcoins on “transaction malleability” issues. It later recovered 200,000 bitcoins, which were said to be in a “forgotten” wallet. Shortly before filing for bankruptcy protection, the exchange was hit with a class-action lawsuit, which accused Mt. Gox and its CEO Mark Kapeles of consumer fraud and negligence.
In Mt. Gox’s case, being placed in administration means that someone has been called in to sort out its assets and figure out how to compensate its creditors. In a statement published on the Mt. Gox website, provisional administrator Nobuaki Kobayashi said that the company’s plans to stay afloat failed to sway the court into leniency.
“The Tokyo District Court recognized that it would be difficult for the company to carry out the civil rehabilitation proceedings and dismissed the application for the commencement of the civil rehabilitation proceedings,” said Kobayashi. “The future outlook is that, although it is subject to the decision by the Tokyo district court, it is expected that the commencement of bankruptcy proceedings will be ordered.”
In his statement, Kobayashi added that it is also likely that Kapeles will be investigated for his role in exchange’s collapse: “It is expected that, if the bankruptcy proceedings commence, an investigation regarding the liability of the representative director of the company will be conducted as part of the proceedings.”
At its most profitable phase, the company had its hand in over 80 percent of all global dollar trades for bitcoin. It underwent something similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which gave management a chance to reorganize and negotiate with creditors.
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