Blockchain and Bitcoin round-up: 10 July 2017
Reading doesn’t have to be a trial. Our latest blockchain and Bitcoin round-up keeps it ultra-brief. Featuring Mt. Gox, less than smooth criminals, the Council of the European Union and Coinsource.
Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of collapsed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, will go on trial in Tokyo next week on charges stemming from the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency from its digital vaults, according to AFP. Karpeles plans to plead innocent.
Mt Gox shut down in 2014 after admitting that 850,000 coins — worth around $480 million at the time — had vanished from its vaults. Karpeles was first arrested in August 2015 and released on bail nearly a year later. AFP says the company “initially said there was a bug in the software underpinning Bitcoins that allowed hackers to pilfer them”. While Karpeles later claimed he had found some 200,000 of the lost coins in a cold wallet — a storage device, such as a memory stick, that is not connected to computers. The firm filed for bankruptcy protection soon after the Bitcoins went missing, “leaving a trail of angry investors seeking answers and denting the virtual currency’s reputation”. Should be an interesting trial.
If you’re familiar with the film or TV series Fargo, then you’ll be blissfully aware that some criminals are thankfully dumb. The Council of the European Union sort of agrees. It has published a bone-dry 291-page report on the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. The big deal is that it doesn’t consider the bad guys to be that bothered about virtual currencies.
The report says cases of organised crime organisations using virtual currencies to have access to clean cash (both cash in/out) are “quite rare”. One of the reasons is that the reliance on virtual currencies to launder proceeds of crime requires “some technical expertise”. You may argue differently.
Enough about crime. Texas-based Coinsource, a Bitcoin ATM network, has launched five new machines in Phoenix, marking its first foray into Arizona. It has installed 50 machines so far this year, now with a portfolio of 116 machines across ten states. Concurrent to the installation in Arizona, Coinsource also added two machines in Los Angeles, and two in Las Vegas.
Coinsource CEO and co-founder Sheffield Clark says it’s also conducted several recruitment rounds, strengthened its team to 20, and is “now close to announcing significant projects outside the US”.