Keeping up with the latest Bitcoin drama can be a time-consuming proposition. The cryptocurrency world has been riddled with considerable disarray since the collapse of the former most popular Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, at the beginning of last week.
The start of this week has been nearly as eventful. Mt. Gox broke its long silence and provided customers with information. Meanwhile, a group of hackers working to “unravel” the Mt. Gox mystery claimed to have gained access to the site’s databases. Additionally, there are whispers in the BTC community that two top members of the Bitcoin Foundation plan to resign.
Here’s what you need to know about the most recent Bitcoin developments, which we’re dubbing “As the Bitcoin Turns.”
Mt. Gox tells us what we already know
Mt. Gox posted to its website the most comprehensive public update since the site went dark early last week around the same time that information leaked that Mt. Gox had lost about 750,000 bitcoins, worth more than $400 million, belonging to customers.
“We believe that there is a high probability that these bitcoins were stolen as a result of an abuse of this bug and we have asked an expert to look at the possibility of a criminal complaint and undertake proper procedures,” the Mt. Gox update reads.
The company also described its plan to file for bankruptcy under Japan’s civil rehabilitation law, restructure and rebuild with the intention to recover damages and repay its debts.
None of this information should surprise anyone. A blogger, who goes by the name “The Two-Bit Idiot” and is considered a credible source of information by most in the Bitcoin community, leaked a document that appears to have been prepared by Mt. Gox around the time the site closed. The document titled “Crisis Strategy Draft” says the bitcoins went missing due to an ongoing “theft which went unnoticed for several years.”
At this point, most in the Bitcoin community are just trying to determine if the theft was conducted by outside hackers or if it was an inside job.
Mt. Gox hacked, again?
While hackers may be responsible for Mt. Gox’s losses, other hackers may have breached the company’s databases in attempt to figure out who stole the bitcoins. In a chat room designated for Mt. Gox discussion, a user with the alias “nanashi____,” who said he was from Serbia, claimed to be speaking on behalf of a group of hackers who infiltrated Mt. Gox.
Nanashi posted what appears to be an audio file of a conversation in Japanese between Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles and a banker, a list of personal contact information for Mt. Gox employees and at least a portion of Mt. Gox’s source code.
Nanashi also said the group stole a 20GB document of Mt. Gox users’ personal information, including copies of passports, but that the group does not plan to release the document.
The chatroom conversation with Nanashi is copied here.
Bitcoin Foundation rumors
To top off the recent round of Bitcoin controversy, The Two-Bit Idiot came back with yet another supposed leak. The blogger wrote that two of Bitcoin’s top emissaries — Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Jon Matonis and Chairman of the Board Peter Vessenes — planned to prematurely step down from their board seats with the foundation.
“It does not appear that Vessenes or Matonis are accused or suspected of any improprieties related to their relationship with Mark Karpeles and Mt. Gox,” The Two-Bit Idiot wrote. “Instead, they seem to have both recognized the need for the Foundation to clean house in order to revitalize its image in the coming months.”
Bitcoin Foundation spokeswoman Jinyoung Englund, in an email, told Mashable that these rumors are “simply not true.”
Two of the foundation’s founding board members have already stepped down in the past five weeks. Charlie Shrem resigned his position after he was arrested on money laundering charges in late January. Karpeles, CEO of Mt. Gox, resigned from his seat at the beginning of last week.
BONUS: What Are Bitcoins and How Do They Work?