With the turmoil caused by the closing of the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox bitcoin currency exchange, Japanese authorities are now investigating the matter to know exactly what happened. Vice Finance Minister Jiro Aichi noted that, “Any regulation of the bitcoin crypto-currency should involve international cooperation to avoid loopholes,” referring to concerns that some government agencies have no jurisdiction over the virtual currency.
While saying that the Japanese government will respond to the matters only “if necessary,” Aichi stressed that, “As for its legal position, a currency under (Japan’s jurisdiction) would be coins or notes issued by the Bank of Japan. At the very least, we can say bitcoin is not a currency.” After the Mt. Gox website went offline on Tuesday, a document started to circulate in the Internet saying that Mt. Gox was missing 744,000 bitcoins worth $423 million. It was later discovered that the author of the document was Mandalah, a consulting firm hired by Mt. Gox for the firm’s “strategic planning.”
The following day, CEO Mark Karpeles assured investors that the company is already looking for solutions. In a statement posted on the site, he said “As there is a lot of speculation regarding Mt. Gox and its future, I would like to use this opportunity to reassure everyone that I am still in Japan, and working very hard with the support of different parties to find a solution to our recent issues.” However, the leaked crisis plan outlines how Mt. Gox plans to reduce liability to its investors and to reset all channels so that it can rebrand under a new CEO. Currently reports say that Mt. Gox is being investigated by the U.S. federal law enforcement for information on how they counter cyber attacks, which the company stated to be one of the reasons the bitcoins went “missing.”
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