Mark Karpeles is the man who was accused of being responsible for the hacking of Mt Gox. But now he has come clean of all those charges linking him to the hack. He is also known as ‘Magical Tux’. He moved to Japan in 2009.
Now let’s talk about 15 things you did not know about Mark Karpeles.
Mark was born in Chenove, France in 1985. He grew up in Dijon. He studied in College Prieure de Binson in Chatillon-sur-Marne and Prieure De Binson in Dormans. He completed his education in 2003 at Lycee Louis Armand in Prais
2.He was arrested as a teenager
In 2006, Mark has been arrested twice before he was 21 and was found guilty of a financial computer crime and of a money transfer fraud. He got a 3 month suspended sentence with no criminal record. The French authorities in Tokyo had seen confirmation of one prior conviction but had no details.
3.Career prior to Mt.Gox
- He worked at Linux Cyberjoueurs as a software developer and network administrator from 2003 to 2005. He is a PHP developer.
- In 2009 Mark founded Tibanne Co. he is the CEO.
- He was a founding member of the Bitcoin Foundation found in 2012 and was on its board till February 2014.
Bitcoin.Wiki was reopened by Mark in 2010, with MediaWiki. MediaWiki and Martti Malmi’s dokuwiki both existed simultaneously. Mediawiki was more preferred it was evident, so the contents of dokuwiki were copied to the MediaWiki in 2010 and in 2015 the transfer of the complete history of those pages was started. A CryptoPayment was created by Mark, which was used by the Bitcoin Wiki for several years.
5.Saw Bitcoin as a nice experiment
Mark interest in bitcoin arose when one of his web-hosting services customers wanted to pay in the digital currency. Mark was interested in the technology behind Bitcoin and thought of it as a “nice experiment”.
Mark met Jed McCaleb, the founder of Mt Gox, on IRC, an online chat platform. McCaleb transferred Mt Gox to Mark in March 2011 for free with the condition that Mark shared the exchange’s revenue with Jed McCaleb for six months, and he should not be held legally responsible for any problems and he be given a 12 per cent stake.
6.Mt.Gox- to do
It became widely popular in the crypto community within months of the exchange platform launch as it could process bitcoin-to-dollar trades.
Mt. Gox became part of Tibanne, which Karpeles had formed in 2009 as a web hosting and development business.
7.Sole person to have access to the company’s account
Mark always kept a tight grip on the company affairs. He was the sole person who had access to the exchange’s bank accounts and bitcoin holdings. Even the trader’s requests to cash out were resolved by him. His tight grip created bottleneck in the compny.
The requests of the employees to share the passwords to Mt Gox’s bitcoin wallets in case of any mishap fell on deaf ears as he refused and was the only person to have all the passwords. He claimed to have the passwords written on paper stored at his home, the office and an undisclosed location. He always maintained secrecy of the company accounts that he even refused to show them to the prospective investors who came to the company with proposals.
8.Partnership turning into lawsuit
As Mt Gox grew, so did his number of customers with around 30 percent being from America. As Mt Gox did not have license to transmit money in US, Mark feared of running into any regulatory trouble. An exclusive agreement was signed with Coin Lab in November 2012 to service the exchange’s US and Canadian customers.
The partnership did not work and a lawsuit was filed in Washington in May 2013. The ground being that Mt Gox and Tibanne continued serving North American customers directly and failed to transfer their accounts to CoinLab thus resulting in breach of contract. $75 million were demanded in damages.
Mt Gox and Tibanne argued that they did not provide access to CoinLab as they felt that it was not properly registered to do business. CoinLab claimed that they had complied with all relevant laws and were registered to provide bitcoin exchange services. The case was put on hold due to a petition filed by the trustee in Mt Gox bankruptcy, Kobayashi.
9.Not concentrating on the exchange
When other competing exchanges were busy in developing sophisticated trading systems, Mark was buying an unrelated software company called 3D Shade and he started to work on launching a ‘Bitcoin Café’ on the ground floor of the office, which would accept digital currency as payment. He planned to serve quiche and apple pies he made himself in the café. A former employee told that Mark wanted the café to showcase a point of sales system. The café never opened.
10.Mt Gox hacked
Mark was the head of Mt Gox when it was hacked and lost 850,000 bitcoin (around$480 million that time) in February 2014 leading to its eventual demise. Mark was held responsible by many. The company declared banckruptcy on February 28.
The exchange was able to recover 200,000 coins in storage and on its system.
11.Accused of being part of Silk road
Silk Road was an online black market for selling illegal drugs. It was the first modern darknet market. The leader Ross Ulbricht in 2015 in a court proceedings claimed that Mark Karpeles was one of the mastermind Dread Pirate Roberts of Silk Road.
Mark said that the Silk Road investigation had come to an end and that he was not the ringleader and that’s why he wasn’t the one who was facing the trial. He stated: “I have nothing to do with Silk Road and do not condone what has been happening there. I believe bitcoin is not meant to help people evade the law but to improve everyone’s way of life by offering never thought before possibilities”.
Ross Ulbricht was eventually found guilty.
12.Arrested twice in 2015 and spent 11 months in jail
Mark was arrested in August 2015 and served detention for 11 months. He was released on bail in July 2016. He paid 10 million yen ($94,500) as part of bail condition and was prohibited from leaving the country.
He was arrested twice in 2015, the first time he was accused of fraudulently manipulating the cryptocurrency system and inflated the Bitcoin balance in bogus accounts which belonged to Mt Gox.
The second time he was arrested he was accused of embezzling 341 million Yen from Mt Gox account which belonged to the customers. After his arrest it was revealed that some of this money was spent on several women whom he met at venues that offer sexual services.
13.London Trust Media
In April 2018, Mark worked as the chief technology officer at London Trust Media. He reviewed technical architecture from an efficient and security perspective and provided advice and guidance. He was responsible for the cryptocurrency ventures at LTM, as well as its other products. LTM is a technology company investing in virtual private companies and digital currencies. It’s the world’s largest paid virtual private network service.
14.Found guilty of manipulation
The Tokyo District Court found Mark guilty of manipulating exchange data on 15th March, 2019. It was proved that he made wrongful electronic records connected to Mt. Gox’s books but was proved innocent on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.
He was given a suspended sentence of two years and six months. To avoid going to jail he had to maintain a good record for four years. Thus staying out of trouble he can avoid having to serve any of the time.
The court verdict came five years after Mt Gox had filed for liquidation.
After being through a lot in his professional life, Mark announced his return into the crypto world with a new Japan-registered blockchain startup Tristan Technologies. With Tristan Mark aims to utilize his expertise with cryptographic technology. Mark intends to make the Japan a global leader in blockchain technology by serving as the Chief Technology officer.
Tristan technologies plan to design a new, secure blockchain powered operating system that would be faster than the systems which are in use.