Mt. Gox says it retains nearly a quarter of 'lost' bitcoins

Kyodo News

Posted at Mar 21 2014 09:52 AM | Updated as of Mar 21 2014 05:52 PM

TOKYO - Mt. Gox, a major bitcoin exchange, retains nearly a quarter of the value of the bitcoin virtual currency it claimed to have lost in late February when it filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan, the exchange operator said Thursday.

Around 200,000 bitcoins were left in a "wallet" used previously, and it has been reported to a lawyer appointed by the Tokyo District Court to oversee court-backed procedures, according to the company.

The amount is roughly a quarter of the 850,000 bitcoins -- then worth around 48 billion yen -- the exchange said disappeared.

The company confirmed the existence of the bitcoins on March 7 and the currency has been moved to an offline wallet -- not linked to the Internet -- in order to ensure its safety. Bitcoin wallets are used for online transactions between currency holders.

The exchange filed for court protection on Feb. 28 under the Civil Rehabilitation Law. Exchange chief Mark Karpeles told a press conference that it lost 750,000 bitcoins owned by users and 100,000 bitcoins held by the company, citing the possibility of the "coins" withdrawn through unauthorized access.

It was also disclosed that around 2.8 billion yen in bank deposits has also been lost.

The exchange, one of the largest in the world, was shut down Feb. 25. The district court is charged with the task of whether or not to start rehabilitation process.