Crypto: Ex-Bitcoin Star Mark Karpelès Wants To Launch A Special Rating Agency

Will a rating agency dedicated to cryptocurrencies see the light of day? At least that is the ambition of Mark Karpelès, former boss of the Bitcoin trading platform Mount Gox (which went bankrupt in 2014 after a hack). “There is still a lot to be done in the area of ​​security,” recalls the former fallen star of cryptocurrencies. “I know almost all the problems an exchange platform can encounter (…), I have a lot of experience with cryptocurrencies. My goal is that this (the Mt. Gox affair, editors note) does not happen again,” he stated. French entrepreneur living in Japan during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday.

In early 2014, a bitcoin theft worth nearly $470 million at the time forced Mount Gox to file for bankruptcy. This Japanese company was at the time the main global platform for transactions in this virtual currency. The fall had been hard for Mr. Karpelès. The man once nicknamed “bitcoin baron” went on to spend nearly a year in pre-trial detention in Japan, where the courts charged him with embezzlement for personal enrichment.

After always claiming his innocence, he was finally given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence in 2019 after being acquitted on the essential counts but found guilty of tampering with electronic data. His conviction was upheld on appeal in 2020. “There is still a lot to be done in terms of security” in cryptocurrency transactions, Mr. Karpelès emphasized on Monday, taking the example of the recent theft of approximately $600 million that the Ronin was the victim of. network, used for the online game Axie Infinity.

He plans to launch “Ungox” in the third quarter of 2022, an independent site that assesses the risk levels of various platforms and projects in cryptocurrencies, with a free share and paid premium content, and also proposes auditing services for companies in attendance. this market, which is often considered very opaque.

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The entrepreneur immediately ruled out using ad revenue to “remain independent,” and estimated $3 million in financing needs for the site’s first two years, which would require “at least ten full-time analysts.”

Karpelès’s misadventures with the Japanese justice system had been given much less light than Carlos Ghosn’s a few years later, but the similarities between their respective legal disputes in Japan were many. The fallen bitcoin “baron” had also met Mr Ghosn twice in 2019, when the former Renault-Nissan boss was still on bail in Japan.

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“I told him that in Japan, if you fight, you can get acquittal, but it takes years,” Mr Karpelès said Monday, saying he was “a little sad” about the flight to Lebanon. the end of 2019. “I really wanted him to fight in Japan because he had the resources to do so and the impact (media, editor’s note) it took to improve the ‘local justice system,'” he added. From now on, it will likely be “much harder” to get bail in Japan, “especially for foreigners,” he estimated.

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