The story of a defunct Japanese bitcoin exchange sprung back into life on Wednesday when a little-known U.S. company announced it was leading the charge to find 650,000 units of the digital currency that had previously been lost by the Tokyo-based firm.
Kraken is a bitcoin exchange based in San Francisco and is owned by Payward Inc. On Wednesday the company published a new blogpost detailing the deal saying that it had been selected to support an investigation into the missing bitcoins, as well as the distribution of remaining assets to Mt. Gox's creditors.
Mt. Gox made headlines back at the start of the year when it filed for bankruptcy protection before being placed into formal administration in April. Mt. Gox once claimed that it handled around 80 percent of all global dollar trades for bitcoin, but its success soon turned sour. It came to light that it had outstanding debts of about 6.5 billion Japanese yen ($63.6 million), 850,000 lost bitcoins and 127,000 empty-handed customers.
CEO Mark Karpeles became a figure of hate within the industry and a small clutch of protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the Japanese exchange, demanding their investments back. Karpeles later said that 200,000 of the lost bitcoins had been recovered but that still leaves $241 million of the cryptocurrency, valued at today's market prices, unaccounted for.