Mark Karpelès, former CEO of Mt. Gox (via Twitter).
Technology

Mt. Gox’s Mark Karpeles returns to blockchain tech (updated)

The founder of the famously hacked cryptocurrency exchange wants to build a safer OS on a blockchain

Updated June 7, 8:40 a.m. ET: Karpeles has denied that his company is working with blockchain technology, telling The Block that the report picked up by the AP was wrong. He added that Tristan Technologies is working in cloud computing.

Mark Karpeles, CEO of the infamously hacked Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange, is planning another foray into the blockchain tech business.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on June 5, Karpeles announced that he would be chief technology officer of a start-up planning to build an blockchain-based operating system, according to The Mainichi, a Japanese news site.

The new OS will be built by Tokyo-based Tristan Technologies Co. and will be designed to be faster and more secure than current systems, Karpeles said. He added that one of his goals is to restore Japan’s reputation as a tech superpower, which he believes has been lost to American companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Facebook.

Karpeles was acquitted of fraud and embezzlement charges this past March by a Japanese court after spending 10 months in pre-trial detention. He is appealing a conviction of manipulating electronic data, for which he received a 10-year suspended sentence.

Karpeles was the CEO of Mt. Gox, the biggest hack in cryptocurrency history. Mt. Gox collapsed after 850,000 bitcoin, then worth $460 million, were stolen.  

While still bullish on blockchain’s ability to reinvent financial transactions and utilize smart contracts, Karpeles said he is done with cryptocurrencies, calling them too high risk. He added that he does not own any bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.

Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus senior editor, is a New York-based journalist who has spent much of the last 15 years covering the employee engagement and recognition business. Before that he covered the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and wrote about politics in New York City. Disclosure: Jakobson owns no cryptocurrencies.

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