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Valuable bitcoin find

March 21, 2014

Bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt Gox confirmed Friday it had found hundreds of thousands of virtual currency units in an offline digital wallet. But that won't help it reverse its demise as insolvency proceedings continue.

Virtual currency bitcoin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Tokyo-based Mt Gox conceded it had found 200,000 bitcoins worth $116 million (84.1 million euros) after the exchange collapsed in February following news about it having lost about half a billion dollars in a suspected digital theft.

Mt Gox, which at one time processed some 80 percent of global bitcoin transactions, explained the reappeared coins were found left in an offline digital wallet.

"Taking into account the existence of the 200,000 BTC, the total number of bitcoins which have disappeared is therefore estimated to be 650,000 BTC," the insolvent company said in a statement on its website.

Unclear bitcoin future

Japanese officials said they were closely monitoring MT Gox's bankruptcy proceedings as they tried to get a handle on how and why the exchange imploded. The firm itself had claimed a software bug must have allowed hackers to pilfer its virtual currency stockpiles.

Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox goes offline

Bitcoins are generated by complex chains of interactions among a huge network of computers around the globe. The financial unit that some experts refuse to call a currency began a frenzied climb in 2011 which eventually took it to $1,100 per coin in late 2012 before falling off to the level of $850.

Bitcoin's relative anonymity and lack of regulation has been targeted by critics fearing it could be used for money laundering and financing organized crime or terrorism.

hg/jr (dpa, AFP)