The troubled Bitcoin exchange MtGox has announced that it “found” 200,000 bitcoins, which at time of writing is worth over $114 million. There has been no announcement yet that creditors are to be compensated with this discovery. Long story short: “Sorry, about losing your 800,000 bitcoins, but hey, we forgot we left a quarter of it lying around. Aren’t you glad?”
If they’re not lying, it points to more massive incompetence. MtGox claimed they lost 800,000 bitcoins because they didn’t bother confirming withdrawal transactions, resulting in double or more withdrawals, that were all processed. Now, they’re that saying a significant chunk of their assets was simply forgotten and they stumbled upon them.
The bitcoin community isn’t buying it. Many are speculating that MtGox knew about these coins all along and is timing this “discovery” in order to appease their creditors with a 75% haircut, getting only a quarter of their assets back at best.
The top comment on Reddit’s bitcoin board by /u/logical is:
Classic scam – claim everything is gone, then make people relieved when you give them back a small percentage of what they lost.
This sentiment extended to other bitlord hangouts; bitcointalk user Remember remember the 5th of November said:
Looks like someone realized his scam wouldn’t work and quickly “coughed up” the private keys.
Bitcoin wallets are not wallets or accounts in the traditional sense. They’re actually letters and numbers that represent a secret key to access your entry on the public ledger. Bitcoin’s cryptography (barring a huge advancement in computing) means that if you lose the secret key, they’re irrecoverable and those bitcoins are gone, permanently.