Mt. Gox wasn’t the only project headed by Mark Karpeles that ended up in limbo.
He was also working on bringing a Bitcoin Cafe to the ground level of the building where Mt. Gox offices were located — a project he focused on until the very last days of Mt. Gox operations, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The cafe was originally slated to open in 2013, featuring an impressive menu of coffee beverages, French quiches, one of which WSJ says was an apple quiche that took hours to make.
So serious about the Cafe was Karpeles that he even took time off from working on his exchange (which was handling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoins) to code software that would keep track of sales at the cafe — which would accept both bitcoins and Yen as a means of payment.
Karpeles purchased a $35,000 pastry oven and $23,000 coffee machine for the cafe, and he even hired a pastry consultant and transplanted a Tibanne (Mt. Gox’s parent company) employee to the cafe project full-time.
The funding for all of this remains dubious.
The cafe was then slated to open in March 2014, but by this time, things at Tibanne had gone awry.
In late February, Mt. Gox announced that it had essentially lost all investor bitcoins stored at the exchange. To this day, it remains unclear just where all the money has gone.
This story also outlines just how distracted Karpeles could be, even as his exchange was burning to the ground. Other things remained priority.