It was the Bitcoin theft which rocked the whole of cryptocurrency in 2014 – a massive haul of 650,000 coins taken from Japanese exchange Mt. Gox, the largest bitcoin exchange in the world at that time. It has been blamed by many as being a major factor behind the declining value of a bitcoin over the last year, and is often cited as an example of why using Bitcoin is a risky business.
The cause of the loss has been the subject of much speculation, but as we move into the new year of 2015, Tokyo police investigating the loss have told The Japan News that the vast majority of the missing coins were taken by a Mt. Gox insider.
In the immediate aftermath of the exchange’s collapse many had speculated that the loss many have been the result of hackers exploiting something called ‘transaction malleability’, a weakness in the way some exchanges were built that some people (including Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles) seemed to blame on the Bitcoin protocol itself. But according to latest statement from Tokyo police a maximum of 1% of the missing coins could have been taken by outside hackers, with the rest falling prey to what they describe as an “unauthorized operation” of the system.
There is, so far, no indication that the police have any leads as to who may have carried out this ‘unauthorized operation’, but they have said that it does not correspond to any customer accounts and appears to have been carried out by someone ‘familiar with the exchange system’.