The 32-year-old chief executive of defunct Mt. Gox has pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoins and cash from what was once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange. Sonia Legg reports.
There aren't many big names in the Bitcoin world. But French national Mark Karpeles is one of them. He's the chief executive of the defunct exchange Mt.Gox. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF DEFUNCT BITCOIN EXCHANGE MT. GOX, MARK KARPELES, SAYING: "I'm furious that I couldn't prevent the hacking from happening and feel deeply sorry to my customers. I owe an apology to them." That apology followed a reported not guilty plea to charges of embezzlement and data manipulation at Tokyo's District Court. The case relates to the collapse of Mt. Gox which once handled 80 percent of the world's bitcoin trades. It filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after losing some 850,000 bitcoins - then worth around half a billion US dollars - and $28 million in cash from it Japanese bank accounts. It blamed hackers and pointed to a software security flaw. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF DEFUNCT BITCOIN EXCHANGE MT. GOX, MARK KARPELES, SAYING: "The information I can give to the public (about the tracking of hacked bitcoin) is quite limited at this moment, but I believe I can tell you more as the trial proceeds." The Tokyo-based firm's collapse badly damaged the image of virtual currencies. And prompted Japan's government to look at licensing exchanges. This year it became the first country to regulate at a national level in the hope the currency will stimulate the Japanese economy. But institutional investors and Japanese firms appear wary. A Reuters poll last month showed only 4 percent of large and mid-sized firms plan to use bitcoin in the near to medium term.