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The former CEO of the first large bitcoin exchange, which was hacked for $350 million worth of bitcoin in 2014, was today found guilty of tampering with financial records. Mark Karpeles was given a suspended sentence of two and a half years by the Tokyo District Court for his role in the Mt. Gox fiasco.
Long time Bitcoin supporter and Bitcoin Cash figurehead, Roger Ver is no stranger to Mt. Gox. When the exchange first encountered security issues in 2011, he helped it stay online and responded to customer queries, fielding calls from thousands of users worried about losing their savings. In July, 2013—shortly before the hack that finally broke the exchange was revealed—Ver uploaded a video of himself blaming the problems customers were experiencing in withdrawing fiat money on the traditional banking system, rather than the illiquidity of the Mt. Gox. He later said he did this as a favor to Mt. Gox, which was facing a lot of bad press at the time, and has since apologized for misleading the public.
Now Ver has weighed in on the Karpeles conviction. In an interview with Decrypt, Ver—who held a “life changing amount of bitcoins” on the exchange when it was hacked—argued that Karpeles failed to keep the exchange secure.
“Mark is responsible for not doing a good enough job protecting the funds from the hackers,” said Ver, adding that, despite Karpeles' liability, it was the hackers who were actually responsible for stealing the funds.
Karpeles was given a suspended sentence which means he won’t go to prison unless he commits another violation within the four years specified. Ver—who once spent ten months in prison for illegally selling fireworks—said that jail is best suited for “those who are physically dangerous towards others," which presumably doesn't include Karpeles.
Leading up to the conviction, Karpeles was held in a Japanese prison for 12 months where he says he was interrogated for 50 days in a row, with sessions lasting up to eight hours at a time. Ver was adamant this should not have happened, stating, “I think people should be punished AFTER they are convicted, not before” (emphasis his).
Ver is also a strong supporter of Ross Ulbricht who was jailed in May, 2015, and given five sentence with a total of 40 years, two of them for life. Ver has campaigned that Ulbricht be freed from prison. However, he did not think that—even if Karpeles had gone to prison—the same support should apply to him. In Ulbricht’s case, Ver said he was “not aware of even a single victim,” whereas with Mt. Gox, “there were a huge number of victims across the world.” Perhaps, with Mt. Gox now wrapped up, Ver and its other victims may finally get their coins back.