Mark Karpeles — the former CEO of the now-defunct bitcoin (BTC) exchange Mt. Gox — has revealed he will serve as the chief technology officer of a new Japan-registered blockchain technology firm.
Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan earlier today, Karpeles reportedly declared his intention to make the country a global leader in blockchain technology by undertaking his new role as CTO of the new Tokyo-based firm, Tristan Technologies Co.
Tristan Technologies reportedly plans to design a new, secure blockchain-powered operating system that would be significantly faster than other systems currently in use. In his remarks to reporters, Karpeles declared:
"My love for Japan has not changed. Japan used to be engineering superpower in terms of its PCs but right now, taking the cloud for example, it's the U.S. that dominates. But I still believe in the potential Japan has and I would like to develop that."
As The Mainchi outlines, Karpeles — whom the paper characterizes as a computer prodigy with a penchant for manga and gaming — moved to Japan in 2009, acquiring the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange site in 2011.
In the aftermath of Mt. Gox’s hack and its subsequent collapse in early 2014, Karpeles was arrested in 2015. The much-publicized incident had led to the loss of 850,000 BTC, valued at roughly $460 million at the time.
According to The Mainchi’s report, Karpeles has pitched his new venture with Tristan as starting from zero, and has affirmed his belief in blockchain’s potential to innovate cashless payments, cloud solutions and establish the new field of smart contracts. However, when asked whether he himself held any cryptocurrencies, he reportedly said no, claiming they carry high risks.
Karpeles pleaded not guilty to prosecutors’ charges of allegedly embezzling approximately 340 million yen (around $3 million) from Mt. Gox and manipulating the exchange’s ledgers to inflate its cash balance.
In March, the former CEO was acquitted of embezzlement charges but found guilty of tampering with financial records. Specifically, he was charged with having combined his personal finances with those of the exchange in order to conceal the platform’s losses to hackers. As recently reported, the erstwhile CEO is now appealing his conviction.