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back to article MtGox has VANISHED. So where have all the Bitcoins gone?

Almost one in 10 of the world's Bitcoins disappeared during the collapse of MtGox, it has been claimed. The allegations were made in what was purported to be an "internal MtGox crisis presentation". The sloppily written briefing claimed that 744,408 Bitcoin were stolen over a period of several years. There are currently about 12 …

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Holmes

Face meet Palm

This pretend currency is starting to make my Botswana Dollars look comparatively robust.

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Trollface

Not worth a Doge Continental!

It's a like honest-to-god fractional banking system!

Even without the "unlimited fiat money via the printing pressdatabase updates and 'free market operations'" territory.

Just add staid marble columns at the entrance.

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Megaphone

Told you so!

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2117533

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Flame

Re: Face meet Palm

Well Bongo aren't you the ignorant one if you brought Botswana Dollars.

Botswana's currency is the Pula and Tebe (meaning rain & shield respectively). Very stable currency backed by real deposits in various world banks and have diamond and cattle exports underpinning it. They have the best democratic government of any African state and less corruption than most western European states. Since independence from UK back in the 1960s it's sustained growth, stability and good governance have made it the shining light in Africa.

If you want a 'safe' haven for you bitcoins then I would recommend the Zimbobwe Dollar as it's made from real paper and you can at least wipe your arse with it or use it as a fire lighter.

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Re: Face meet Palm

"This pretend currency is starting to make my Botswana Dollars look comparatively robust."

I don't know about Botswana dollars - this pretend currency makes me feel absolutely loaded just by getting the Monopoly board out...

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Re: Face meet Palm

"This pretend currency is starting to make my Botswana Dollars look comparatively robust."

Botswana uses 'Pula' for currency, not dollars.

And it's pretty robust, what with all that coal and diamonds the place is sitting on.

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Re: Face meet Palm

Yes, the price has now crashed to pennies like everyone predicted. Oh wait, no it hasn't.

(I can tear up paper money. The non-robust part of Bitcoin is trusting some 3rd party with all your Bitcoin when it's not regulated like banks are. Mt Gox can do what it likes, that doesn't cause my Bitcoin to disappear.)

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Re: Face meet Palm

Currency doesn't make very good arse-wipe because it's the wrong sort of paper. Been there, done that, got the smeary mess. Sorry to disappoint you :-)

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Pint

Re: Face meet Palm @scroticus canis

This is why I read the reg comments. Thanks for the highly informative and entertaining flame-- I would never have known that Botswana's economy and political situation are so strong. Maybe I should look into converting my US dollars into Pula and Tebe.

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Re: Face meet Palm

Apologies for the Zimbabew/Botswana mis-type.

I do have a few billion Zimbabwe dollars, for interest's sake. And the confusion with Botswana; well, just say that I have had problems in the not too distant past with chums of the esteemed leader of Botswana and that clearly wasn't tucked away at the back of my head as I had wished.

So, as per the comment title really.

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Re: Face meet Palm @scroticus canis

"Maybe I should look into converting my US dollars into Pula and Tebe."

Maybe. The weather is great, too.

Local custom dictates wealth is measured in head of cattle owned, but Pula are certainly less likely to die on you in a drought.

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Anonymous Coward

The bit I like:

"This person is citing a supposed "leaked document" that looks like it was written by a six year old running a lemonade stand."

As if that means it can't be anybody at MtGox????

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Black Helicopters

As if, in the middle of a crisis, you waste several hours making your document look as first rate as possible, just in case it's leaked.

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It's not a simple binary choice. Some of us, even under stress, can write better than others. And it doesn't need "several hours", if you have had a decent education.

But does this anonymous source have to be a native English-speaker?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: supposed "leaked document"

A friend told me he saw on 4chan that it was actually written by a very intelligent Siberian Husky.

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DMT

Lemonade Stand

If only it were a banana stand. There's always money in that.

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Re: does this anonymous source have to be a native English-speaker?

That question is less interesting than you might initially think. In a crisis situation a non-native speaker would draft in his native language and then either have someone translate it for him or use an online translator. In the first case you'd wind up with something decent. In the second case the grammar and spelling would be good, its just the word choices which would throw you. I'm not about to try to chase the link to the alleged document from work, but based on the descriptions here, neither of those sound like the case. They make it sound akin to an old Nigeria scam email (the new ones have at least discovered spell checkers).

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Happy

This person is citing a supposed "leaked document" that looks like it was written by a six year old running a lemonade stand. New sources have quote it without valid reason too [sic].

Oh Internet. What would we do without your endless opportunities for irony?

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Anonymous Coward

"New sources have quote it without valid reason too [sic]"

Technically, that might not be grammatically incorrect - it might just be incredibly awkward. If the author meant to say, "previously unavailable sources have also quoted it", then it would be correct.

If, however, the author meant to say, "Mainstream media outlets have quoted it without due diligence", then it's totally ironic.

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Headmaster

Possible interpretations

1. "New sources have quoted it without valid reason, too."

2. "New sources have quoted it without valid reason."

3. "News sources have quoted it without valid reason, too."

4. "News sources have quoted it without valid reason."

In each case, "have quoted" is correct. "Have quote" is not a valid verb form.

If "too" was the intended word, it should have been preceded by a comma if for no other reason than clarity. If "to" was intended, it is an extraneous preposition; the meaning is clearer without it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Possible interpretations

"New sources[,] have [them] quote it without valid reason too."

New interpretation courtesy of your friendly resident conspiracy theorist. :-)

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Re: Possible interpretations

Have quote, will travail... and Sam Spade.

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Anonymous Coward

It's ok ...

I just found some down the back of the sofa.

(Mind you, I'd be in bits of this happened to me, to coin a phrase.)

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Joke

It's a Buyout.

The new owner stumped up a massive 744,408 BTC...

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Joke

Re: It's a Buyout.

It's a deposit of 744,408 BTC- unfortunately they were faulty when mined and had a -ve sign...

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FAIL

And yet we're still to believe...

...that the security issues were unique to Mt Gox and that ALL the other exchanges out there are fireproof?

Heaven's above people, even with PCI compliance dictating our every move in the US credit card industry we STILL get regular attacks and thefts from the servers. Why on earth would anyone trust that a two-bit(coin) operation can be more secure than any of the others? Do they go through regular penetration testing, audits, etc?

I'm sorry but from what I can see here, each and every Bitcoin et al exchange out there is simply another Mt Gox failure waiting to be announced. If the thefts from Mt Gox had been going on for years, how do we know if the same isn't true anywhere else?

ElReg: Please - we need a new "EpicFail" Icon for when "Fail" just isn't epic enough...

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

My understanding the the 'hack' relied on the fact that MtGOX had a number of automated scripts for resending failed transactions, and for transferring money from their cold storage wallet to their internet attached wallet, and absolutely no internal audit procedures to check balances. It's like someone asking their bank for £100, then phoning someone at the branch, saying 'I didn't get my money' using a different funny accent each time, and the bank gives them another £100 because there are no checks in place and it SOUNDS like a different person - repeat over several years until the vaults are bare.

Absolutely smacks of bad internal procedures, no consulting with beancounters, and s**tty coding practice. One would hope that at least one or two of the other exchanges would have more competence that Magic the Gathering Online Exchange.

Not that it makes bitcoin any less of a electricity wasting global ponzi scheme.

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

Sadly, having worked in the industry AND having to deal with the after the effects of very nice hack job that involved a very creative usage of reverse credits that took quite some time to discover and gobs of $ to prevent in the future, I know all too well just how hard it is to mitigate yourself from being a target.

And that was after we'd been audited by the good folks at PCI and given a clean bill of health.

So, here we have BitCoin and it's ilk which, because of its very design, makes it almost impossible to ascertain what's good and what's not. Like I say I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the good ship SS-Bittanic is heading for a massive crash.

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electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

Now there's a thought, maybe BitCoin was secretly started by the electricity companies to sell more electricity?

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

Like I say I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the good ship SS-Bittanic is heading for a massive crash.

I think you've got that a bit wrong. But with just a bit of re-ordering, we should be able to correct it.

The SS-Bittanic has in fact hit the iceberg (and not just the tip of it). Now it's just a question of how long the pumps can keep up with the incoming deluge. And who gets to the lifeboats first - and therefore who there isn't room for, and gets to go down with the ship.

Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee? I suspect that many people would have said yes 10 years ago. Not many would now. Now add in the far smaller resources that BitCoin exchanges have - which means they're not really equipped to fight off the hackers, let alone their own staff.

I guess this is what happens when amateur hour hits the big time - and there's real money involved.

I saw a comment from someone recently who said better to get ripped off in EVE Online, at least that's got spaceships.

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee?

I don't trust them even WITH the government deposit guarantee, but in the modern world it's pretty hard to get by without at the very least a prepaid debit card, which is, of course, just a checking account that you don't have checks for.

Do I trust the exchanges? Let's put it this way: I have about $4 worth of cryptocurrency, most of it in litecoins. (that was yesterday. It's probably worth less today). That's the most I've ever had. Would I be upset if it all went missing? Probably. Would I really be affected? No.

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Facepalm

Re: And yet we're still to believe...

I saw a comment from someone recently who said better to get ripped off in EVE Online, at least that's got spaceships.

A few less now than there were a month ago... Kinda like Mt Gox actually...

So that's it! - someone over there forgot to pay the bloody rent....

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Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

Nah, but I do believe it was started as a ponzi scheme, just not by the electric companies.

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

"I don't trust them even WITH the government deposit guarantee"

Sounds like an RBS customer.

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Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

I love all these people complaining about wasting electricity, whilst using electricity-guzzling computers to do so. It's like the people who get on a high horse thinking they're saving the planet by turning off lights for one hour.

One might as well criticise paper money, because of having to cut down trees.

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

"Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee?"

So you don't have any money/investments beyond what is in a Government-guaranteed bank account?

Of course ones life savings should be kept safe, but that doesn't mean people don't have money in less safe places, whether it's convenience (your cash in your wallet isn't Government-backed either) or potential of better returns.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And yet we're still to believe...

If the excuse for the theft and bankruptcy is sufficiently weak, based as it is on a complete lack of basic accounting controls, this seems more like a smoking gun pointing to a deliberate insider job than management incompetence.

The fact there was no outside reporting for so long concerning their internal accounting imbalance seems to point towards the kind of insider collusion, as occurred at BCCI .

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Headmaster

Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

One might as well criticise paper money, because of having to cut down trees.

Technically I don't think there's any currency in the world that's still printed on paper. They all use some sort of paper-like fabric (the US dollar is printed on something akin to denim for example) or plastic (like the Austrailian dollar).

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Re: Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee?

Actually I would be more likely to, although I'd also be prone to do more checking about how the bank was managed. And if it was in business for a good period of time I wouldn't have a problem with it. In fact, part of the problem with the current government guarantee is precisely that it does remove the moral hazard of all the banks engaging in fiscally unsound but legal transactions.

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

"I know all too well just how hard it is to mitigate yourself from being a target."

Quite a disproportionate struggle. Defenders must cover all the possibilities, whereas attackers have to find just one to succeed.

Then again, getting away with it is the hardest part. That does level the field somewhat.

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Coat

Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

" (the US dollar is printed on something akin to denim for example)"

I've been wondering why people keep saying it's pants...

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Only confirms what I have said all along

There is exactly *one* hard currency in the Universe: the Joule.

Everything else that we think is a value token, only has value by mutual agreement.

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Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

Unfortunately, joules are hard to transport, hoard or even exchange.

So it's not money nor currency.

You need a solid commodity for that.

Now, if the LHC produced stable microscopic black holes with charge....

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Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

'You need a solid commodity for that'

Like Bitcoin, for example?

*chortle*

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Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

No, but any metal that doesn't rust away immediately, is not radioactive and overly toxic and is solid at room temperature will do. The rarer, the "more expensive".

This is a pretty old trick and not hard to grasp.

In a Robinson Crusoe + Friday scenario, fish for milliday transaction or coconuts are fine too.

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Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

http://www.joulecoin.org/

Close enough?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: joules are hard to transport, hoard or even exchange.

Hmm. Look up in the sky and they'll be showering down on you from distances of perhaps 8 light minutes during the day, and at night in detectable quantities from hundreds of light years away (or 13bn ly, if you have a HubbleST to catch them).

You can even convert them into chemical energy and store them as a liquid or a solid to ship about (or hoard) as you like. Sometimes I even hoard mine in small batteries in personal electronics, or in larger quantities in the fuel tank of cars. I even store Joules in my food cupboards, and keep some under my skin as both insulation and in case of famine. Some Joules even come out of special wires that have been laid to my house!

So, no: joules are not so hard to transport, hoard or exchange.

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I've always thought this "crypto-currency" fad would end in theft. Too bad I didn't sign up and cash in early.

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Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

Were people really that stupid?

Its an exchange so you put money in, exchange it for bitcoins and then take them out as soon as you can. If you have a large transactions then break them up into smaller ones and let one complete before starting another.

Leaving money in there was always asking for trouble. http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2014/02/schadenfreude-1.html gives a good summary.

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Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

You can say the same thing about a bank.

A banking account with a positive amount is just a very risky loan given to the bank...

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