Mt. Gox wallets hint at repayments — could the timing be worse?

Ten long years after the notorious Mt. Gox hack, victims may finally be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

In what look to be test transactions, addresses labeled by Arkham as ‘Mt Gox: Cold Wallet’ began to move small sums of BTC, known as ‘dust,’ earlier this morning.

Before being hacked, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox was the world’s primary bitcoin exchange, reportedly processing up to 70% of all BTC transactions at its peak. In February 2014, it suspended withdrawals before announcing the loss of between 650,000 and 850,000 BTC, worth up to $49 billion today, or around $500 million at the time.

Read more: Mt. Gox to start creditor repayments next month, asks users to ‘wait a while’

Shortly afterward, 200,000 BTC were recovered from old wallets used by the company. Since then, victims have been waiting for refunds, or have sold off their claims, while repeated delays have hit proceedings. Most recently, in September 2023, the repayment deadline was pushed back by a further year.

The Block’s Tim Copeland pointed out that one of the receiving addresses is labeled as Bitbank, one of a few designated exchanges to be used to distribute the funds.

Read more: Mt. Gox repays some creditors, emails others to confirm accounts 

The movements certainly fit the official timeline. On June 24, the rehabilitation trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, stated that repayments would start “from the beginning of July 2024.”

Tricky timing 

The timing of repayments has the crypto community jittery, especially given the downtrend in BTC price, which is down 16% over the past month according to data from CoinMarketCap.

As is often the case, what is bad for BTC is also bad for the wider crypto market. In the past 24 hours alone, over $250 million of long positions have been liquidated, per Coinglass.

Aside from the imminent Mt. Gox refunds, other large quantities of BTC are on the move, with the German and US governments both moving substantial sums of confiscated funds over the last few days.

A combination of low sentiment and bad timing even led some to joke that authorities may be looking to front-run a coming Mt Gox-related price dump.

With the outlook bleak, even long-dormant wallets are waking up to offload their BTC. Last week, Coindesk reported on a ‘whale’ wallet that sent its first transaction in six years, transferring 1,000 BTC, worth $61 million at the time, to Coinbase which it had previously acquired for just $6.7 million.

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