We’re not sure if it’s a masterstroke of timing or simply just a coincidence, but the man who first established the world’s most famous Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has announced he’s back in the game, just as his original creation looks set to implode.
Mt.Gox creator Jed McCaleb’s latest endeavor is something of a mystery at the moment, with few clues available from his aptly named web domain at secretbitcoinproject.com.
On the site, all that can be seen is this brief note inviting alpha testers to join him in whatever he’s up to, reports TechCrunch.
“Come see. When I sold Mt. Gox a few years ago, Bitcoin was trading at less than a dollar. Today Bitcoin exists in a new environment. Mt. Gox is struggling to keep up. Now, I am building something that will be better for Bitcoin and better for you. I’m looking for alpha testers. -Jed”
For those who don’t know their history, McCaleb was the individual responsible for transforming Mt. Gox from its original incarnation as an online card-trading platform into the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange.
McCaleb later dumped Mt.Gox, which is an acronym for “Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange,” into the hands of its current owners – a group of Tokyo-based French entrepreneurs whom he reportedly hadn’t even met.
To begin with, McCaleb’s decision to exit Mt. Gox looked rather foolish. Within months of his departure, the site rapidly rose to become by far and away the world’s biggest Bitcoin trading platform, dominating the industry by transaction volume for more than one year.
Since then however, it’s all been downhill for Mt. Gox, reports SiliconANGLE’s Kyt Dotson. The site’s troubles began last summer when the US Department of Homeland Security seized its Dwolla account, making it almost impossible to exchange BTC for dollars. Then, last week, the exchange suddenly announced that it had to temporarily suspend all withdrawals, blaming this on a flaw in the Bitcoin protocol that concerns “transaction malleability” that made it difficult to finalize transactions.
The flaw certainly exists, but as Dotson pointed out earlier this week, it’s one that’s been known about for some time already – the onus is, and always has been, on Bitcoin exchanges to write their own software to handle the malleable transaction ID, and this is something that other exchanges have done adequately. In other words, Mt. Gox’s problems are largely of their own making.