Just when we were beginning to think that all is lost, beleaguered Bitcoin exchange MtGox has suddenly given users a glimmer of hope that they might see (some of) their funds again. The company has just set up a new telephone hotline to handle customer inquiries. MtGox’s call center when live this morning, while the company has also promised to post an update regarding last week’s decision to apply for bankruptcy.
Here’s the notice in full:
ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING AN APPLICATION FOR COMMENCEMENT OF A PROCEDURE OF CIVIL REHABILITATION
An overview of the situation should be published here shortly (probably on March 3, 2014 (Japan time)).
A call center has been established to respond to all inquiries. The call center is planned to start on March 3, 2014. All inquiries to MtGox Co., Ltd. should be made to the following telephone number:
Telephone number +81 3-4588-3921
Working hours Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm (Japan time)
Please refrain from contacting the office of the supervisor/investigator.
MtGox faced weeks of problems before filing for bankruptcy last Friday, when CEO Mark Karpeles admitted that the exchange had somehow lost 850,000 Bitcoins – 750,000 of these belong to its customers – valued at around $500 million at today’s prices.
Karpeles blamed the loss on flaws with MtGox’s software, which allowed hackers to siphon off the money, though others have laid the blame on the incompetence of the exchange’s management.
In any case, MtGox’s bankruptcy petition states that the company is now $63.6 million in debt, which amounts to about twice what it has in assets.
The establishment of a call center to deal with customer inquiries is probably the first positive thing we’ve heard since MtGox’s troubles came to light, though whether people will get answers from it remains to be seen. SiliconANGLE attempted to call the hotline on two occasions but our calls were unanswered. Meanwhile, Simon Sharwood of The Register claims that he did manage to get through on one occasion, only to be answered by a Japanese woman who apologized for her limited English skills and asked him to call back later.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on MtGox’s website to see if any further updates are posted.