crime

Aso says he always thought Bitcoin was suspect

46 Comments
By Shingo Ito

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These goings-on at Mt. Gox have left a nasty taste in the mouth. That being said, however, I don't really care if old Taro decides to do anything or not regarding the regulation or banning of this virtual currency. However, what I do care about is somebody being made to carry the can if there is proven to be skullduggery in this case.

To put this more simply, irrespective of the pros and cons of virtual currency, if there has been a breach of contract (or worse still embezzlement) , it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This is not just my own opinion. Indeed, a number of other Bitcoin companies have been actively cooperating with authorities in the US to get to the bottom of this sordid little mess.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good points, Hongo. However, Bitcoin is not regulated. So, is this going to be treated as a criminal matter or civil matter?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

After thinking about it, I feel that Aso may be correct in not getting involved. This is not an FSA issue. It's not a Bank of Japan issue. If anything, it's a regular police matter..... If anything.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bitcoin's Proof-of-Work P2P system solves the Byzantine Generals problem, negating the need or ability of regulation.

Does regulation keep banks, companies, or governments from failing?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Its all well and good saying something is dodgy after the fact. What did he, the regulatory authorities or the police do before Mt Gox went tits up?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nice to see Aso stating he always thought is was suss, but it didn't stop him supporting it, nor did he do anything to protect the investors. He's just another headline hog!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

“I was thinking that this sort of thing won’t last long,” said Aso, 73.

I guarantee you that cryptocurrencies will outlast Aso. In fact, you can generally assume that whatever is the opposite of what Aso says is closer to the truth.

The IRS now requires that any profits made from Bitcoins have taxes paid on them, so I'd consider that a large step forwards towards legitimacy.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Aso - back on form.

Does he even know if he's talking about Mt.Gox or bitcoin, or that bitcoin hasn't collapsed at all?

Japan is overwhelmingly advanced in this field

I love this quote. What field? Collapse? Cryptocurrency? Why, because the pseudonym used by the bitcoin inventor/inventors is a Japanese one? Because Gox was based in Japan? Any other reason at all? I love the fact that he thinks saying that Japan is advanced in this field will make him sound like he is naturally an authority on the subject. Classic.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

We need more politicians with 20 20 hindsight to propel us into the future. Great job all you boys running the country. :)

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I think that we should just have a daily column dedicated to "Stuff Taro Aso says..." you really could not make it up. Its comedy gold.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Aso is a fool and an old one at that. Who takes anything he says seriously?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The difference between Bitcoin and banks regulated by governments is that Bitcoin cannot expect taxpayer support whenever it suffers a setback. There is also a chance that someone gaol in the case of Bitcoin, but bankers are given get-out-of-gaol free cards.

If Bitcoin loses value, Aso would claim it is bad, yet when the yen lost value, it was said to be good.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well, I think Aso and his crew are just as suspect.

After Nixon nixed the gold standard, paper money became just that - so much paper.

Maybe it's time to go back to barter?

"I'll teach your kids once a week for a dozen eggs and 200 grams of ham."

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Torontoman What I was talking about is something removed from the question of whether bit coin is regulated or not. Rather I was saying that there is the possibility of fraud in the good old legal sense, and maybe it's time to unleash the dogs. For example, whether written or not, there is probably a contractual relationship between the service provider and the service users. This goes back to the basic tenets of contract law, offer and acceptable. Furthermore when did they know they were in trouble? If they consciously continued business knowing of these problems, you might have a a case of unconscionable behalf (the care of a good manager). Such issues are the basics of business law. They have nothing to do with regulating bit coin itself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

’“I was thinking that this sort of thing won’t last long,” said Aso, 73.’

And yet there are other media sites still containing earlier statements about how Aso desires to pursue looking into 'what a bitcoin really is', which I don't think you'd need to do in a country so 'advanced' in the field.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Maybe Taro knew something was wrong because it is run by a foreigner?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hindsight is always 20:20 vision.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

At a press conference in Tokyo today, CEO Mark Karpeles said his company is bankrupt. He apologized for the problems ...

As he went through all of this apologizing with a smirk on his face, I wonder how he will explain this to possible "victims" in drug cartels and organized crime ... alleged bitcom players who supposedly had all kinds of money flowing through this financial scheme ...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

http://www.tsr-net.co.jp/news/tsr/20140228_01.html

It is reported that Mt Gox filed minji saisei similar to chapter 11 bankruptcy at Tokyo District Court, today.

The number of creditors is 127,000 of which 0.8% is Japanese and total liabilities of Mt Gox are 6,501 million yen.

The bankruptcy procedure will be conducted in the Japanese language and I wonder how the creditors will participate in the procedure.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pretty much anything Aso says is either incorrect, wrong, or uninformed. MtGox is not Bitcoin.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

All currencies should be converted back into clams.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hmm, they were there biggest exchange globally, so they were a major player within Bitcoin not so?

Still they problem persists they are not backed by anyone if things go south. Personally I see it as a form of vaporware.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is difficult to see how someone could simply hack into and take away a billion yen and nobody noticed. Could their system have really been that vulnerable?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I commented a few days about Government will go after Bitcoin and regulate it business soon. It will come true one day. No Government swill let peoples doing business without paying tax to them and they will not blind eyes on illegal activity via Bitcoin. Terrorist organizations and Drug Syndicates will be definitely using Bitcoin for funding terrorist activity and money laundering for drug money.

If I have Bitcoin and then I'll seel it off and stay away from Bitcoin until International Government regulated Bitcoin trading.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Serrano at Feb. 28, 2014 - 09:33PM JST All currencies should be converted back into clams.

Ha ha, do hope you meant clamshells, would hate to be carrying around bags of clams and be sleeping on a mattress stuffed with rotting clams ;-)

Caught the Mt Gox bankruptcy press conference on the need. Really wonder especially about the huge amount of real money that customers put in MtGox's hands (for future purchase of bit coins?) It was supposedly held in a normal bank account/s and is now missing. As thd commenter said, it would be difficult for theives to withdraw such an amount in one transaction, but if it was taken out bit by bit how did it go unnoticed by mtGox?

It is also too bad that before Karpeles had to file for bankruptcy of his company he did not manage to buy a shirt with a collar that would go around his neck and pay for enough language lessons so he could get out the basic apology line.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

syzyguyFeb. 28, 2014 - 06:08PM JST The IRS now requires that any profits made from Bitcoins have taxes paid on them, so I'd consider that a large step >forwards towards legitimacy.

Does the IRS accept payment by bitcoin?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

on the need ---> on the TV

commenter ---> commentator

Sorry, headache and cough got the better of my iPhone tapping finger :-(

Also wondering if, as Karpeles says, this was because of a weak spot in their software but bitcoin itself is still good and has potential, how can the ordinary customer tell which exchanges might have a similar weak spot, and which are trustworthy?

Is the IRS taxing bitcoin profits that are only in bitcoins, or profits that are made in real money? I would say only the former would indicate they are considering bicoins legitimate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As usual, the lapdog media omits significant facts:

" The writing has been on the wall. 2013 was a scandal-laden year for Mt. Gox, as the feds seized $5 million from its bank accounts, a $75 million lawsuit with a former partner manifested, and its US banks accounts were closed resulting in the company's inability to get funds to US customers."

" Mt. Gox worked hard to build up goodwill in the community: in 2011, after the exchange was hacked, Karpeles made good and fulfilled obligations. But things started going awry in May, 2013, as federal agencies seized $2.9 million, shutting down a Wells Fargo bank account belonging to a Mt. Gox subsidiary. This account was integral to paying Mt. Gox's US customers. Things turned for even worse when, one month later, the US government seized another $2.1 million from a second bank account. Thereafter, Mt. Gox suspended US money transfers. Some transfers started coming in from European banks like Deutsche Bank. In mid-2013, according to Karpeles, Mt. Gox was receiving somewhere between $5 million and $20 million incoming transfers daily, and paying out between $300,000 and $1 million. This he told Reuters while perched atop a blue exercise ball without explanation. The feds justified the account seizures by stating Mt. Gox did not disclose that it was in the money transmission business."

Just as the feds were behind the closure of Silk Road and the arrests of some associated people, who do you think is behind the shutting down of the largest bitcoin exchange? Surely the feds have had it in their sights for quite some time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

regular money is precipitated on endless growth, which has to collapse sometime as that's impossible. Bitcoin value dropped on the MtGox news but then recovered. It's creation is the crypto part of the crypocurrency so not necessarily tied to our planet's growth addiction. By design there is a limit of Bitcoins. Thus as regular currencies implode I can see that Bitcoin would still be around. If we were to compare the amount given to regular currency bailouts to Bitcoin, the losses to taxpayers are easily in the billions maybe trillions. Can't mention that though. People would have questions. Confidence in Bitcoin will come down to public security auditing not governments. It has its issues but it appears to be functioning where regular currencies IMHO are largely not

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Does anybody know why this company is Japan-based in the first place? I can't wrap my head around it. How did that come to be?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@OssanAmericaFEB. 28, 2014 - 10:39PM JST

No, IRS does not accept bitcoin. They probably classify that as investment just like anyone invest in stock and gain from selling the stock.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh, well then - that puts my sneaking suspicions at rest! Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Aso!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Aso says he always thought Bitcoin was suspect

Whether or not he was right or wrong, what a useless thing to say after the fact. I hate people who say "I told you so"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

syzyguy:

The IRS now requires that any profits made from Bitcoins have taxes paid on them, so I'd consider that a large step forwards towards legitimacy.

No, that's just another example of the IRS and their "all your currency are belong to us" attitude.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Teach you not to fool around with funny money. You all better find the folks who founded this Bitcoins and get your real money from them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tom Webb,

Spoken like a true politician, with no real understanding of what they are talking about.

And does anyone REALLY expect Aso to understand and be onside with something, when he's 73? People like him are the reason that so many dinosaur companies from the 80's and 90's are getting their friends in government to legislate in order to maintain their outdated business models.. They can't think for, and don't understand the current era, and can't change. So they hang on as long as they can, legislating things to keep control like it's still the 80's.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A totally fallacious and silly idea from the start. You can't just create currency out of thin air and then claim it has value. No reason to support this at all, and every reason to ban it. Just as Facebook and Twitter should be banned, a total waste of time and effort created out of nothing and meaning nothing in the end.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Does anybody know why this company is Japan-based in the first place? I can't wrap my head around it. How did that come to be?

Maybe because bitcoin originated in Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Does anybody know why this company is Japan-based in the first place? I can't wrap my head around it. How did that come to be?

Mt. Gox was started by an American as an online trading site for Magic: The Gathering trading cards. Thus the name Mt. Gox = Magic The Gathering Online eXchange. I believe he was in Japan at the time. Then, it was sold off to Mark Karpeles a few years ago.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thanks, I didn't know bitcoin originated in Japan. Also, it looks like Karpeles might be half Japanese?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Does regulation keep banks, companies, or governments from failing?"

Yes, it usually does. China's banks are state owned and tightly regulated. and China doesn't suffer from financial crises, like USA's and Europe's, even when China's economy overheats and gets property bubbles. Canada's highly regulated "charter" banks also helped that country avoid the 2008 crisis.

Strict gov't regulation is clearly the way to go in financial services.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What if Mt Gox was based in China or run by a Chinese and the investors were Japanese? Will nobody demand that actions be taken?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aso is too overwhelmingly intellectual for me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What if Mt Gox was based in China or run by a Chinese and the investors were Japanese? Will nobody demand that actions be taken?

The fan would have been well and truly hit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So the finance minister "was thinking that this sort of thing won't last long" and "it would collapse sometime" but did nothing?

Isn't Aso responsible for regulating financial activity in Japan, including the activities of stockbrokers? MtGox can be considered a kind of broker, allowing people to buy and sell shares in BitCoin. Yet Aso, despite feeling something was wrong, sat on his fat backside and did nothing whilst people lost their money to fraudsters.

Aso has once again demonstrated that he is not fit hold his position and should be sacked.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well I always thought Aso was suspect but I won't wait for him to screw up before saying so. Not that I would have to wait long!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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