Gox Rising with Brock Pierce


Mt. Gox is one of those topics that casts a shadow across the entire crypto space in our current day. The former (and really the first) Bitcoin exchange founded by Jed McCaleb (now of Stellar fame) in 2007 but it wasn't used for Bitcoin until 2010, Jed then handed it on to Mark Carpellis for $50 000 before it eventually collapsed under a litany of hacks, thefts and shady goings on.

At the time of its failing in early 2014, 1065000 bitcoins were alleged to be on the books of Mt. Gox. Bitcoin tumbled into a severe bear market off the back of Mt. Gox going down with people not sure exactly what had happened, thousands of people having lost their bitcoins and no one really being sure who was telling the truth.

In this episode of Crypto 101 we sat down with Brock Pierce to ask him about his Gox Rising movement — his plan to restart the Mt. Gox exchange.

So… Why Brock Pierce?

Some have expressed concern about Brock Pierce being the man behind the movement to rejuvenate the failed exchange. Kim Nilsson — an original creditor and now Mt. Gox private investigator— has expressed his concerns over an independent effort led by Pierce to renew the exchange when many of the affected parties are already together and pursuing their own legal options without him.

However, Brock professes to have all the right motivations. He also claims to have a storied past with Mt. Gox — claiming to have offered to buy Mt. Gox when it was going under in 2012 from Mark Karpelès. For five years Brock claims to have been been involved in bringing justice to the creditors and to make sure Karpelès does not profit from the price chance in Bitcoin since the collapse.

Overall his intentions are to better the crypto space in general.

“What happened at Mt. Gox is not an isolated incident. This is a plague that continues to play like a bad broken record. As long as this continues to happen, how are we ever going to instill confidence in this industry? How are we better than the old financial system?”
Brock Pierce
“We’ve already had two major hacks this year. It’s time for this to come to an end. It’s time for customers of exchanges to demand a higher bar… The exchanges need to be doing a better job. They need to be upping their game and protecting consumers.”

Why Revive Mt. Gox?

So why would anyone want to restore Mt. Gox. With such a negative affect on the space surely the best thing to do would be to leave it in the past and move on. However, Brock’s reasoning is admittedly an admirable pursuit.

“Gox Rising is a movement to revive the Mt. Gox exchange… ‘Mt. Gox’ is a bad word right now… Most people heard about Bitcoin for the first time in the context of the Mt. Gox collapse. It is our Lehman Brothers. We have a chance to change the narrative here.”

The idea is to redeem the past rather than relegate it to a past failing. If Mt. Gox could be revived to a better version than its former self, Brock’s thought is that this would go a long way to nullify the negative narrative that is already out there about the crypto space as a result of the Mt. Gox collapse.

Will Government Regulation Help?

Many have speculated and many more have argued over the role of governments in preventing things like Mt. Gox collapsing from happening again. Would government regulation be a positive step in protecting average consumers/investors and traders?

“I don’t think government regulation is going to be the key to solving this. What government’s can do is what the Japanese government has done. Which is create a process for exchanges to become licensed.”

Brock on Mark Karpelès

Brock had no punches to pull when asked about the failing of Mt.Gox and who was to blame. To Brock, Mark Karpelès was entirely to blame.

“I’ve been working with Mark for 7 years and trying to help him out. But you know, some people just can’t be helped. I feel bad for him. He is, sadly, just insanely incompetent. I don't think at his core, I don't see him as a bad, bad guy. But he’s certainly not the kind of guy you want driving a car if you're in it. He’s the kind of guy you have to reach over and put the buckle on for him… He’s harmed a lot of people through basically criminal level negligence and incompetence.”

The Elephant in the room: Puerto Rico

For the last five minutes of the podcast, Matthew asked Brock about his intentions and activity in Puerto Rico — most notably his new VC fund to offer support for startups looking to innovate and help solve real problems on the ground post hurricane Katrina. I have previously covered Brock’s involvement in the Puerto Rican crisis that you can find here.

“There has been a consistent trend of people with means who keep leaving. The real problem with Puerto Rico is that it keeps losing its best and brightest. It keeps losing its leaders and its future leaders due to a lack of opportunity.”

Finally

Having just passed the five year anniversary of Mt. Gox’s collapse, the talk of renewing it, possibly getting governments involved and bringing about justice for the original creditors is a fascinating story to watch unfold. Be sure to check out the podcast, visit the Mt. Gox Rising website and stay tuned to see how this develops.