Approximately 16,000 BTC associated with the infamous and now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox were moved on Thursday, sparking speculation that the estate’s trustee is preparing to liquidate more coins.
The transactions — worth nearly $141 million — were first flagged by CryptoGround — a service that monitors Mt. Gox’s Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash wallets. Blockchain data indicates that the coins, which came from multiple addresses, were consolidated into a single wallet, with 0 BTC remaining in the source addresses.
Notably, the 16,000 Bitcoin Cash stored that corresponded to those same addresses were moved as well. Those coins are worth approximately $21 million at the present exchange rate.
The transactions sparked questions about whether Nobuaki Kobayashi, the Tokyo lawyer in charge of Mt. Gox’s estate, is preparing to sell the funds in order to compensate the bankrupt company’s creditors.
As CCN reported, Kobayashi revealed earlier this year that he had sold more than $400 million in BTC and BCH to cover the exchange’s JPY liabilities. He was sharply criticized for selling the coins on order-book cryptocurrency exchanges rather than through the over-the-counter (OTC) channels typically used by institutional traders, as large exchange orders can lead to rapid price swings that ripple throughout the global markets.
Some have speculated that Wednesday’s sharp market decline could have been spurred by Kobayashi selling the coins to an OTC buyer at a below-market rate. Though the coins would have only just been delivered today, the theoretical buyer could have sold coins already in their possession at the market rate, profiting from arbitrage but driving the price lower.
However, it’s also possible that Kobayashi is merely consolidating assets, and rumors that he is preparing to sell them or has already done so at this point remain pure speculation.
Meanwhile, many Mt. Gox creditors continue to advocate for the company to be moved out of bankruptcy and into civil rehabilitation, which might allow them to be compensated directly in Bitcoin. At present, they stand to be compensated in fiat at $480/BTC, which is roughly the rate at which Bitcoin was trading when the firm entered bankruptcy.
The remaining funds — which now number in the billions of dollars — would likely go to former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, who said in a recent Reddit AMA that he does not want them and desires to see the exchange move into civil rehabilitation.