Japan finance minister: Gathering facts on bitcoin, unsure whether crime involved

TOKYO Mon Mar 3, 2014 8:14pm EST

Kolin Burges, a self-styled cryptocurrency trader and former software engineer from London, holds a placard to protest against Mt. Gox, in front of the building where the digital marketplace operator was formerly housed in Tokyo February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Kolin Burges, a self-styled cryptocurrency trader and former software engineer from London, holds a placard to protest against Mt. Gox, in front of the building where the digital marketplace operator was formerly housed in Tokyo February 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that the government is still trying to figure out what has led to the collapse of the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and is not sure whether crime is involved.

"We still have not had a clear grasp of the situation," Aso said in response to a reporter's question after a cabinet meeting. "(We) don't know if it was a crime or just a bankruptcy."

Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan on Friday, saying it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual currency due to hacking into its faulty computer system.

(Corrects quote in paragraph 2 to say "bankruptcy", not "theft")

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Dominic Lau)

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Comments (2)
arbit3r wrote:
Since bitcoin has 0 physical value on it in eyes of pretty much every country in the world, there was no crime, and even if there was given how bitcoin is designed you will never catch the people that stole them.

Mar 03, 2014 8:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Kahnie wrote:
Japanese Minister–”We are not sure a crime has been committed.” Absolutely, virtual money is not real, it’s virtual. No coins in hand, no theft. These people should go back to playing Warcraft and the such. Part of their virtual world.

Mar 03, 2014 8:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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