NEW YORK – BitOcean, a Chinese bitcoin startup, joined with New York-based exchange platform Atlas ATS Inc. to bid for the assets of Mt. Gox, the exchange platform that filed for bankruptcy in Japan earlier this year.
BitOcean and Atlas will invest $1 million worth of bitcoins to start an exchange platform in Japan by August, Nan Xiaoning, the Beijing-based founder and chief executive officer of BitOcean, said in an interview Tuesday.
Virtual currencies have come under increased scrutiny from regulators and prosecutors around the globe. The European Commission signaled on July 4 it would try to impose rules on virtual currencies such as bitcoin after the bloc’s banking regulator ordered lenders to shun them.
Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchanges, in February sought court protection in Japan after losing 850,000 bitcoins, then valued at about $473 million. The company later found 200,000 in an old-format digital wallet.
“Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy left a big void in the bitcoin trading market and we hope to fill that gap,” Nan said.
Should BitOcean’s proposal to buy Mt. Gox’s assets be successful, current debtors of Mt. Gox would have the option of withdrawing their bitcoins or owning up to 49 percent in the new partnership, named BitOcean Japan, Nan said. All the members of BitOcean Japan are all creditors of Mt. Gox, according to the company’s website.
BitOcean, which makes bitcoin automated teller machines, was started in 2013 and currently has 20 employees in China and Japan, Nan said. Atlas ATS is a trading platform for digital currencies which is used by Wall Street trading firms, according to its website.
Mt. Gox has suffered from bad management and security worries, and the partners would improve on this area by using the trading platform technology for crypto-currencies provided by Atlas, which has proven to be secure, Nan said. The new trading platform will primarily target investors in Japan and Asia, and may expand to North America and Europe later, he said.
BitOcean Japan doesn’t know when a decision on Mt. Gox assets would be reached, and has reached out to the administrator of the former exchange’s assets, BitOcean cofounder Daniel Kelman said in a telephone interview.
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