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Insight: At Mt. Gox bitcoin hub, ‘geek’ CEO sought both control and escape


(This story changes Mandalah description in the 30th paragraph, company name in the 31st paragraph) By Sophie Knight TOKYO (Reuters) – In June 2011, when customers of now-bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox agitated for proof that the Tokyo-based firm was still solvent after a hacking attack, CEO Mark Karpeles turned to the comedy science fiction novel The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. During an online chat, Karpeles moved the equivalent of $170 million in bitcoin at todays market rates – the virtual equivalent of a bank manager flashing a wad of cash in a wallet to establish credit. The gesture – with a sly wink to the geek culture Karpeles believed he shared with many of his 50,000 customers at the time, including an interest in coding, Japanese manga comics and science fiction – succeeded. By moving 424,242 bitcoins, Karpeles, then 26, evoked the random number, 42, described as the meaning of life in Douglas Adams sci-fi novel.

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