A joint venture between a Chinese and American company plans to launch a new bitcoin exchange in Japan by August, attempting to fill the void left by the collapse of Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest trading platform for the crypto-currency.
BitOcean, a Beijing-based bitcoin ATM maker, will team up with Atlas ATS, a New York-based exchange platform provider that has worked for large Wall Street financial institutions.
The new venture—BitOcean Japan—also hopes to purchase the assets of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, which stopped operating in February and filed for protection from creditors under Japan’s bankruptcy code.
While BitOcean Japan hopes to craft its new exchange around the remains of Mt. Gox, one of the founders of the new venture said they would create the Japan-based exchange even if the trustee overseeing the Mt. Gox case doesn’t accept BitOcean’s bid.
“The collapse of Mt. Gox caused great negative impact to the Bitcoin community. BitOcean wants to make some contribution to the community and creditors,” Nan Xiaoning, founder and CEO of BitOcean, told The Wall Street Journal in an email.
BitOcean has 20 employees and was established last year. It currently makes bank-teller machines that can process bitcoins and also plans to expand to Hong Kong and Taiwan to offer exchange and ATM services later this year. The company is investing more than $1 million worth of bitcoins to start up the Japanese exchange, said one of its founders.
Mt. Gox, purchased in 2011 by a French entrepreneur, collapsed after hackers stole 850,000 bitcoins, worth half a billion dollars. Though the company later said it had recovered about one-fourth of the losses, a Japanese bankruptcy court ordered liquidation, and put the process in the hands of a court-appointed trustee.
Many Mt. Gox creditors worry that the trustee will order Mt. Gox’s remaining assets be converted to conventional hard currencies, such as the U.S. dollar or the yen. They oppose that because they say it would significantly deflate the value of the bitcoins.