The trustee of the now-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox intends to liquidate cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin and bitcoin cash, according to a draft rehabilitation plan.
The trustee, attorney Nobuaki Kobayashi, shared with creditors an outline of the draft rehabilitation plan on Tuesday ahead of a meeting Wednesday. The plan marks a significant step toward concluding a case that has kept creditors waiting since 2014, when Mt. Gox collapsed after a 850,000 bitcoin hack.
An outline of the draft seen and verified by CoinDesk, indicates that creditors who have filed claims for fiat currencies, bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) will receive these assets in their original form, either via bank transfers or BTC and BCH transactions to addresses at designated exchanges or custodians.
Meanwhile, “all other assets such as cryptocurrencies other than BTC and BCH will be liquidated into cash to the extent possible,” the document reads.
Crypto creditors won’t be first in line, however, with the trustee saying: “fiat currency claims allowed in the rehabilitation proceedings … will be given priority in payment, to secure the interests of such fiat currency claims.”
Further, the draft rehabilitation plan, which is yet to be filed and approved in a court, added that the trustee also intends to allow BTC/BCH creditors to request payments in cash if desired.
“Consequently, a sufficient amount of cash must be secured as the source for distribution for both fiat currency claims and BTC/BCH claims for which cash payment is requested. For reasons including this, the Trustee may, with the permission of the court, sell all or part of the BTC/BCH constituting the Debtor’s assets,” the plan says.
Kobayashi said in the document that the policy is “not to purchase additional BTC/BCH.” Therefore, the existing BTC/BCH holdings may not be sufficient as a source for all claims in those assets.
In October of last year, the Tokyo District Court issued an order to extend the deadline for a rehabilitation plan to March 31, 2020.
If approved, the plan could also resolve the legacy issue of how to deal with cryptocurrencies that have come into the trustee’s possession as a result of hard forks of the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash networks. In such forks, after a new blockchain is split off from the original chain, all holder’s digital assets are duplicated on the new network.
It wasn’t disclosed in the draft what quantity of crypto assets other than BTC and BCH the trustee is holding. Its balance sheet indicated it was holding about 141,686 BTC and 142,846 BCH, as of March 2019.
At that time, Kobayashi had approved claims for 802,521 BTC, 792,296 BCH and $38,165,664 in cash, revealing a funding shortfall. The total amount of assets the trustee holds is also unclear at this stage.
In November 2018, a hard fork split the Bitcoin Cash network to create Bitcoin SV (BSV). The Mt. Gox holdings of 142,846 BCH would also have brought an equal amount of BSV in the trustee’s possession – an amount currently worth about $24 million. A fork of bitcoin into bitcoin cash in 2017 also brought in around 200,000 BCH (now worth $45.6 million).
Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in 2014 following an infamous hack in which it claimed to have lost 850,000 BTC at the time, although around 200,000 BTC were later found in an old wallet.
In June 2018, the Tokyo District Court granted a petition to move the bankruptcy case to a civil rehabilitation process, allowing creditors to be repaid in their original crypto holdings rather than the fiat value at the time of the collapse.
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