In what should be one of the greatest and weirdest pivots of all time, Jed McCaleb transformed Mt. Gox (short for Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange) from a card-trading platform into what became the world’s one-time leading Bitcoin exchange.
Not wanting the legal hassle of operating a crypto-currency exchange, McCaleb sold Mt. Gox to a few Tokyo-based French entrepreneurs he had never met before in 2011. They presided over Mt. Gox as it went on to dominate Bitcoin trading for more than a year by volume. However, over the past six months, the platform has seen a fall from grace as users have had trouble withdrawing their funds. New troubles emerged in the last couple days again, as Mt. Gox said it was halting withdrawals. The company said it was having problems finalizing transactions because of a perceived flaw in the Bitcoin protocol around “transaction malleability.” Other exchanges also halted withdrawals as the Bitcoin Foundation said it was working on a solution to the problem.
In any case, McCaleb has been free of Mt. Gox’s troubles for years.
Now he’s back at work on a new project. And here it is at the mysterious address of secretbitcoinproject.com.
It has just this short message:
When I sold Mt. Gox a few years ago, Bitcoin was trading at less than a dollar. Today Bitcoin exists in a new environment. Mt. Gox is struggling to keep up. Now, I am building something that will be better for Bitcoin and better for you.
I’m looking for alpha testers.
We also hear from a source that he’s raised some funding solely through some instant messages and Skype. (McCaleb is a bit reclusive.)