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Bitcoin Japan

MtGox Sets Up Call Center For Worried Bitcoiners 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the yes-it's-still-gone dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Did you lose bitcoins in the MtGox debacle and are worried that you'll never get them back? Fear not, a call center has been set up in Japan to help allay your fears. From the article: 'Bitcoin investors left hanging by the sudden shuttering of the MtGox electronic market will soon have a way to learn more about the fate of their cryptocurrency holdings—a Japanese phone hotline. In an announcement on the company's website, MtGox said that a call center had been set up to handle inquiries about the company. The call center will go live on the morning of March 3, Japan time.'"
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MtGox Sets Up Call Center For Worried Bitcoiners

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  • Moshi moshi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MRe_nl (306212) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:11AM (#46386329)

    Losing taught humility
    Gained me Perspective
    I'm a better person now

  • by delt0r (999393) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:12AM (#46386335)
    The history of paper money is interesting as is fractional reserve banking. What a lot of people don't realize is that we the public asked for it to be regulated. And for good reason. The problem i have with bitcoin and bitcoin fans, is they seem to think bitcoin is somehow immune to all the things that went wrong with normal currencies. Its not.
    • by 1s44c (552956) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:26AM (#46386361)

      On the whole BitCoin fans don't think that. Maybe some naive kids who got a lot of coins by being in the right place at the right time think that. If they do it will cost them dearly. There are perfectly rational people in the BitCoin scene, people who do research and don't throw money at companies that look shady as hell like MtGox did before it blew.

      It's been said many times and it deserves to be said many more - MtGox had only been paying out cash with months of delays for about a year before they went insolvent. Their death was widely predicted about a year before it happened. MtGox also has a history of very serious security issues like the time they leaked their entire user database. Hashed passwords, Usernames, Email addresses, the lot.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:43AM (#46386403)

        The cost of doing business with BTC is unacceptably high when every person needs to do their own research.

        That is another failure with under-regulated markets. In those markets, people's time is expected to be worthless. Every person is expected to spend lots of time reading up on all sorts of stuff that is irrelevant in a well-regulated market.

        The bitcoin people are probably reading all ToS on all websites they visit as well, right? RIGHT?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Bitcoin is still young. This is a time or risk and opportunity. Besides, if you really think anyone should invest money, for example in the stock market, without spending lots of time reading up on all sorts of stuff, I have a bridge to sell you.

          • by MadKeithV (102058) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:59AM (#46386439)

            Bitcoin is still young. This is a time or risk and opportunity. Besides, if you really think anyone should invest money, for example in the stock market, without spending lots of time reading up on all sorts of stuff, I have a bridge to sell you.

            Monkeys do better than people in the stock market [gizmodo.com.au] - I'm sure they did lots of market research beforehand though.

            • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:45AM (#46387335)

              Monkeys do better than people in the stock market [gizmodo.com.au] - I'm sure they did lots of market research beforehand though.

              But you really want a rate of return better than a monkey, otherwise you might as well invest in index funds, how boring is that?

              So the trick is to identify when people, in general, are being less-smart than monkeys and then run in the opposite direction.

              It's not an easy business, outsmarting the monkeys - that's why it's better to be lucky than smart.

              • But you really want a rate of return better than a monkey, otherwise you might as well invest in index funds, how boring is that?

                If you want to gamble with money in an exciting way; I suggest going to Vegas.

                • 7 out! Line away!

                • by spikenerd (642677)

                  If you want to gamble with money in an exciting way; I suggest going to Vegas.

                  The folks in Vegas don't take it well when you try to use your intellect to improve your odds. The market, however, permits it. That is a pretty-big difference. Frankly, I do not find games that come with restrictions about how I can use my brain and electronic extensions to be nearly as exciting.

          • If you think investing in the stock market has anything to do with research and nothing with inside trading and a lot of crystal ball consultation, I'd rather not sell that bridge. You might get cheated in the deal.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:11AM (#46386615)

              The kind of reading which should be mandatory before investing in the stock market is about risk management, not about how to find the company that will make you rich. Knowing how much to invest, how to diversify and how to avoid rookie mistakes will help with not losing your life's savings, whether you're investing in the stock market or Bitcoins.

          • by westlake (615356)

            Bitcoin is still young. This is a time or risk and opportunity. Besides, if you really think anyone should invest money...

            Bitcoin first has to prove itself as a currency.

            Promoting Bitcoin as a money-maker --- an investment opportunity like tulip futures --- will destroy it.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:07AM (#46386469) Journal
          BTC is definitely too 'buyer beware' to really make it as a currency in its present state; but it's worth noting that there is apparently (a whole lot) of money in adding incomprehensibility to even relatively well behaved currencies. You don't want to let that side of the market get out of hand (Why hello there, world financial crisis, we were just talking about you, those functionally-impossible-to-value instruments, and assorted similar wacky stories...)

          Once you count the dreadful freakshows grafted onto real currencies, BTC actually scores relatively low on complexity, on average; but the trouble is that there isn't really a 'safe for noobs' option.

          With USD and friends, you should Stay Out Of The Deep End, because that's where the sharks live; but (in no small part because regulators stepped in to make it so) just getting a smallish bank account isn't a harrowing experience.
        • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:35AM (#46386717) Journal

          In those markets, people's time is expected to be worthless. Every person is expected to spend lots of time reading up on all sorts of stuff that is irrelevant in a well-regulated market.

          No its not worthless its an investment in risk management. Your alternative is they invest tax dollars in paying a small army of regulators and politicians to in theory look out for their interests instead. Look how well the events of 2008-2013 show that works.

          And don't try say it was because of "deregulation" it was because of changed and stupid regulations not deregulation which has essentially never happened in finance. Real deregulation would mean repealing laws without replacements. When most of our politicians say "deregulation" what they really mean is we are giving a select group of already successful incumbent operators a license to steal.

        • by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Monday March 03, 2014 @09:04AM (#46386823) Homepage

          unacceptably high for whom?

          There are plenty of cases where the cost/risk might be acceptable.

          If I want to buy something for $100 and anonymity is important, then I may well be happy to risk losing my $100.

          Similarly if I have a bunch of illicit cash and I can convert it into bitcoin - I might be willing to risk losing it rather than risk it coming to the attention of the authorities.

          Is bitcoin suitable for your average person to store their pension savings? Almost certainly not. That doesn't mean the cost (risk) is unacceptably high for everyone though.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The cost of doing business with BTC is unacceptably high when every person needs to do their own research.

          You certainly have to be more careful, but on the other hand the average tax payer won't have to pay for the MtGox collapse like they did for the banking crisis.

        • by Dagger2 (1177377)

          The cost of doing business with BTC is unacceptably high when every person needs to do their own research

          Indeed, but doing it that way isn't a requirement for Bitcoin.

          There is already at least one service [bitpay.com] that takes all of the research out of it from the seller's perspective. Customers pay into a Bitcoin address; all the seller needs to do does is sign up, integrate it into their checkout system and they get money in their bank account at the end of every day.

          All we need now is a similar service for the customer end. The obvious way to do it would be a service that takes a credit card payment and turns it into

          • There is already at least one service [mtgox.com] that takes all of the research out of it from the seller's perspective.

            I changed the link both because I'm a deeply horrible person underneath, and to kinda sorta explain my reservations with what you just said...

        • by Solandri (704621)

          That is another failure with under-regulated markets. In those markets, people's time is expected to be worthless. Every person is expected to spend lots of time reading up on all sorts of stuff that is irrelevant in a well-regulated market.

          But that is how markets improve. Someone reading up on all that stuff finds something everyone else thought was irrelevant but turns out to make a difference, regardless of whether the market is well-regulated or unregulated. Just because you want to be lazy and have

      • by delt0r (999393) on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:26AM (#46386517)

        On the whole BitCoin fans don't think that.

        While there are some quite clued up people in bitcoin (ie the bitcoin FAQ on the official page), there are a lot of anti government people who really don't understand our current banking systems at all. Then of course there are lot of speculators. It could be argued they don't really care as long as they can predict.

        Personally some form of ecoin appeals to me and the bitcoin system is well thought out. Its has some flaws like scalability etc and too long to confirm transactions that all could be remedied with a different set of implementation details. Perhaps what i like the best is that block chains could be used to prove the existence of something at a time in a fairly secure manner. ie hash of security camera footage, ideas book, patent applications etc.

        But it has failed as a currency to date. At best is a speculative thing. And i remain unconvinced that a proof of work is a good idea. Utility of those resources is wasted and would be better spent elsewhere.

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:25AM (#46386663) Homepage Journal

        I really don't get the impression Bitcoin's fans are the paragons of rationality you're painting them as. And in particular, I take exception with the quote "don't throw money at companies that look shady as hell like MtGox did before it blew."

        Some observations:

        1. I've read numerous op-eds (op-eds!) over the past week suggesting Mt. Gox's collapse has made everything safer because there's one less bad actor, and those who remain in the Bitcoin world are more mature.

        2. There's no recognition that Mt. Gox was, until 6-9 months ago, a highly regarded exchange that was frequently recommended, cited, and so on. It didn't corner the percentage of the market it got to despite everyone thinking it was "sleazy". It got there because of word of mouth. Suddenly it "always sleazy", "everyone knew", and "OMG it was originally something to do with Magic: The Gathering, right?"

        3. Many now claiming they "always knew" and are citing things they said 6-9 months ago, after Mt. Gox had already started collapsing and after it had started to become problematic getting money out. Presumably the same people would have said "I always knew the Titanic was badly designed, look at this transcript of a conversation I had on the deck at 12.30am on 15th April 1912 [wikipedia.org]. This is what represents "doing research" in the Bitcoin community?

        4. Many are now pretending that Mt. Gox provided an unnecessary service and are finding other reasons to blame the victim. What exactly is a "safe" way to manage Bitcoins if you're technically skilled (or are generally technically skilled but also more than aware that you frequently overestimate your own competence?)

        5. Where, seriously, are the serious proposals to make Mt. Gox style collapses impossible in the future? In the regulated dollar world, we have the FDIC, and we have each bank subject to minimum standards of security so that the vast majority of customers will not face problems if a bank fails. Or are you seriously going to tell me that the magic fairies of the invisible hand of the market are going to prevent these collapses in the future?

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:42AM (#46386751) Homepage Journal

          I mostly agree with you, bitcoin fans are living in denial.

          However, a "safe" way to manage your bitcoins is to keep them in multiple distributed wallets that you control.

          And the idea IS that the invisible hand will eventually prevent these collapses. In the meantime, there will be more of them. That can only happen if the invisible hand stops fucking you, also. Otherwise it's too busy.

          • However, a "safe" way to manage your bitcoins is to keep them in multiple distributed wallets that you control.

            OK, but would you describe this as an straightforward solution that most people would instinctively do, and find easy to set up, use, and maintain?

            (Yes I'm aware there's a missing "not" in the sentence where I asked for a solution to this - my bad, it was supposed to be there, I'm hoping the condition that immediately followed made that clear - and so it probably seems unfair to suddenly impose

        • In a free market, there would be far more exchanges to choose from, and so it would have been much harder for a poorly-managed exchange like Mt. Gox to rise to the top. The reason that there is a scarcity of bitcoin exchanges to choose from is not due to too little regulation; it is due to too much. The anti-money laundering laws in the U.S., for example, scare most banks away from anything that is related to bitcoin, and that makes it very hard for law abiding citizens to start an exchange in the U.S. Why

      • by meander (178059) on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:37AM (#46386729)

        1) bitcoin value goes up and down, so does everything else. Live with it or dont use it.

        2) Storing your bitcoins on a server owned by someone else is like giving your cash to someone you dont know. Maybe it will still be there, maybe it wont. If you are on Linux, or Windows or OSX, use a client like electrum (electrum.org). You can store the bitcoin wallet on your own computer, without relying on some not so trusted intermediary. You do do backups dont you?

        Yesterday I transferred most of my bitcoin stash (~$500 Aussie) into my own wallet on my own computer, and backed it up elsewhere.

        The bitcoin is now safe, the value of it may change up and down. Bit like owning shares, isn't it?

      • "Maybe some naive kids who got a lot of coins by being in the right place at the right time think that. If they do it will cost them dearly. "

        i don't really think any "kids" who mined bitcoin early on enough to really hit a lick would be dumb enough to store them at mt. gox...so its not like they lost anything.

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        I'm still waiting for cash withdrawals since July, the writing was on the wall back then. In fact I was in the process of bailing out of Mt Gox when my last few transactions got stuck.

    • Banks are regulated?

      Fuck, I don't even want to ponder what our economy would look like without if THAT is what it looks like WITH regulated banks!

    • by labnet (457441)

      Bit coin is stupid because it can't expand and shrink to fit economic use.
      Money is convenient form barter and needs to represent the productive capital of its users and to remain stable for a given capital. (Eg an apple is worth 1dollar from year to year, 1 dollar today, then 10 dollars next week)
      As more people use it, scarcity increases its value, making early adopters insanely rich. See the con.

      • by delt0r (999393)
        I do also agree with this. But its worse than make people "rich". It means people hoard. This is not useful for a currency or for an economy for that matter.
      • by jythie (914043)
        Well, that is part of the appeal to adherents. They do not want a currency to expand or contract to fit use. They have gotten ahold of some alternative history where the gold standard was actually a good thing and believe that a deflationary currency will improve the economy since investment is for takers.
      • by bberens (965711)
        You can use nearly arbitrarily small fractions of bitcoins. Denominations of all currency are completely arbitrary. We could call one billionth of a bitcoin the bitbuck and start selling and trading in bitbucks. Now we have a billion times more bit currency units to do stuff with. If Bitcoin sticks around, I highly suspect his is exactly what will happen.
        • by Copid (137416)
          That would be fine if money was all about flows and units of measure, but there are stocks of money and contracts specifying future flows as well. If one day a sandwich costs a bitcoin and a year later, a sandwich costs a bitbuck, roughly speaking, the value of bitcoin is up by a factor of a billion. That means that if you have a bank account full if bitcoins, you're a billion times richer. It also means that if you owe somebody bitcoins, you're a billion times deeper in debt. Inflation and deflation ha
    • Bitcoin isn't though in the sense that this money was actually STOLEN.

      With fractional reserve banking you can rob a country of trillions and it isn't technically stealing. These bitcoins were STOLEN.

      Like and old school bankrobbery where some guy breaks into the bank and walks off with boxes of gold coins. Stolen.

      And the issue with these bitcoin exchanges is that they were not handling transactions securely. Bitcoin itself is secure. But they made compromises when they set the exchanges up and guess what...

  • by blackicye (760472) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:15AM (#46386339)

    http://hackingdistributed.com/... [hackingdistributed.com]

    • by jythie (914043)
      Yeah, but so far it is just group think and says a lot about the community`s self perception.
      • And the difference to the stock market would be...?

    • Good link, and well written analysis by the author. Thank you for drawing our attention to it.

      Must admit I've been surprised to the extent to which the "Immediate reasons why Mt. Gox collapsed" speculation has gone beyond "What Mt. Gox themselves claimed" (transaction malleability/hackers) and "Fraud". It would seem to me there's no reason whatsoever to look at any other reasons. The "Obama closed them down" thing in particular just seems to confirm the views I have about how Bitcoin advocates/users thin

  • Bla..bla..bla..bla..your monies are safe..bla..bla..bla will just take a bit of time to sort out..bla..bla Who is going to believe whatever they say?
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:07AM (#46386467)

    If only there was a more efficient way to publish information and make it available to a large group of people.

  • From the BBC:

    "HMP Grampian will also have a dedicated unit for training prisoners for a return to work when they are released. The unit will include a telephone marketing centre." [bbc.co.uk]

    The only problem I see that being in prison already makes trying to sign you up for a scam less of a risk for the operator, but I digress :)

  • Reality Intrudes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Required Snark (1702878) on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:28AM (#46386521)
    At some point in any belief system, reality demonstrates that the system is not a complete model of how the world works. Sometimes this is minor, and sometimes it's huge. If a believer becomes even more convinced that they are right after a extreme event, they have embraced delusional thinking. (Note: one of the differences between the scientific method and other belief systems is that new results are often are used as evidence to alter the belief, i.e. hypothesis, so the belief system expands.)

    There are a lot of people these days, many of them readers of Slashdot, who espouse a belief system with a lot of delusional features: Libertarianism. This position, along with the similar political belief of the U.S. Republican Party, the British Torries and Canadian Conservatives share common beliefs. One prominent belief is that all government regulation of business is always evil. They are particularly adamant that financial regulation is always destructive.

    An epic recent example is the admission by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan [wikipedia.org], who is self described as "lifelong libertarian Republican".

    In Congressional testimony on October 23, 2008, Greenspan acknowledged that he was "partially" wrong in opposing regulation and stated "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity – myself especially – are in a state of shocked disbelief." Referring to his free-market ideology, Greenspan said: "I have found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact." Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) then pressed him to clarify his words. "In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working," Waxman said. "Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan replied. "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well." Greenspan admitted fault in opposing regulation of derivatives and acknowledged that financial institutions didn't protect shareholders and investments as well as he expected.

    Matt Taibbi described the Greenspan put and its bad consequences saying: "every time the banks blew up a speculative bubble, they could go back to the Fed and borrow money at zero or one or two percent, and then start the game all over", thereby making it "almost impossible" for the banks to lose money. He also called Greenspan a "classic con man" who, through political savvy, "flattered and bullshitted his way up the Matterhorn of American power and ... jacked himself off to the attention of Wall Street for 20 consecutive years."

    The failure of Mt. Gox is a inevitable consequence of an unregulated financial market. Bank failures were common in the U.S. from it's founding until modern baking regulation started after the Great Depression, when they became uncommon. This situation was stable until the Reagan Revolution, and steady removal of the previously working regulatory regime.

    Greenspan is the poster child for the catastrophic effects of delusional right wing economic thinking, and the 2008 crash along with the current debt of the U.S. are the legacy. The world economy is still recovering from that disaster, and no one can say how long it will take for a full recovery. Note that the so called recovery of the financial markets is simply an extension of the policies that lead to the crash in the first place. What Matt Taibbi described is still happening: "they could go back to the Fed and borrow money at zero or one or two percent".

    Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are the high tech realization of delusional right wing economic thinking. They are ideologically founded on the idea of avoiding government economic oversight. Lack of regulation inevitably leads to a boom/bust cycle and poisons economic growth

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are the high tech realization of delusional right wing economic thinking. They are ideologically founded on the idea of avoiding government economic oversight. Lack of regulation inevitably leads to a boom/bust cycle and poisons economic growth.

      Bitcoin is only intended to solve the problem of money production and changing hands. It does not in any way address banking. It is a currency, not an economic system.

      It basically solves the same problems as trading in gold solves - there is no inflation because the rate of production is well-understood. I can still rob you and steal your gold, and a bank you give gold to can still steal your money or lose it in a failure.

      MtGox certainly illustrates the perils of giving your money to an unregulated bank.

    • Though I largely agree, I think you're over simplifying the story a bit. For example:

      Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are the high tech realization of delusional right wing economic thinking. They are ideologically founded on the idea of avoiding government economic oversight.

      Are you sure about this? Certainly there are a lot of Libertarian "types" among the BitCoin fans, but was this the sole (or even primary) motivation for the inventors?

      They have shown no ability to learn from the past.

      While this is certainly true of many on the right (and the left, for that matter), there are also quite a few who either learned something or never believed the ideology in the first place. Most of these continue pushing the old line simply because it's their

    • by tompaulco (629533)

      (Note: one of the differences between the scientific method and other belief systems is that new results are often are used as evidence to alter the belief, i.e. hypothesis, so the belief system expands.)

      As far as I have seen, both the scientific method and other belief systems both do that, although most religions are much more slow to accept change than science. But science is getting more and more set in its ways as well, these days.

  • "Yes, we have no bananas."
  • They've already got the script:

    "First, let me say that I'm sorry that you're having a problem with your Bitcoin service today..."

  • I do wonder what they charge per minute .. might a a lucrative way to squeeze even more money out of their 'clients' =)

  • I don't know much about Bitcoin, and it's probably a stupid question, but where did the BTCs go?
    Isn't it possible to trace it, and prove that you owned them?

  • by xtal (49134) on Monday March 03, 2014 @09:52AM (#46387059)

    I had.. a few Bitcoins a very long time ago.

    I stopped being interested the first time the exchange went screwy and f--ked over people. I think it was a database hack of some type or DDOS.

    It's unregulated, and the problem is you need a exchange to turn Bitcoins into Cash, and Cash into Bitcoins. That means somewhere you have to trust someone.

    Call me when a nation state is backing a cryptocurrency. That will change everything. Until then it is a crap shoot.

  • Me make your bitcoins go up in smoke.
  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Monday March 03, 2014 @12:21PM (#46387949) Homepage
    Lister: Where are everyone's Bitcoins Hol?
    Holly: They're gone Dave.
    Lister: Whose are?
    Holly: Everybody's Dave.
    Lister: What Captain Holister's?
    Holly: Everybody's Bitcoins are gone Dave.
    Lister: What Todd Hunter's?
    Holly: Everybody's Bitcoins are gone Dave.
    Lister: What Selby's?
    Holly: They're all gone, everybody's Bitcoins are gone Dave.
    Lister: Peterson's aren't, are they?
    Holly: Everybody's Bitcoins are gone Dave.
    Lister: Not Chen's?
    Holly: Gorden Bennet, yes Chen's, everybody's. Everybody's Bitcoins are gone Dave.
    Lister: Rimmer's?
    Holly: They're gone Dave, everybody's Bitcoins are gone, everybody's Bitcoins are gone Dave.
    Lister: Wait, are you trying to tell me everybody's Bitcoins are gone?
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