Mark Karpelès, the CEO who presided over Bitcoin alternate Mt. Gox till it went bankrupt in 2014, has had a tough time discovering work for the final 4 years. In any case, when he introduced in February 2014 that he’d misplaced all of Mt. Gox’s 850,000 Bitcoins, he immediately turned the biggest villain of the cryptocurrency world.
And whereas Karpelès ended up discovering 200,000 of the Mt. Gox Bitcoins—and authorities imagine the opposite 650,000 have been stolen by outside hackers—he’s at the moment on prison trial in Japan for expenses of embezzlement, manipulation of digital knowledge, and breach of belief. Initially arrested in 2015, Karpelès was held in jail for nearly a yr on these expenses.
“I’ve no technique to make sure that I’ll nonetheless be capable to work in a single yr, two years,” Karpelès advised Fortune in an interview in Tokyo in March. “So I can not actually get a traditional full-time job.” In different phrases, he acknowledges, he could also be despatched again to jail. (For the complete story of how the Mt. Gox hack thriller has unfolded, see my characteristic story “Mt. Gox and the Surprising Redemption of Bitcoin’s Biggest Villain” from the Might subject of Fortune.)
However whether or not it’s what he considers “regular” or not, Karpelès just lately did land a brand new job—and a significant one, as a C-level govt at a U.S. company. He’s the brand new chief expertise officer of London Belief Media, a Denver-based firm that boasts the world’s largest paid digital personal community (VPN) service.
London Belief Media can also be more and more investing in cryptocurrency: It was an early investor in Zcash, a privacy-focused digital coin, and has additionally backed Purse, a startup permitting individuals to purchase Amazon objects with Bitcoin.
Karpelès, nonetheless, was not forthcoming about his newest profession transfer in our preliminary assembly. As a substitute, he’d stated he was juggling 4 to 5 completely different IT consulting jobs, engaged on initiatives associated to on-line video video games, community communications and IP (Web protocol) providers—all “unrelated to cryptocurrency.” He refused to call his employers on the time, saying that as a contractor, he was prohibited from discussing them.
It wasn’t till afterwards, whenI stumbled throughout his LinkedIn profile, that Karpelès lastly opened up about his new place. On LinkedIn, he lists himself as London Belief Media’s CTO since January of this yr. “I’d say it’s at the moment my most important job,” Karpelès wrote in a message to Fortune.
Alternatively, Karpelès’s new employer was more than pleased to trumpet the information of his new rent. “Mark fought and fell. And though he fell, his expertise, expertise and know-how unarguably live on,” says Andrew Lee, cofounder, chairman and chief of lab division at London Belief Media. “And so, bringing in a seasoned warrior makes excellent sense to me. I’m greater than prepared to provide a second likelihood to Mark on this combat’s vital hour.”
The combat Lee is referring to is what he calls the “crypto wars”—cryptocurrency’s battle in opposition to growing authorities regulation and oversight, together with moves by the New York attorney general this week.
Lee, who additionally as soon as offered an organization to Mt. Gox and was accountable for Mt. Gox’s North American operations for a short while, says Karpelès will probably be engaged on London Belief Media’s cryptocurrency ventures in addition to its different merchandise. Karpelès’s expertise within the Bitcoin business—regardless of ending in catastrophe—will show worthwhile, Lee provides: “I wouldn’t dare say that the one who architected the Titanic ought to by no means once more architect one other ship.”
Karpelès, who has by no means been to the U.S., will work remotely from Japan, the place he’s at the moment required to remain whereas he’s on trial. He says he was attracted largely to London Belief Media’s dedication to defending its clients’ privateness via its VPN providers, citing current outrage over Fb’s sharing of user data with Cambridge Analytica. “Promoting-driven overreach on individuals’s privateness has been a matter I’ve been anxious about for a while,” he says.
In any case, Karpelès has currently been less than enthusiastic about Bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies, telling Fortune he’s had “sufficient of cryptocurrency” between all his issues at Mt. Gox, and has basically washed his fingers clear of it. “The primary subject with Bitcoin itself is that the neighborhood round it proper now’s form of too polarized,” Karpelès says, citing the cut up between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Money over a disagreement in how greatest to scale the digital forex. (He’s not taking a facet, with the intention to “keep impartial and never become involved in additional bother than I’m already.”)
“Bitcoin proper now’s, I imagine, doomed,” Karpelès provides. “Its authentic promise of being the way forward for forex is clearly out of attain.” Then once more, that’s what some stated about Karpelès’ profession.