State owned media outlet, Russia Today (RT), reports the suicide of an exchange CEO was in actuality something more sinister and connected to Mt. Gox’ 650,000 still missing bitcoin, according to RT’s exclusive source.
RT’s Exclusive Source: CEO Death Linked to Missing Gox Bitcoin
“The hundreds of thousands of bitcoins stolen from the Mt. Gox exchange four years ago could be recovered, but there are powerful forces against it,” an unsigned RT article begins ominously, citing an exclusive source. Someone “doesn’t want them found.”
Mt. Gox back in 2014 was 7 parts of every 10 bitcoin transactions. Two months into its near-four year run, and the Tokyo-based exchange had gone belly up. Hundreds of thousands of bitcoin were missing, vanished, assumed hacked. During subsequent bankruptcy proceedings, about a quarter of the disappeared cryptocurrency was recovered, but the remaining 650,000 continued missing. As of this writing, the price of bitcoin today would make the Gox ghost coins worth over ten billion dollars.
“Not long after the exchange’s collapse,” the RT story continues, “the public was shocked by the death of a virtual currency exchange First Meta’s CEO,” Autumn Radtke, an American living in Singapore trying to succeed in the hurried start-up world of bitcoin. RT characterizes her death as “having fallen from her apartment building in Singapore. Some media reported it was a suicide while others referred to it as a ‘questionable financial-sector death.’”
According to RT’s exclusive source, William Mook, Ms. Radtke “and her team and others, quietly found half the bitcoins that were supposedly stolen by Mt. Gox,” Mr. Mook claims, according to the article. “We had hopes the balance of the ‘lost’ Mt. Gox coins could be recovered as well.”
Mr. Mook is then allowed to express how Ms. Radtke’s death came “shortly after a Japanese court was advised of the finding,” the unsigned article paraphrases. Mr. Mook’s next lines are quoted by RT in italization for emphasis, “Her team and others associated with the effort disappeared. Websites closed down. This is a frightening development. That person and that team, me included, were frightened off.”
Russia Today has a mixed reputation among professional journalists. Unafraid to criticize particularly US institutions, it can give voice to opinions never heard by an American mainstream audience, a group which is often insulated from how the rest of the world views it and its government’s policies. That relative story freedom comes with a price, and journalistic standards can suffer.
Mr. Mook is a fringe thinker brought to RT back in 2013-ish when Max Keiser’s program was first fleshing out bitcoin. Mr. Mook is an Ohio expat living in New Zealand. Not too many could speak on cryptocurrencies and their implications back then, and mainstream journalists wouldn’t touch the subject other than in ridicule. This left an opening. Brought aboard RT by Australian economist Steve Keen, another RT regular, Mr. Mook just appeared. His byline in about every story is “bitcoin entrepreneur.” Your mom is a bitcoin entrepreneur.
Sometimes Mr. Mook is a “rocket scientist,” still other times an “alternative energy expert,” and yet again rolled up into all three ending in something-something “bitcoin.” He’s wowed such outlets with 700,000 USD price-point predictions for bitcoin, and isn’t afraid to rattle off how fiat money will end and banks will disappear in “twenty four months” (his phrase of choice). His statements should be countered with heavy doses of the large grain sea salt surrounding New Zealand.
Skittishness in reporting suicide, especially among friends and coworkers, is hardly cause for alarm or intrigue. People close to the person who took her life do not wish to sour the situation further, or hope the family will learn truths of the matter from less public sources. Autumn Radtke’s death was formally ruled a suicide.
Friends appeared to know Ms. Radtke was struggling with something, as a news report detailed at the time: “On February 10, Radtke posted a link to an essay entitled ‘The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship’ and commented obliquely that ‘Everything has its price’. In comments posted on the day her death was announced, her friend Krystal Choo said that ‘This exact post has been killing me. I should have known in a way she was reaching out. I failed her.’” Not really the words one would expect to read if foul play were thought involved.
As for “questionable financial sector death,” that phrase first appears in a blog post filled with hysterics. Simply listing facts doesn’t mean they’re connected. People are drowning at the beach. Ice cream is sold at the beach. Therefore, ice cream causes drowning. It might be emotionally appealing, but rigorously logical it ain’t.
For more on Ms. Radtke and her battle with depression, a great place to start would be Jacky Yap’s piece for Vulcan Post. To even allude her death was something other than suicide, with recourse only to proving a negative, is irresponsible to say the least (and consider her family and friends who’re no doubt reliving it again as a result).
With regard to Ms. Radtke, her team, and Japanese court filings suggesting her connection to finding Gox bitcoin, not a shred of proof has been produced. And that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
However, there is a story, a real one, about Gox’s missing 650,000 bitcoin. News.Bitcoin.com covered it beautifully and responsibly, and it’s a humdinger of a read. Turns out Chainalysis says it knows exactly where the coins are, and its co-founder Jonathan Levin even testified before congress to that fact. And he is still very much alive. For now.
What are your thoughts on the missing Mt. Gox bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images: Pixabay, Twitter. Additional sourcing for this story by Jamie Redman.