Former Mt. Gox chief executive officer Mark Karpelès has stood trial, literally in Tokyo and figuratively among cryptoeconomy stakeholders, for his role in the infamous exchange’s 2014 collapse. Now, he’s ready to decidedly move on with his professional life.
That’s because the one-time Gox CEO is again eyeing greener pastures in the cryptoverse, having created a new company to develop a blockchain-based operating system.
That startup, Tristan Technologies Co., has been registered in Japan, where Karpelès — a Frenchman by birth — has resided for the past decade and where he operated Mt. Gox between 2011 and 2014.
Karpelès was arrested there in 2015 on charges of fraud, embezzlement, and tampering with Gox’s records. Earlier this year, he was found innocent of those first two counts and received a suspended sentence for the tampering charge, in effect avoiding jail time. Karpelès is in the process of appealing that conviction regardless.
As for Tristan Tech, Karpelès told journalists at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan on June 5th that Japan had started losing ground in the international innovation race. He cast his new company’s effort to develop a blockchain OS as a contribution toward reversing that trend, with him adding: “I still believe in the potential Japan has and I would like to develop that.”
With that said, Karpelès offered the gathered reporters few details beyond the operating system’s planned creation, so the precise specifications as to how it will center blockchain in its fold remain to be seen.
Still, it can be inferred from general blockchain OS concepts that a resulting system will fundamentally process user commands, just like how the iOS and Android operating systems process such commands. The difference between the former and the latter is that in a blockchain OS a distributed ledger does that processing, whereas neither iOS nor Android rely on blockchain tech at all.
Also in the News: Karpelès Concerned About Bitcoin’s Security
Knowing firsthand the devastating and tireless efforts of hackers, Karpelès thinks it’s time for developers to start revising the Bitcoin network’s security for posterity.
In new comments to CoinDesk Japan, the Tristan Technologies CEO said the cryptographic algorithm at the heart of Bitcoin won’t always be safe, and it’s better to lean toward the side of caution with so much money — and the innovation of money itself — on the line:
“It is still impossible to eliminate risk. Innovation of cryptographic technology is a must […] Bitcoin itself has been using a technology called ECDSA from the beginning, and has never been hacked. However, as it is difficult to eliminate hacking damage, you will have to think that there is also no permanently safe cryptographic technology. It is dangerous that Bitcoin will continue to exist with the current encryption technology.”
Of course, much has been said about the possibility of the ECDSA, or Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm, being cracked by forthcoming quantum computers in recent years.
Two camps typically form in this debate: the side that thinks the issue is decades away and can be handled later, and the side that thinks quantum innovation will come faster than most anticipate. With regard to this second camp, some researchers have even speculated the ECDSA could be cracked as early as 2027 if quantum advancements progress optimistically.
It’s worth noting, then, that quantum research just got a whole lot more optimistic after a recent physics breakthrough has the science world abuzz. In short, a group of Yale University researchers seem to have solved the Schrödinger’s cat paradox, a standing problem in quantum physics. The advancement could ultimately lead to mature quantum computers.
So perhaps Karpelès has a point with his security concerns, though the grand question is what timeframe the Bitcoin community can expect to contend with here.