In the countdown to the new year, private equity and hedge fund manager Fortress Investment Group is redoubling its efforts to buy up Bitcoin (BTC) claims from Mt. Gox creditors.
A Bloomberg report on Dec. 19 alleged that Fortress’s offer is now roughly 13.5% lower than an initial bid it extended to creditors earlier this year — down to $778 per Bitcoin claim as opposed to a former $900. Creditors have until Dec. 31 to decide whether to accept the firm’s proposal.
A drawn-out process
As Cointelegraph has previously reported, roughly 24,000 creditors are thought to have been affected by Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox’s 2011 hack and later collapse in early 2014, which resulted in the loss of 850,000 BTC valued at roughly $460 million at the time.
Reimbursement of the exchange’s creditors is being handled under the stewardship of Tokyo attorney Nobuaki Kobayashi, who was appointed by a Japanese court to act as the civil rehabilitation trustee to manage Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy estate.
This compensation process — notwithstanding positive indications from Kobayashi earlier this year — has proved to be protracted and thus far open-ended, galvanizing creditors and other community members to self-organize in an attempt to quicken the process.
As evidence of Fortress’s renewed intentions to buy back creditors’ claims, Bloomberg says it has obtained a one-page proposal from the firm, via a source who was not authorized to officially speak on the matter.
The document allegedly argues that two ongoing lawsuits being pursued against the Mt. Gox Estate “threaten to delay and dilute distributions” of creditors’ claims.
Fortress has reportedly claimed that 1–2 years are expected to elapse before an initial ruling from a judge is delivered, adding, “Both litigants would then have an option to appeal, which could take an additional 2-3 years.”
To calculate its buyback offer, Fortress has allegedly multiplied the number of Bitcoins lost by each creditor by 15% (the amount currently available for reimbursement of the lost funds) and multiplied it by the current price of Bitcoin. In its letter, the firm pledged to make the payment within three days of any given claim transfer.
Dither and delay
Bitcoin was trading at roughly $10,900 at the time of Fortress’ initial offer this summer of $900 per claim. As of the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading close to $7,200.
This April, Andy Pag — the founder and coordinator of the largest group of Mt. Gox creditors, Mt. Gox Legal — revealed he had quit his post and decided to sell his claim for an instant payout from a buyer offering $600.
He noted at the time that he expected reimbursement to be likely to take a further 18–24 months or longer, pointing, like Fortress, to the delay incurred by outstanding lawsuits against the former exchange.