Friday, February 28, 2014

An Open Letter to Mark Karpeles

Dear Mark Karpeles,

My name is Emma.  At the bottom of this letter you will find an address but I want you to know me first. We have never really spoken tho we have been in the same channels on IRC. I'm going to ask others to help me get this letter to you because I want you to know how the choices you made have affected a regular person.

Unlike yourself I am not wealthy or very technically inclined. I like to learn and I love being around smart people - that's how I ended up on Freenode. When my close friends started talking about bitcoins I got some along with them. That was years ago and most of them sold their coins long ago. But I held mine. I held them because I could see what great potential they had for me and for everyone else. My job involves service to others. I'm not highly paid and real investing is beyond my reach. The moment I discovered bitcoins I knew there was a chance to change my life.

With the little that I make, I scrounged and saved, and bought some bitcoins on MtGox every week. This was back in 2011 and fewer people knew about them then. I did this for as long as I could until the day they finally became too expensive and I had to stop. I was never a trader. And I never sold. I just waited. And waited. Because I believed in what bitcoins could do, and what they could be. In the end I had 120 bitcoins that I knew would be worth something one day.

The 120 coins you lost were more valuable than all the money I have ever saved, or may ever save again. But while that loss is staggering it is not what breaks my heart; my heart is broken when I realize it is more than just my 120 BTC that's gone. It's the opportunity that can never be brought back. Three years ago, coins were for people who could dream. Today coins are for people who have money, and that does not include me.

When I saw that coins were nearing $800 dollars I came back to Mtgox to exchange them for enough money to pay off all my debts. It was money I could go to school with and be debt free. It was money I could use to make more traditional investments - something very difficult for people who live on a paycheck such as I do.

But when I came back to Mtgox I found that more than just the price of coins had changed. I would need to be verified and was told that would take 10 days. Then 20 days. Then an indefinite number of days. Then I found out that Mtgox was not good at letting people in the USA get their dollars anymore. I tried to get out what I owned for months and months. I was told by Mtgox employees I should wait. And I had waited three years so why not wait some more. I waited Mark, I waited through it all until you cut off our ability to withdraw anything at all. And now it's gone.

I know you are probably hurting too. I know you probably never wanted to hurt people like me. But you need to know that you have. I don't know what the future holds but I don't go to work anymore dreaming about what 120 BTC could do. You needn't worry about me suing you since I can't afford to do that either.

I don't know how many coins Mtgox still has but I think you must have some coins left in your personal wallet. For you maybe 120 coins is not that much, or maybe it is now. I don't know. Here is what I know -- I know there is some risk in owning bitcoins, but that risk was supposed to be from governments or being new, the risk was not supposed to be from insufficiently distrusting your ability. The risk was not supposed to be from believing that an exchange endorsed by the Bitcoin Foundation was not an exchange at all.

So I'm going to ask you to repair me from your personal wallet. If you lost most of your coins on MtGox as well then please just send me whatever fits within the number of coins and honor you have left.

If you wish to speak with me you can find me on Freenode. Just query emma. I will verify that this is really me. If you send me more than 120 BTC I will donate the excess to the EFF.

May history be kind to you,
-- Emma (former bitcoin owner, former bitcoin enthusiast)

My address: 12GfYyWivb8TDFD38BhWD1zKASNenxdFEg