MtGox filed for bankruptcy protection today, and in so doing, disclosed that it has 127,000 customers who are owed on average the equivalent of $3500 each. One might expect this sort of thing to trigger angry cries from customers for government intervention and/or bail-outs.
Indeed, some do think this is the case:
While that tweet may have been mostly in jest, it did strike me that I’ve noticed ZERO calls for government intervention from MtGox customers. People are obviously angry; mostly at MtGox management, and somewhat at themselves. The various calls for action are mostly calls for new, better-run, more transparent businesses, better redundant storage of funds, and development of decentralized exchanges that cannot become insolvent. In short, even at the height of customer shock and anger, the calls from within the community are mostly for a change in consumer behavior, and development of better technology. Bailouts are not considered a desired or long-term viable solution.
On one hand, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, with bitcoin’s roots and early userbase coming from a libertarian ethos. But usually when people lose money, real and/or irrational feelings come out. The lack of calls for intervention shows a deep belief in bitcoin’s potential to serve the greater good without explicit central management. Here are some quotes from the “Official Money Lost in Mt. GOX Thread”:
Stupid me… Was going to withdraw and move elsewhere, but the price kept falling so… Greed.”
“8 BTC (0 EUR/USD)
I bought the BTC less than 24 hours before the trading stopped…
I don’t even regret it. Yes, I am a little said [sic], but I was aware what I am doing and I would do this again.”
“Looks like 38BTC gone. I knew better but trading was fun.”
“$0 and $0 BTC. The only person I trust with my private keys is myself.”
“2.08 BTC. 274 USD… Should’ve cashed out earlier, but I got greedy.”
“About 4k in USD…I should have seen the writing on the wall and converted back to BTC and pulled it.”
“they better go bankrupt and stay bankrupt, for bitcoin”
“I pretty much have my life savings on Gox/MtGox whatever. When I first joined gox and the bitcoin community as a whole back in 2011 I had £1000 to my name.
I took a lot of huge gambles over the last 2 years and in my opinion did fairly well in fact I had over 17k euros by the “end” sitting on gox. Not counting the money I withdrew to live on.
Easy come easy go and with the risks I was taking along the way this was always a very real possibility.
Bitcoin was still a great experience for me and I’m glad I was in for the ride (yes I’m still a believer).
I wouldn’t want a single donation from anyone and would refuse it respectfully as I was a risk taker from the get go Grin
I think the best thing this community can do is offer support in a form that would potentially prevent the very real chance of suicides.
Its ow so easy to forget there are real people behind the curtain of the internet and many of them are hurting and suffering.”
The above quotes are not cherry-picked. At 11-pages long, with some people claiming millions-of-dollars equivalent in losses, there’s not a single call for intervention in that thread. Bitcoin enthusiasts are a consistent bunch.