Thousands of lost bitcoins recovered

<p>Bankrupt exchange MtGox has revealed 200,000 lost bitcoins have been recovered.</p>

Tens of thousands of lost bitcoins have been recovered by one of the virtual currency's leading exchanges, which went bankrupt a few weeks ago.

MtGox revealed it found the bitcoins – which are worth around $116 million (£70 million) at the current valuation of the virtual currency – in an old digital wallet from 2011, reports BBC News.

The firm's chief executive Mark Karpeles said in the filing: "MtGox had certain old-format wallets which were used in the past and which, MtGox thought, no longer held any bitcoins."

MtGox closed down last month after admitting that it had lost thousands of bitcoins to hackers. It was previously the exchange many bitcoin users utilised to carry out transfers with their bitcoins.

Some 750,000 customer bitcoins were stolen, as well as close to 100,000 of MtGox's own bitcoins, in the cyber attack. The number of lost bitcoins has now been reduced from around 650,000 from 850,000 as a result of the new discovery.

Lost bitcoins

One UK resident was left devastated last year when he realised he had thrown away an old hard drive on which his bitcoins were stored. It was believed that the haul – which was probably on a landfill site in Wales – was now worth in excess of £1 million.

Mr Karpeles added that "on March 7th, 2014, MtGox confirmed that an old-format wallet which was used prior to June 2011 held a balance of approximately 200,000 bitcoins" and he explained that the company moved the found bitcoins to offline wallets on March 14th and 15th so that they could not be targeted by hackers.

The value of bitcoin has been notoriously volatile in the last 12 months as the reputation of the virtual currency becomes more solid and countries start to take it more seriously as both a payment method and a currency in its own right.

However, the number of physical stores anywhere in the world that allow bitcoin users to spend their virtual currency is still small.

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