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A Bitcoin Exchange Goes for Respectability

Mark Karpeles, CEO of Tibanne Co. (right), works at his desk in the office operating the Mt. Gox K.K. bitcoin exchange in Tokyo
Mark Karpeles, CEO of Tibanne Co. (right), works at his desk in the office operating the Mt. Gox K.K. bitcoin exchange in TokyoPhotograph by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Mt. Gox, the best-known Bitcoin exchange, is making an effort to go respectable. On Thursday the Tokyo-based exchange announced the introduction of user verification for currency deposits and withdrawals—that excludes deposits and withdrawals of Bitcoin itself, but it does mean those spending dollars or euros or whatever to buy Bitcoin or sell it may now be logged.

Is this a bad thing? Some Bitcoin fans would argue it is—much of the attraction of the crypto-currency is its anonymity of use. That hasn’t disappeared in the case of Mt. Gox (the nature of the Bitcoin system precludes such a possibility, anyway), but the anonymity of ownership has now been diminished for many, if not most, users buying into the system or cashing out from this point on.