Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox says it found 200,000 "forgotten" bitcoins on March 7, a week after filing for bankruptcy protection.
When it filed for protection, the firm said it had lost nearly all the 850,000 bitcoins it held, worth roughly £300m at today's prices, but online sleuths had noticed around 200,000 bitcoins moving through the crypto-currency exchange after the bankruptcy filing.
The exchange, headed by 28-year-old Frenchman Mark Karpeles, said in an announcement on its website today that the bitcoins were found in an old-format online wallet which it had thought no longer held any bitcoins, but which it checked again after its bankruptcy filing.
"On March 7, 2014, MtGox Co., Ltd. confirmed that an old format wallet which was used prior to June 2011 held a balance of approximately 200,000 BTC," the statement said.
It added that it moved the 200,000 bitcoins from online to offline wallets on March 14 to 15 "for security reasons." "These bitcoin movements, including the change in the manner in which these coins were stored, had been reported to the court and the supervisor by counsels," it noted.
Many of Mt. Gox's 127,000 creditors, who feared they had lost their investments when the exchange filed for bankruptcy, are skeptical about what the exchange has said happened to the bitcoins it had.
In its bankruptcy filing, Mt. Gox also said $28m (£17m) was "missing" from its Japanese bank accounts.
On Thursday, a US judge in Chicago overseeing a class action against Mt. Gox revised a previous order, allowing some of the exchange's bitcoin movements to be tracked.
"Today in court we got relief ... specifically to track the 180,000 bitcoins, which we've been monitoring. Hours later, Mt. Gox claimed it "found" these bitcoins ... it appears Mt. Gox realised we were close and decided to acknowledge that it owned these 180,000-200,000 bitcoins," Steven L. Woodrow, a partner at law firm Edelson, told Reuters in emailed comments.