CEO of American Bitcoin exchange found dead at her Singapore home

The death of Autumn Radtke is the latest piece of bad news to hit the crisis-ridden bitcoin currency following the collapse of the Japanese-based Mt Gox exchange last week after $400m went missing and the closure of the Flexcoin bank yesterday in Canada after computer hackers robbed $600,000.

First Meta offers an exchange where users can buy and sell virtual currencies such as the troubled bitcoin.

Forbes magazine reported in 2012 that the company received $466,000 in funding from Sunnyvale, California-based business accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center and Singapore’s National Research Foundation.

On February 10, Radtke posted a link to an essay entitled ‘The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship’ and commented obliquely that ‘Everything has it’s price’.

In comments posted on the day her death was announced, her friend Krystal Choo, who founded the online travel firm ZipTrip, said that ‘This exact post has been killing me. I should have known in a way she was reaching out. I failed her.’Calling her ‘my first friend in LA’, Stone said that Radtke took her ‘under her wing’ as she recalled spending time with the bitcoin entrepreneur in Singapore.

autumn-radtke

The collapse of the major bitcoin exchange Mt.

Indeed as Bitcoin lurched from one disaster to another, on Wednesday, Flexcoin, a Canada-based bitcoin bank, said it was closing down after losing bitcoins worth about $600,000 to a hacker attack enabled by flaws in its software code.Flexcoin said in a message on its website that all 896 bitcoins stored online were stolen on Sunday.

Gox, once the world’s dominant bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan and said it may have lost some 850,000 bitcoins worth $400m due to hacking.

The collapse followed the resignation Sunday of CEO Mark Karpeles, known as the ‘French Marck Zuckerberg’ from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a group seeking wider use of the exotic currency.

Since its creation in 2009, bitcoin has become popular among tech enthusiasts, libertarians and risk-seeking investors because it allows people to make one-to-one transactions, buy goods and services and exchange money across borders without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties.

For various technical reasons, it’s hard to know just how many people worldwide own bitcoins, but the currency attracted outsize media attention and the fascination of millions as an increasing number of large retailers such as Overstock.com began to accept it.Speculative investors have jumped into the bitcoin fray, too, sending the currency’s value fluctuating wildly in recent months.

As soon as Mt Gox was set up, it appears it fell victim to one of the largest bank heists ever with 1 out of every 20 Bitcoins in the world vanishing.

The loss is a giant setback to the currency’s image because its backers have promoted Bitcoin as safe from counterfeit and theft.Karpeles and his staff have faced protests outside their offices and the CEO has personally faced death threats.The threats were driven by fears he could have even run off with the money as he had made no public appearance since the exchange shut down.

One user wrote on a Bitcoin forum ‘pay to have Mark Karpeles killed’.



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