The "messages" part doesn't refer to pushing anything into the blockchain, just, in a nutshell it is a recently added feature to the client that allows them to concretely prove they possess the BTC they have without having to transact with any of it. The proof comes in the form of a code they can publish. For example, by publishing the following code, I have just proven possession of about 280 BTC in the most certain way possible by anyone who knows what they're doing, short of actually sending them the BTC:
bitcoind verifymessage 1DFPXfDRkJm56w96kKbncNDNxdbtqKMG6t HLAAjif4dfgCBYqMsQEKqeoTlUYzZfIZDsc0KrJjyO1ReVMut9dpaRyVt5gDakKpfDAlTit1PPPRQ4jaEd0K3mQ= "Mike Caldwell"
I was not aware of that! I will have to re-consider my position that BTC balances on financial statements are unauditable. Heh, maybe I
learned something from this thread...
I think a more valid response is screw the amount of bitcoins. They are virtual and are essentially worthless. The real problem Gox has is fiat liquidity and that should be perfectly tangible and easily provable.
Gox has little interest in bitcoins. It's merely a moneychanger. The question is where is the money going as it certainly isn't coming out.
It's much more likely behind the scenese Gox is stacking the deck and "buying" coins themselves and driving the price as it would suit them to make it go ever higher and of course then they would be the ones to profit by selectively selling and actually being able to cash out while screwing everyone else over.
It's just like any money laundering scheme. Follow the money.
How about just posting some financials. Anyone can go through Gox history and figure out the float and what has gone in and out and be able to see if anything nefarious has been going on.
And as promised we will give these document verified by third parties auditors, when? I am not sure, but we will.
Kudos to you for making this commitment. If I may make a suggestion: the stuff of most interest to the community is on your balance sheet and statement of cash flows...do your best to publish info from those documents. If you're hesitant about publishing absolute figures, consider using simple ratios/KPIs. I think a simple ratio expressing total btc/customer btc would go a long LONG way to instilling confidence in the community (as casascius has suggested).
I'd also throw out my opinion that expecting MtGox to provide audited figures of any kind more than once a year is unreasonable (at least until they grow s'more)