Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Has Vanished; 744K+ Bitcoins Missing
Bitcoin's bad month continues. After two bitcoin exchanges were hit by denial-of-service attacks earlier in the month, halting withdrawals, one of those exchanges has completely shut down – Mt. Gox. According to Reuters, "the website of Mt. Gox suddenly went dark on Tuesday with no explanation, and the company's Tokyo office was empty." Hours after the site was taken offline, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles emailed Reuters, saying that an official announcement would be released "soon-ish," but that hasn't seemed to happen yet.
According to report, there is an unverified document that claims "more than 744,000 bitcoins were 'missing due to malleability-related theft', and noted Mt. Gox had $174 million in liabilities against $32.75 million assets." While that missing amount may only account for roughly six percent of the total bitcoins, it still amounts to around $350 million.
In a joint statement by various bitcoin sites, they state that "this tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt. Gox was the result of one company's abhorrent actions and does not reflect the resilience or value of bitcoin and the digital currency industry." Quite an interesting statement to make when Mt. Gox "handled more transactions than any other [site] in the past month, [amounting to] about 34 percent of activity, according to Bitcoincharts." So how can bitcoin users feel confident with other exchanges if the most active one was apparently a "bad actor that need[ed] to be weeded out"? Either way, this warning comes a bit late for (former) Mt. Gox users.
It'll be interesting to see how bitcoin sites and users react to this news. Bitcoins have already dropped significantly in value from a month ago.