Mt Gox, one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges, has gone offline.
It has reportedly suffered a cyber attack which led to Mt Gox stopping Bitcoin transfers to external addresses on 7 February 2014. A loophole was discovered by thieves enabling them to trick the transaction process into sending double the correct number of Bitcoins. It is reported that more than 740,000 Bitcoins (worth around US $350 million at trading prices on 24 February 2014) are missing from the exchange.
The technical issue left the exchange open to further attacks which consequently slowed down the rate at which coins could be bought and sold.
As of 24 February, the Mt Gox website has been offline with trading suspended and withdrawals frozen. There has been no statement issued from Mt Gox to determine the reasons why it has been taken offline, or when it will be turned on again.
Six other Bitcoin exchanges have released a joint statement distancing themselves from Mt Gox, stating that it should not be considered a reflection of the value of Bitcoin or the digital currency industry.
“This tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt Gox was the result of one company’s actions. As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today. Mt Gox has confirmed its issues in private discussions with other members of the Bitcoin community. There are hundreds of trustworthy and responsible companies involved in Bitcoin. These companies will continue to build the future of money by making Bitcoin more secure and easy to use for consumers and merchants.” – Bitcoin exchanges Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, BTC China, Blockchain and Circle.
The value of Bitcoins fell over 20% to just over US $410 as the news of Mt Gox’s problems became public knowledge.
Source: Various news articles