What was once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday. Mt. Gox stopped trading during its regular operating hours. Its chief executive said that they were at “a turning point.” This raised concerns among many Bitcoin enthusiasts and critics alike about the future of the unregulated virtual currency.
The company’s Tokyo office was empty as the website died. A handful of protesters gathered outside of the building, saying that they had lost money in the currency.
It was shortly after this that Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles told Reuters “We should have an official announcement ready soon-ish. We are currently at a turning point for the business. I can’t tell much more for now as this also involves other parties.”
He neither gave further details about the company, nor about his whereabouts.
A document circulating on the Internet claims that more than 744,000 bitcoins were “missing due to malleability-related theft”. It noted that Mt. Gox had $174 million in liabilities against $32.75 million in assets.
If the document is accurate, that means approximately 6% of the 12.4 million Bitcoins minted are missing.
Bitcoin released the following statement on their website, saying, “In the event of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.”
(Article by M.B. David; image via Bitcoin Exchange)