The “MtGox” bitcoin exchange site that handled a vast majority of bitcoin transactions is now unavailable at best.
More likely, money at Mt. Gox has vanished by fraud.
Yesterday, Reuters reported Mt. Gox’s CEO resigns from Bitcoin Foundation.
Today the Wall Street Journal notes Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox’s Website Appears to Have Been Deleted
The website of embattled bitcoin exchange platform Mt. Gox was unavailable Tuesday and appeared to have been deleted.
Attempts to reach the Mt. Gox homepage yield an answer from the server but display no data, indicating the server is functioning but that the site has no content.
The Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange has frozen bitcoin withdrawals since the beginning of February, stoking fears of bankruptcy from its investors and those in the broader bitcoin community.
Value of MtGox Bitcoins Plummets to $135
Also consider MtGox bitcoin plunges as website disappears
The website of Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange MtGox went down on Tuesday after the value of the virtual unit sank to about a quarter of that on other platforms and Japanese regulators said they were unable to step in.
Visitors to the http://www.mtgox.com domain got a blank page when they tried to log on, more than two weeks after the firm suspended cash withdrawals as claims swirled of a bug in the software underpinning bitcoin.
Consternation has grown since MtGox stopped processing external transactions on February 7, claiming there was a problem with the program that powers the currency, and allows it to be transferred between users or swapped for goods and services.
The value of the unit on the exchange has gone into freefall since then. Around midday on Tuesday, a bitcoin was worth $135, compared with the $522 quoted by the CoinDesk bitcoin price index, which tracks the price of the currency on major exchanges.
In January a bitcoin was worth more than $900 at MtGox, one of the world’s oldest exchanges for the unit.
MtGox, which has not responded to repeated AFP requests for comment, issued a statement last week saying it had moved its headquarters within Tokyo due to “security problems” and was still working on “re-initiating bitcoin withdrawals”.
It did not give details of the security problems.
“The move, combined with some other security and technical challenges, pushed back our progress,” the firm said Thursday in their most recent public statement.
Earlier this month, the company brought down its system and stopped processing client requests to withdraw money held at its “wallet”, citing a problem with the technology.
Problem with technology or a problem with fraud? I strongly suspect the latter.
Rise and Collapse of Bitcoin
Bitcoin rose from pennies to over $1200. But that was only good if you collected it.
Bitcoin Wisdom has some live charts. Here is the Mt. Gox exchange.
It is quite possible that Mt. Gox bitcoins are nearly worthless. If so, some paper millionaires lost it all.
I will also toss out another idea that I have not seen discussed: The bitcoins are still at Mt. Gox, and people are panic selling to fraud perpetrators who purposely shut down the site to induce a panic.
Either way, it’s a mess.
I was never at ease with the idea of bitcoins, and this fiasco certainly makes me happy I am not involved with Mt. Gox.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock