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World’s largest Bitcoin exchange goes dark

Rumors swirl that Mt. Gox has lost millions of its users’ dollars

Jim Kerr is Alberta Venture's web editor. Get in touch with him at jkerr@albertaventure.com.

Feb 25, 2014

by Jim Kerr

Bitcoin investors around the world are a nervous bunch this week, at least those with money tied up on the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.

Mt. Gox, once the largest trading platform of its kind, was taken offline on Monday night in the latest of a long list of problems for the exchange. CNN Money reports the issues began when hackers were able to record fake transactions using a bitcoin design flaw that Mt. Gox programmers overlooked, causing the company to halt withdrawals on February 7.

According to a document being circulated online, Mt. Gox may have lost 744,408 of its users’ bitcoins, which is equal to about $367 million.

Over the past few days, the company has deleted all of its tweets and CEO Mark Karpeles has resigned from the Bitcoin Foundation’s board of directors. For those investors wondering about their bitcoins, all is quiet on the Mt. Gox front for now.

Is this the beginning of the end for bitcoin though? Far from it, say some.

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Evan Rose, the president of bitcoin ATM company Genesis, says this just shows that the currency is maturing. Rose told CNN, “The people running the systems right now are not necessarily business men. For the most part, they’re people who came into this digital project without grasping the value or risk of it. The ecosystem is maturing, but it’s a little scary for everyone involved.”

Do you invest in bitcoins? Why or why not? Tweet us at @AlbertaVenture.

Click here to read our May 2013 feature, “A Bitcoin for your Thoughts”

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