Largest Bitcoin trading platform Mt.Gox shuts down

Utah Software Engineer Mints Physical BitcoinsMt.Gox, the world’s largest trading platform of Bitcoins website was taken offline on Monday. The site has since been put back online but a notice stating that it is closing all transactions for the time being is displayed and rumours of bankruptcy are circulating in cyberspace.

The closing of the exchange put millions of dollars from investors who gamble in Bitcoins at risk and caused widespread panic amongst those who trade in the digital currency. For those who trade, swap or use Bitcoins to buy credits at an online casino or various other accepting online services, the Bitcoin market has shrunk dramatically over the last few days and the future of the currency looks uncertain.

In addition to taking its website down Mt.Gox also deleted all of its tweets, and on Sunday Mark Karpeles the CEO of Mt. Gox resigned from the Bitcoin Foundation’s Board of Directors. The news of Karpeles resignation caused an instant furore in the market and widespread panic amongst Bitcoin traders. The Bitcoin price plummeted by around 3% to $490, its lowest level since November 2013, and with Mt.Gox’s shutdown the market is set to suffer further losses.

Mt.Gox has been plagued by problems since February 2013 when it halted withdrawals due to programmers not realising that there was an exploitable glitch in the system. Mt.Gox realised their error and halted the potential for Bitcoin fraud, but has not, as yet, allowed any investors to remove their money from the trading platform.

An unverified document called “Crisis Strategy Draft” has been circulated online claiming that Mt.Gox’s closing is due to the trading platform losing 744,408 of its users’ Bitcoins, worth an estimated $367 million. Mt.Gox has not commented on this document and is yet to issue a statement explaining their unexpected shutdown.

In the wake of Mt. Gox closure other Bitcoin exchanges have sought to reassure their investors that their investments were safe and have taken a hard line with the violation of trust Mt.Gox displayed. An industry statement was released slamming Mt.Gox ,calling their actions abhorrent and insiders have said that they hope that this was simply a case of weeding out the bad element and that Bitcoin can now continue to flourish.