If you have invested in Bitcoin, then your week is about to get a little bit worse. One of the world’s largest Bitcoin currency exchanges, Mt. Gox, appears to be dead after its website began showing a blank page. Meanwhile, a leaked document claims that at least US$375 million worth of Bitcoins may have been stolen.
The document published by TwoBitIdiot, titled “Crisis Strategy Draft” has suggested that Mt. Gox “can go bankrupt at any moment”. It also claims that the “transaction malleability” bug, which it said was the reason why it closed all withdrawals, may have resulted in at least 744,408 Bitcoins being stolen – or around US$375 million at today’s exchange rate, according to Matt Vukas.
“The truth, it turns out, is that the damage [from the bug] had already been done,” the report said, noting that the theft went unnoticed for several years.
According to the document, the strategy to “avoid a chaotic situation” includes a major rebrand, “resetting” its social media profiles, and shutting down the main website today. While the rebrand has not been announced, it has cleared its Twitter feed, and – as stated above – the website is indeed down.
It should be noted that this document’s authenticity has not been confirmed by Mt. Gox.
In light of the closure of Mt. Gox, several Bitcoin companies issued a joint statement that criticised the exchange for “this tragic violation of the trust of users”, while reassuring that they are working to restore the consumer trust in the cryptocurrency.
“As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today,” the companies – which include Coinbase, Bitstamp, and BTC China – said.
“We are confident, however, that strong Bitcoin companies, led by highly competent teams and backed by credible investors, will continue to thrive, and to fulfill the promise that bitcoin offers as the future of payment in the Internet age.”
“In order to re-establish the trust squandered by the failings of Mt. Gox, responsible bitcoin exchanges are working together and are committed to the future of bitcoin and the security of all customer funds. As part of the effort to re-assure customers, the following services will be coordinating efforts over the coming days to publicly reassure customers and the general public that all funds continue to be held in a safe and secure manner.”
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