Mt Gox, one of the world’s longest running and most respected bitcoin exchanges disappeared from the web last week, with a single message replacing its usual bustling site and all its tweets deleted. Now we know that the site has gone belly up, but why? Mostly because it lost over 750,000 of customer bitcoins.
Even at today’s somewhat deflated bitcoin prices (though they are starting to show some signs of recovery), that equates to over $400 million (£240 million) and doesn’t even include the 100,000+ bitcoins that the Mt Gox CEO owned that were also stolen. Alongside Mt Gox, he’s also filed for personal bankruptcy protection.
Ongoing both Mt Gox and Japanese authorities are said to be looking into the theft of so many coins, though with hacks and heists in the past seeing little in the way of arrests, it seems unlikely that anyone will find them. They’re most likely long gone and laundered multiple times by now.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Mt Gox users are out of luck entirely. The company did have impressive financial holdings in traditional banking, though in the BBC coverage, there’s no mention of a payout to those negatively effected by the shut down.
Visiting the Mt Gox site now just returns a blank page with a notice of domain suspension. Ongoing, a call centre has been set up to answer customer questions.
In the UK however, bitcoins are set to receive an official notification by HMRC over taxation, with all expectations pointing to it being treated like any other currency – whether that will further legitimise it remains to be seen.
KitGuru Says: Really awful luck for those that had many coins stored with Mt Gox. Here’s hoping no KitGuru readers were hit too hard in the take down.