Bitcoin Prices On MtGox Are Going Bananas
Bitcoin prices on MtGox are up about 200% this weekend to more than $300, reaching as high as $349.
The reason appears to be reports that the exchange has begun testing restarting Bitcoin withdrawals. They've been suspended for more than two weeks because of a software glitch in Gox's customer wallets.
The surge comes after MtGox prices briefly dipped below $100 Thursday.
Many in the Bitcoin community still dislike MtGox for their unresponsiveness during the withdrawal suspension — recent protests, though they've apparently been halted by Japanese police, caused the exchange to move offices — and even if withdrawals do resume, MtGox still faces complaints that withdrawals in all denominations, not just Bitcoin, remain slow.
MtGox no longer figures in Coindesk's calculation of the average Bitcoin price, which currently stands at $619.
Bitcoin price swings are highly subject to rumor and speculation, and this is especially on MtGox. So the rally could evaporate with equal force.
Anyway here's the chart:
Mt. Gox's CEO resigns from Bitcoin Foundation
Mark Karpeles, chief executive of Mt. Gox, the embattled Toyko-based bitcoin exchange, resigned on Sunday from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, in the latest blow to the digital currency.
Jinyoung Lee Englund, a spokesperson for the Bitcoin Foundation - a trade group promoting the adoption of the digital currency, confirmed the news and said the resignation was effective immediately.
The resignation follows a number of technical issues, including a massive cyber attack from unknown sources that has been spamming bitcoin exchanges.
Earlier in February, Mt. Gox, the best-known digital marketplace operator, said it is halting withdrawals indefinitely after it detected "unusual activity."
Following the halting, the foundation's chief scientist Gavin Andresen defended the currency and criticized Mt. Gox, saying the problem was with exchange, not Bitcoin.
"The issues that Mt. Gox has been experiencing are due to an unfortunate interaction between Mt. Gox's implementation of their highly customized wallet software, their customer support procedures, and their unpreparedness for transaction malleability, a technical detail that allows changes to the way transactions are identified," Andresen said in a statement on the Foundation's blog on Feb. 10.
Tokyo-based Mt. Gox was a founding member and one of three elected industry representatives on the board of the Bitcoin Foundation.
Mt. Gox was not immediately available to comment on the news, which was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Charles Shrem, another prominent member of the Bitcoin Foundation, resigned earlier this year after being arrested in connection with an alleged drug scheme involving his bitcoin currency exchange.
Being a CEO at bitcoin does not seem to be a job on the top of the list of wanted jobs right now
'Pony' botnet steals bitcoins, digital currencies: Trustwave
Cyber criminals have infected hundreds of thousands of computers with a virus called "Pony" to steal bitcoins and other digital currencies, in the most ambitious cyber attack on virtual money uncovered so far, according to security firm Trustwave.
Trustwave said on Monday that it has found evidence that the operators of a cybercrime ring known as the Pony botnet have stolen some 85 virtual "wallets" that contained bitcoins and other types of digital currencies. The firm said it did not know how much digital currency was contained in the wallets.
"It is the first time we saw such a widespread presence of this type of malware. It was on hundreds of thousands of machines," said Ziv Mador, security research director with Chicago-based Trustwave.
Trustwave said it believes the crime ring is still operating, though it does not know who is running the group. The company said it has disrupted the servers that were controlling machines infected with Pony, but expects the group to launch more attacks on virtual currency users.
A representative for the Bitcoin Foundation, a trade group that promotes adoption of the virtual currency, advised bitcoin users to store their currency offline in a secure location to prevent cyber criminals from stealing them.
"Electronic wallet security continues to improve by leaps and bounds as hardware wallets become available and we start to see software wallets that support multi-signature transactions," said the Bitcoin Foundation's director of public affairs, Jinyoung Lee Englund.
Trustwave's discovery comes after an unrelated cyber attack that spammed bitcoin exchanges earlier this month. That attack prompted at least three online virtual currency traders to halt withdrawals, causing bitcoin's value to plunge 33 percent over three weeks.
Bitcoin is a digital currency sustained by software code written by an unknown programmer or group of programmers. It is not governed by any one company or person, and its value is determined by user demand.
People who buy digital currency can store it in virtual wallets on their own machines or with companies that offer storage and security services.
Mador said digital currency theft is still in its infancy, but that it is likely to grow. He said that digital currency buyers can protect themselves from hackers by using encrypted files.
"Most websites don't encrypt them by default, but you can turn them on," he added.
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox's website down
The website of Mt. Gox appears to be taken down, shortly after six major Bitcoin exchanges released a joint statement distancing themselves from the troubled Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange.
Mt. Gox's homepage was not loading, although no error message appeared. Mt. Gox was not immediately available for comment.
"This tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt.Gox was the result of one company's actions and does not reflect the resilience or value of bitcoin and the digital currency industry," the companies - Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, BTC China, Blockchain and Circle - said in the statement. ()
On Sunday, Mark Karpeles, chief executive of Mt. Gox, resigned from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, in a blow to the digital currency. Mt. Gox had once been the largest exchange handling Bitcoin.
The resignation followed a number of technical issues, including a massive cyber attack from unknown sources that has been spamming bitcoin exchanges.
And now the rest. Currency my ... It was a ponzi from the beginning
My post 65 back in Dec 13. As i said then, "Any old crap". that's exactly what it is.
Apparent Theft at Mt. Gox Shakes Bitcoin World
The most prominent Bitcoin exchange appeared to be on the verge of collapse late Monday, raising questions about the future of a volatile marketplace.
On Monday night, a number of leading Bitcoin companies jointly announced that Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for most of Bitcoin’s existence, was planning to file for bankruptcy after months of technological problems and what appeared to have been a major theft. A document circulating widely in the Bitcoin world said the company had lost 744,000 Bitcoins in a theft that had gone unnoticed for years. That would be about 6 percent of the 12.4 million Bitcoins in circulation.
While Mt. Gox did not respond to numerous requests for comments, and the companies issuing the statement scrambled to determine the exact situation at Mt. Gox, which is based in Japan, the news helped push the price of a single Bitcoin below $500 for the first time since November, when it began a spike that took it above $1,200.
But at the same time that the news about Mt. Gox was emerging, a New York firm announced plans to create an exchange that could draw the world’s largest banks into the virtual currency market for the first time.
The new exchange is being put together by SecondMarket, which rose to fame a few years ago after creating a platform for buying and selling shares of companies like Twitter and Facebook before they went public.
Without the trouble at Mt. Gox, the SecondMarket plans would have been seen as a major boon for virtual currencies, providing a potential entry point into the Bitcoin market for large banks, which have so far avoided virtual currencies as their price has skyrocketed.
Barry Silbert, SecondMarket’s chief executive, said that he had already talked with several banks and financial companies about joining the new exchange, along with financial regulators, and that he hoped to have it in operation this summer.
Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange Down Amid $365 Million Theft Claim
Mt. Gox, the Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange that halted withdrawals this month, went offline as a document surfaced alleging long-term theft of about $365 million in the digital currency.
A document posted online that appeared to be an internal strategy paper said unidentified thieves stole 744,408 Bitcoins from the exchange -- about $365 million at current rates -- and that the theft “went unnoticed for several years.”
“The reality is that Mt. Gox can go bankrupt at any moment, and certainly deserves to as a company,” according to the document.
The document, which outlines plans for leadership changes, re-branding and a possible move to Singapore, was posted online by blogger Ryan Galt. A person briefed on the situation at Mt. Gox, who asked to remain anonymous because the document is private, said he believed it is authentic.
Bitcoin fell 5 percent to $517.71 at 4:48 p.m. London time, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index, which averages exchange prices. That’s down from as high as $1,151 on Dec. 4.
How Mt.Gox went down
Bitcoin skeptics say the digital currency is doomed. They're wrong. But the failure of Mt.Gox shows the agony of an evolving industry without any government oversight and led by tech entrepreneurs with zero financial experience.
The shutdown of Mt.Gox -- one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges -- and the potential loss of more than $350 million worth of bitcoins is the result of abysmal mismanagement at the company.
By its own account, Mt.Gox collected only $380,450 in revenue during most of 2012. The next year, U.S. government agents seized $5 million from its accounts. Such a massive loss would cripple any business, but Mt.Gox remained open in Tokyo, taking people's cash for bitcoins.
Ever since, though, customers noticed Mt.Gox was slow to process transactions. That gave it the aura of a Ponzi scheme. You could join Mt.Gox and give it your money, but cashing out was near impossible.
Things grew worse on Feb. 7, when it halted withdrawals from its accounts. The company's computer programmers hadn't accounted for a quirk in the way Bitcoin works, allowing cyber attackers to dupe Mt.Gox with a scheme resembling receipt fraud. When Mt.Gox discovered it was under attack, it stopped any investors from pulling their money out of their trading platform.
By the time trading at Mt.Gox was halted entirely late Monday, the price of a Bitcoin there had dropped significantly, to $130. Meanwhile it was trading for more than four times that on other exchanges.
The fact that Mt.Gox's management potentially lost all of its customers' deposits to theft is nothing short of gross incompetence. The cyberthieves would have needed to trick Mt.Gox repeatedly -- withdrawing money, faking a receipt and demanding yet another withdrawal. Now imagine doing that for a prolonged period -- unnoticed -- to the tune of millions of dollars and emptying the company's accounts.
The lack of transparency is also astounding. A company with millions of dollars is staying silent about what's going on. At most, it offers the occasional cryptic message assuring customers it's "closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly."
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