The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Bitcoin trader Kolin Burges, right, of London and American Aaron (only his first name was given) hold protest signs as they conduct a sit-in in front of the office tower housing Mt. Gox in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The website of major Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is offline Tuesday amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft, a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency. The URL of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox was returning a blank page. The disappearance of the site follows the resignation Sunday of Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a group seeking legitimacy for the currency. Burgess said he had picketed the building since Feb. 14 after flying in from London, hoping to get back $320,000 he has tied up with Mt Gox.
Bitcoin trader Kolin Burges, right, of London and American Aaron (only his first name was given) hold protest signs as they conduct a sit-in in front of the office tower housing Mt. Gox in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The website of major Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is offline Tuesday amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft, a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency. The URL of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox was returning a blank page. The disappearance of the site follows the resignation Sunday of Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a group seeking legitimacy for the currency. Burgess said he had picketed the building since Feb. 14 after flying in from London, hoping to get back $320,000 he has tied up with Mt Gox.
(Kaori Hitomi/AP)

Bitcoin's future in doubt as major exchange goes dark

The collapse of a major bitcoin exchange and the apparent disappearance of several hundred million dollars worth of digital coinage have exposed the virtual currency’s security flaws, damaged its credibility and shaken its supporters to the core.

Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, which helped turn the currency into a tradeable commodity and until recently was the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has gone dark after halting all trading late Monday. Depositors have not been able to withdraw funds, and many fear they will never see their money again, amid unconfirmed reports that nearly 750,000 bitcoins have been siphoned from client accounts by cyber-thieves. At current prices, that would represent a loss of more than $360-million (U.S.).