News / Economy

Investors Worried After Largest Bitcoin Exchange Goes Dark

FILE - Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, holds a 25 Bitcoin token at his shop in Sandy, Utah.
FILE - Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, holds a 25 Bitcoin token at his shop in Sandy, Utah.
David Byrd
Japanese officials are studying ways to regulate the virtual currency Bitcoin after a prominent Tokyo-based trading house shut down suddenly on Tuesday. The unexpected closure of the Mt. Gox exchange is the latest setback in the currency’s attempts to gain worldwide acceptance.
 
In a packed news conference, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said authorities - including the Japanese Financial Services Agency, Finance Ministry and the police - are looking into Bitcoin trading in Japan.
 
“Regarding the concerned issue, I am aware that the related ministries, such as the Financial Services Agency, the Economic Ministry and the Finance Ministry, are gathering information. If necessary, I believe they will act on this once they have the grasp of the situation. But at this point, they are still gathering more facts and information,” said Suga.
 
The sudden disappearance of Mt. Gox - once one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges - has dealt a blow to the credibility of the virtual currency.  Earlier this month, Mt. Gox imposed a ban on withdrawals. On Sunday, CEO Mark Karpeles resigned from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, which seeks wider acceptance of the currency.  Tuesday, the Mt. Gox website was blank, with only a brief statement to investors.
 
Reports emerged that the company had lost more than 750,000 Bitcoins due to what was called transaction malleability. Hackers were able to discover that they could track Mt. Gox’s software by creating a Bitcoin transaction and then changing its identifying codes. Funds were taken from Mt. Gox, but because its computers were looking for the old identifying code, the losses went unnoticed.
 
Several other Bitcoin exchanges issued statements Tuesday that said they are working to reestablish the currency’s credibility. 
 
Nonetheless, Bitcoin’s future remains questionable.  Emily Spaven, the Managing Editor of Coin Desk, told the Associated Press that Mt. Gox’s failure will probably lead to more government oversight of the virtual currency.
 
“I think what we’ll see from this is that governments will try and enforce some kind of regulation because, as we’ve discovered, there’s around $350 million worth of bitcoins that have been stolen.  So that’s a lot of money to go missing, so I’m pretty sure that governments will try and step in to protect their citizens from suffering something like this again,” said Spaven.
 
Moshe Cohen, an Assistant Professor of Finance and Economics at the Columbia Business School, told AP that this incident could have one of two results for Bitcoin.
 
“One of two things will happen: either the Bitcoin community will convince us that it is a one off, and a new form of maybe partially regulated exchange can solve these problems and take the good and get rid of the bad, or people will start losing faith,” said Cohen.
 
Several large firms- including Overstock.com, Zynga, the online retailer TigerDirect and the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento King’s team - have announced they will accept Bitcoins. Billionaire Richard Branson has announced his Virgin Galactic will accept Bitcoin for space flights.
 
As of this writing, Bitcoin’s value was nearly back to where it was when the Mt. Gox crisis began. It may be that Mt. Gox’s will help Bitcoin in the long run by eliminating an unsound player from the virtual currency game.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9238
JPY
USD
119.51
GBP
USD
0.6614
CAD
USD
1.2119
INR
USD
63.562

Rates may not be current.