“There was some weakness in the system, and the bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble.”
— Mt. Gox owner and CEO Mark Karpeles, announcing that the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange had filed for bankruptcy and lost hundreds of millions of dollars. The virtual currency exchange closed earlier this week after sufferering massive losses from fraudulent withdrawals. About 750,000 bitcoins owned by others apparently have vanished, along with 100,000 of Mt. Gox’s own bitcoins, for total losses of about $425 million. Mt. Gox also reported debts exceeding $65 million. “That seems impossible to me. It’s just such an astronomical amount of coins to lose,” Australian bitcoin investor William Banks told the Wall Street Journal. At one time, 80 percent of the world’s bitcoin exchanges were routed through Mt. Gox, according to the Journal. Bitcoin supporters have distanced themselves from Mt. Gox, calling it an isolated case and maintaining that the virtual currency remains viable.
At top: Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)