The popular Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is suspending withdrawals for an unstated period of time in order to perform maintenance. The exchange hopes to resolve withdrawal delays that some users have been complaining about for months now, which have allegedly held up transactions for weeks or longer. It began working to resolve the issues late last month — noting that only a "limited number of users and transactions" were impacted — but it now says that it's necessary to fully halt withdrawals in order to determine what's going wrong.
Mt. Gox is big enough to cause Bitcoin's price to dive on bad news
"To understand the issue thoroughly, the system needs to be in a static state," the company writes in a blog post. Its trading service will continue to perform as usual, but anyone storing bitcoins with Mt. Gox will have to wait. There's no estimate on how long that might be, but Mt. Gox promises a progress update on Monday.
News of the exchange halting withdrawals sent the notoriously volatile Bitcoin into a small nosedive overnight, with its value falling around $120. It's since regained about half of the lost value and is sitting near $730 per bitcoin. This isn't the first time Mt. Gox has had to halt some of its operations — it's previously suspended both conversion to the dollar and regular trading — but it's a clear reminder of Mt. Gox's continued influence over the currency. It was once by far the largest Bitcoin exchange, and while others have risen in popularity since, it's still worrisome for Bitcoin owners that a single exchange's maintenance can cause prices to plummet.