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Mt. Gox disappears as Bitcoin community goes into damage control mode

Mt. Gox disappears as Bitcoin community goes into damage control mode

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The embattled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has gone offline, after several organizations from the Bitcoin community released a joint statement distancing themselves from the Tokyo company's troubles. Mt. Gox's website remains inaccessible, and the exchange appears to have deleted its entire Twitter feed.

The joint statement was originally billed as "regarding the insolvency of Mt. Gox," but was later updated to remove that language. A spokesman for the group told Recode, however, that "Mt. Gox has confirmed it will file bankruptcy in private discussions with other members of the bitcoin community." Mt. Gox did not respond to requests for comment from The Verge.

"As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out."

An unverified document purporting to show Mt. Gox's "crisis strategy" alleges that the exchange has lost over 744,000 bitcoins in a theft dating back several years. The theft is said to have been enabled by the malleability bug that caused Mt. Gox to halt all withdrawals earlier in the month, though the document's authenticity cannot yet be confirmed.

"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," read the joint statement, backed by companies including Coinbase, Blockchain, Bitstamp, Kraken, Circle, and BTC China.

"It looks like the company has finally collapsed."

"There are hundreds of trustworthy and responsible companies involved in Bitcoin. These companies will continue to build the future of money by making Bitcoin more secure and easy to use for consumers and merchants.  As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today."

Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles stepped down from the Bitcoin Foundation's board on Sunday, but has otherwise not been heard from in recent days. "It looks like the company has finally collapsed," said Kolin Burges, the Bitcoin trader who started protesting outside Mt. Gox's Tokyo headquarters on February 14th. "The question is whether people will get any of their assets back."

Update: After going blank earlier in the day, Mt. Gox's site is now displaying a brief message notifying its users that it has suspended all transactions. "In the event of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on Mt. Gox's operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users," Mt. Gox writes. "We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly." The exchange had previously only frozen transactions to send bitcoins to external addresses, while leaving the rest of the site operational. The new message seems to imply that Mt. Gox has some intention to reopen transactions eventually, though at this point it's unclear what it'll take for that to happen.