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Bitcoin heist: Exchange website down; bitcoin future in doubt

The bitcoin future is in doubt followin a massive bitcoin heist.
The bitcoin future is in doubt followin a massive bitcoin heist.
Mt. Gox

A massive bitcoin heist may have dealt a debilitating blow to the bitcoin virtual currency, with bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox offline and millions of investment dollars at risk, the Christian Science Monitor reported on Feb. 25.

The bitcoin heist may have gone unnoticed for years, and now Mt. Gox, once the world's largest trading platform for bitcoins, is nothing but a blank page. In addition, the Mt. Gox Twitter account, with more than 28,000 followers, has removed all of its tweets in the wake of the bitcoin heist.

Following the bitcoin heist, all that’s left on the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox website is a terse note to customers, stating, “In light 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. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.”

In addition, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles resigned from the Bitcoin Foundation's board of directors on Sunday, CNN Money reported after the alleged bitcoin heist was revealed.

The bitcoin heist could be a fatal blow for the bitcoin virtual currency amid what had been efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency. Bitcoin investors elsewhere are understandably nervous over the fallout from the bitcoin heist. The bitcoin price was knocked down about 3 percent to $490, its lowest level since November 2013, CNN Money said.

In the bitcoin heist, Mt. Gox allegedly secretly racked up catastrophic losses, Fox News reported. It said that documents purportedly leaked from Mt. Gox and published on the blog of entrepreneur and bitcoin enthusiast Ryan Selkis show that 740,000 bitcoins are missing from Mt. Gox. That potentially translates into hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of losses, depending on the bitcoin’s value.

This bitcoin heist is not the first time the virtual currency has experienced similar problems, the Inquisitr reported. It noted that there have been several other bitcoin heists, largely as a result of hackers using botnets to infect computers in order to pull off their bitcoin heists.