Investing.com - Bitcoin prices plunged on Friday, after Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was forced to halt all Bitcoin withdrawals due to an "increase in withdrawal traffic."
According to a memo on Mt. Gox''s website, "In order for our team to resolve the withdrawal issue it is necessary for a [temporary] pause on all withdrawal requests to obtain a clear technical view of the current processes. We apologize for the sudden short notice."
It promised an “update” on Monday, February 10, Japan time.
Mt. Gox was once the world''s largest Bitcoin trading exchange, with volume topping 1 million trades a day at its peak. The Bitcoin exchange crown now falls to Slovenia-based BitStamp, which currently processes nearly twice as much daily volume as Mt. Gox.
The second-biggest Bitcoin exchange is BTC-e, which is based in Bulgaria. Mt. Gox is third.
Trading platform SecondMarket plans to start a pilot program to buy and sell Bitcoin, a move it says highlights the need for a major U.S.-based Bitcoin exchange.
“Given the Mt. Gox issue, we decided to experiment with a two-way market,” Chief Executive Barry Silbert said in an email Friday about the company’s pilot program. “There is a clear need for a U.S.-based, regulated, compliant and trustworthy Bitcoin exchange. This could be the first step in that direction,” he said.
The price of a Bitcoin last traded at USD706.30 on BitStamp, down 9.7%, and USD632.90 on Mt.Gox, down 18.6%.
Bitcoin is digital cash for the internet and it is not backed by a government or central bank to regulate or issue it. It can be used to purchase goods and services from stores and online retailers.
Prices of the virtual currency soared to an all-time high of USD1,241.10 on November 29. It was trading at USD100 in early October.
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