MtGox’s website declares in big bold letters, “trade with confidence on the world’s largest bitcoin exchange!” However, investor confidence has been shaken as MtGox paused all withdrawal requests as they face a technical issue that has users experiencing bitcoin withdrawal delays. The exchange states that it “will resolve this problem as soon as possible and will provide an update on Monday,” Feb. 10.
“In our efforts to resolve the issue being encountered by various bitcoin withdrawals, it was determined that the increase in the flow of withdrawal requests has hindered our efforts on a technical level,” the MtGox team stated in a release on its website. “To understand the issue thoroughly, the system needs to be in a static state.”
While the withdrawals are suspended for the time being, MtGox states that bitcoin trading should commence uninterrupted. “The trading platform will perform as usual for the needs of our customers,” the release says.
“We apologize for the sudden short notice,” stated MtGox. “All bitcoin withdrawal requests will be on pause, and the withdrawals in the system will be returned to your MtGox wallet and can be reinitiated once the issue is resolved.”
The withdrawal suspension comes at an inopportune time for the site’s customers. Bitcoin has enjoyed a state of relative price stability over the last month, with only minor rises and falls for the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency. However, starting on Feb. 6, the price started falling across multiple bitcoin exchanges. At midnight on Thursday the median price on MtGox was just shy of $900. In the next 36 hours the price dropped to $670, before climbing back to just north of $760, where it sits as of writing.
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BTC-e, another bitcoin exchange, experienced the same crash, but to a lesser extent. BTC-e’s median price has hovered around $800 for the last 10 days, but on midnight of Feb. 6 the price took the same nosedive, dropping to a low of $700 before pulling out of the crash at 11 am Feb. 7. BTC-e’s price has climbed back nearly 50 percent of the loss and sits at $745 as of writing.
Perhaps coincidentally, the price crash corresponds to the removal of the last bitcoin wallet on Apple’s App Store. Blockchain.info announced yesterday that Apple had pulled their digital wallet app off of the iOS App Store citing an “unresolved issue.” Blockchain was quick to say that although the reason for the removal was unclear, they believed that the “actions by Apple once again demonstrate the anti-competitive and capricious nature of the App Store policies that are clearly focused on preserving Apple’s monopoly on payments rather than based on any consideration of the needs and desires of their users.”
Whether the collapse of relative stability is due to Apple’s actions is unclear. Also, unclear is how long this unsteadiness will last. Previous crashes, like the Dec. 5 crash caused by China’s denial of the virtual currency, have still yet to recover. In early December prices for bitcoin fell from $1245, an all-time high, to below $600 in a two week period.
“We deeply apologize for the inconvenience caused, and thank you for your kind support and considerations,” MtGox said, finalizing their statement.