Monday April 15,2013 : BITCOIN TRADING HALTED (Update)
Volatile market prompts a rush of online business that shuts down Mt. Gox
Following a roller coaster month of the Cyprus banking debacle, rocketing Bitcoin value, DDoS attacks and then a huge sell-off of the virtual currency, the principal Bitcoin exchange, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, ceased trading Thursday.
Immediately before the shutdown, the currency dropped over half its value only hours after it had peaked. Worth around a unit price of $20 in January this year, the currency soared in the aftermath of the Cyprus banking crisis, peaking at $266 just hours before plummeting to $100 on Thursday.
Despite a brief recovery to $145, Mt. Gox closed its virtual doors soon thereafter, announcing that the massive sell-off had triggered a three-fold rise in transaction volume that the company's still-being-improved trade engine had not been able to handle.
That was followed on Friday by a resumption of trading, when the currency immediately lost another 35 percent of its value before rebounding to the $135 level, reports The Next Web.
However, after just two hours the site went offline again, this time claiming that it was the target of a significant Distributed Denial of Service attack from unknown entities.
"We are experiencing a stronger than usual DDoS," the Mt. Gox said in a Google+ post. "We are working in it."
Bitcoin has grown in popularity in recent months thanks largely to financial uncertainty in Europe and nascent investor curiosity. But the platform also has been the frequent target of hackers who are allegedly trying to disrupt trade execution to manipulate the currency's value
This is not the first DDoS attack suffered by Mt. Gox – the exchange was the target of a "major" DDoS attack that it said created "its worst trading lag ever" last week.
"Attackers wait until the price of Bitcoins reaches a certain value, sell, destabilize the exchange, wait for everybody to panic-sell their Bitcoins, wait for the price to drop to a certain amount, then stop the attack and start buying as much as they can," the Japan-based exchange said in a statement at the time. "Repeat this two or three times like we saw over the past few days and they profit."