BITCOIN EXCHANGE Mt Gox has confirmed the loss of 750,000 Bitcoins, and opened a call centre for people who want to know more about that.
The exchange has endured troubles for most of this year, and last week it filed for bankruptcy on its home turf in Japan.
Mt Gox has been relatively open about what has been happening, while rumours of a theft, a loss, or bad code persisted, and has now come out with a full statement, and something of a solution for all of its users who are still in the dark.
It confirmed rumours of a theft and the number of lost Bitcoins, explaining that it started to become suspicious around the same time everyone else did.
"At the start of February 2014, illegal access through the abuse of a bug in the Bitcoin system resulted in an increase in incomplete Bitcoin transfer transactions and we discovered that there was a possibility that Bitcoins had been illicitly moved through the abuse of this bug," Mt Gox said in a statement from its CEO Mark Karpeles posted on its website.
"As a result of our internal investigation, we found that a large amount of Bitcoins had disappeared. Although the complete extent is not yet known, we found that approximately 750,000 Bitcoins deposited by users and approximately 100,000 Bitcoins belonging to us had disappeared."
Karpeles confirmed that it was a transactions issue that led to the loss, most likely, but added that the exchange has not ruled out third parties and hackers as the culprits.
"Since there are probably a variety of causes including hacking by third parties, we need to investigate a huge amount of transaction reports in order to establish the truth. As of this date, we cannot confirm the exact amount of missing deposit funds and the total amount of Bitcoins which disappeared," he added.
"Once we discovered that Bitcoins had disappeared and the discrepancies between cash funds and deposit balances, we judged that it would be difficult to continue our activities normally and we therefore closed our site."
The plan is to rebuild the website, according to the CEO, while in the meantime Mt Gox has opened a call centre to deal with enquiries. This is open from 10am to 5pm Japanese time.
Karpeles appealed for calm, saying that he hoped that rebuilding Mt Gox would be best for the industry. He added that the openness of rebuilding through the courts "in a legally organized procedure while giving proper explanations" would benefit the "whole Bitcoin community".
He added, "All efforts will now be made to restore the business and recover damages to repay debts to creditors. We hope for the understanding and cooperation of all."
Cooperation does exist in the industry and when news of Mt Gox's woes broke a half dozen Bitcoin outfits joined together to appeal for calm.
"In order to re-establish the trust squandered by the failings of Mt Gox, responsible Bitcoin exchanges are working together and are committed to the future of Bitcoin and the security of all customer funds," they said. µ