back to article MtGox has VANISHED. So where have all the Bitcoins gone?

Almost one in 10 of the world's Bitcoins disappeared during the collapse of MtGox, it has been claimed. The allegations were made in what was purported to be an "internal MtGox crisis presentation". The sloppily written briefing claimed that 744,408 Bitcoin were stolen over a period of several years. There are currently about …

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  1. BongoJoe
    Holmes

    Face meet Palm

    This pretend currency is starting to make my Botswana Dollars look comparatively robust.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Not worth a Doge Continental!

      It's a like honest-to-god fractional banking system!

      Even without the "unlimited fiat money via the printing pressdatabase updates and 'free market operations'" territory.

      Just add staid marble columns at the entrance.

    2. Anomalous Cowturd
      Megaphone

      Told you so!

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2117533

    3. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Face meet Palm

      Well Bongo aren't you the ignorant one if you brought Botswana Dollars.

      Botswana's currency is the Pula and Tebe (meaning rain & shield respectively). Very stable currency backed by real deposits in various world banks and have diamond and cattle exports underpinning it. They have the best democratic government of any African state and less corruption than most western European states. Since independence from UK back in the 1960s it's sustained growth, stability and good governance have made it the shining light in Africa.

      If you want a 'safe' haven for you bitcoins then I would recommend the Zimbobwe Dollar as it's made from real paper and you can at least wipe your arse with it or use it as a fire lighter.

      1. David Cantrell

        Re: Face meet Palm

        Currency doesn't make very good arse-wipe because it's the wrong sort of paper. Been there, done that, got the smeary mess. Sorry to disappoint you :-)

      2. Hungry Sean
        Pint

        Re: Face meet Palm @scroticus canis

        This is why I read the reg comments. Thanks for the highly informative and entertaining flame-- I would never have known that Botswana's economy and political situation are so strong. Maybe I should look into converting my US dollars into Pula and Tebe.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Face meet Palm @scroticus canis

          "Maybe I should look into converting my US dollars into Pula and Tebe."

          Maybe. The weather is great, too.

          Local custom dictates wealth is measured in head of cattle owned, but Pula are certainly less likely to die on you in a drought.

    4. TitterYeNot

      Re: Face meet Palm

      "This pretend currency is starting to make my Botswana Dollars look comparatively robust."

      I don't know about Botswana dollars - this pretend currency makes me feel absolutely loaded just by getting the Monopoly board out...

    5. Psyx

      Re: Face meet Palm

      "This pretend currency is starting to make my Botswana Dollars look comparatively robust."

      Botswana uses 'Pula' for currency, not dollars.

      And it's pretty robust, what with all that coal and diamonds the place is sitting on.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Face meet Palm

        Apologies for the Zimbabew/Botswana mis-type.

        I do have a few billion Zimbabwe dollars, for interest's sake. And the confusion with Botswana; well, just say that I have had problems in the not too distant past with chums of the esteemed leader of Botswana and that clearly wasn't tucked away at the back of my head as I had wished.

        So, as per the comment title really.

    6. Mark .

      Re: Face meet Palm

      Yes, the price has now crashed to pennies like everyone predicted. Oh wait, no it hasn't.

      (I can tear up paper money. The non-robust part of Bitcoin is trusting some 3rd party with all your Bitcoin when it's not regulated like banks are. Mt Gox can do what it likes, that doesn't cause my Bitcoin to disappear.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The bit I like:

    "This person is citing a supposed "leaked document" that looks like it was written by a six year old running a lemonade stand."

    As if that means it can't be anybody at MtGox????

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      As if, in the middle of a crisis, you waste several hours making your document look as first rate as possible, just in case it's leaked.

      1. Dave Bell

        It's not a simple binary choice. Some of us, even under stress, can write better than others. And it doesn't need "several hours", if you have had a decent education.

        But does this anonymous source have to be a native English-speaker?

        1. Tom 13

          Re: does this anonymous source have to be a native English-speaker?

          That question is less interesting than you might initially think. In a crisis situation a non-native speaker would draft in his native language and then either have someone translate it for him or use an online translator. In the first case you'd wind up with something decent. In the second case the grammar and spelling would be good, its just the word choices which would throw you. I'm not about to try to chase the link to the alleged document from work, but based on the descriptions here, neither of those sound like the case. They make it sound akin to an old Nigeria scam email (the new ones have at least discovered spell checkers).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: supposed "leaked document"

      A friend told me he saw on 4chan that it was actually written by a very intelligent Siberian Husky.

    3. DMT

      Lemonade Stand

      If only it were a banana stand. There's always money in that.

  3. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Happy

    This person is citing a supposed "leaked document" that looks like it was written by a six year old running a lemonade stand. New sources have quote it without valid reason too [sic].

    Oh Internet. What would we do without your endless opportunities for irony?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "New sources have quote it without valid reason too [sic]"

      Technically, that might not be grammatically incorrect - it might just be incredibly awkward. If the author meant to say, "previously unavailable sources have also quoted it", then it would be correct.

      If, however, the author meant to say, "Mainstream media outlets have quoted it without due diligence", then it's totally ironic.

      1. Steve Knox Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Possible interpretations

        1. "New sources have quoted it without valid reason, too."

        2. "New sources have quoted it without valid reason."

        3. "News sources have quoted it without valid reason, too."

        4. "News sources have quoted it without valid reason."

        In each case, "have quoted" is correct. "Have quote" is not a valid verb form.

        If "too" was the intended word, it should have been preceded by a comma if for no other reason than clarity. If "to" was intended, it is an extraneous preposition; the meaning is clearer without it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Possible interpretations

          "New sources[,] have [them] quote it without valid reason too."

          New interpretation courtesy of your friendly resident conspiracy theorist. :-)

        2. cortland

          Re: Possible interpretations

          Have quote, will travail... and Sam Spade.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's ok ...

    I just found some down the back of the sofa.

    (Mind you, I'd be in bits of this happened to me, to coin a phrase.)

  5. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Joke

    It's a Buyout.

    The new owner stumped up a massive 744,408 BTC...

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: It's a Buyout.

      It's a deposit of 744,408 BTC- unfortunately they were faulty when mined and had a -ve sign...

  6. Lost In Clouds of Data
    FAIL

    And yet we're still to believe...

    ...that the security issues were unique to Mt Gox and that ALL the other exchanges out there are fireproof?

    Heaven's above people, even with PCI compliance dictating our every move in the US credit card industry we STILL get regular attacks and thefts from the servers. Why on earth would anyone trust that a two-bit(coin) operation can be more secure than any of the others? Do they go through regular penetration testing, audits, etc?

    I'm sorry but from what I can see here, each and every Bitcoin et al exchange out there is simply another Mt Gox failure waiting to be announced. If the thefts from Mt Gox had been going on for years, how do we know if the same isn't true anywhere else?

    ElReg: Please - we need a new "EpicFail" Icon for when "Fail" just isn't epic enough...

    1. cyclical

      Re: And yet we're still to believe...

      My understanding the the 'hack' relied on the fact that MtGOX had a number of automated scripts for resending failed transactions, and for transferring money from their cold storage wallet to their internet attached wallet, and absolutely no internal audit procedures to check balances. It's like someone asking their bank for £100, then phoning someone at the branch, saying 'I didn't get my money' using a different funny accent each time, and the bank gives them another £100 because there are no checks in place and it SOUNDS like a different person - repeat over several years until the vaults are bare.

      Absolutely smacks of bad internal procedures, no consulting with beancounters, and s**tty coding practice. One would hope that at least one or two of the other exchanges would have more competence that Magic the Gathering Online Exchange.

      Not that it makes bitcoin any less of a electricity wasting global ponzi scheme.

      1. Lost In Clouds of Data

        Re: And yet we're still to believe...

        Sadly, having worked in the industry AND having to deal with the after the effects of very nice hack job that involved a very creative usage of reverse credits that took quite some time to discover and gobs of $ to prevent in the future, I know all too well just how hard it is to mitigate yourself from being a target.

        And that was after we'd been audited by the good folks at PCI and given a clean bill of health.

        So, here we have BitCoin and it's ilk which, because of its very design, makes it almost impossible to ascertain what's good and what's not. Like I say I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the good ship SS-Bittanic is heading for a massive crash.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: And yet we're still to believe...

          Like I say I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the good ship SS-Bittanic is heading for a massive crash.

          I think you've got that a bit wrong. But with just a bit of re-ordering, we should be able to correct it.

          The SS-Bittanic has in fact hit the iceberg (and not just the tip of it). Now it's just a question of how long the pumps can keep up with the incoming deluge. And who gets to the lifeboats first - and therefore who there isn't room for, and gets to go down with the ship.

          Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee? I suspect that many people would have said yes 10 years ago. Not many would now. Now add in the far smaller resources that BitCoin exchanges have - which means they're not really equipped to fight off the hackers, let alone their own staff.

          I guess this is what happens when amateur hour hits the big time - and there's real money involved.

          I saw a comment from someone recently who said better to get ripped off in EVE Online, at least that's got spaceships.

          1. sisk Silver badge

            Re: And yet we're still to believe...

            Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee?

            I don't trust them even WITH the government deposit guarantee, but in the modern world it's pretty hard to get by without at the very least a prepaid debit card, which is, of course, just a checking account that you don't have checks for.

            Do I trust the exchanges? Let's put it this way: I have about $4 worth of cryptocurrency, most of it in litecoins. (that was yesterday. It's probably worth less today). That's the most I've ever had. Would I be upset if it all went missing? Probably. Would I really be affected? No.

            1. Where not exists

              Re: And yet we're still to believe...

              "I don't trust them even WITH the government deposit guarantee"

              Sounds like an RBS customer.

          2. Lost In Clouds of Data
            Facepalm

            Re: And yet we're still to believe...

            I saw a comment from someone recently who said better to get ripped off in EVE Online, at least that's got spaceships.

            A few less now than there were a month ago... Kinda like Mt Gox actually...

            So that's it! - someone over there forgot to pay the bloody rent....

          3. Mark .

            Re: And yet we're still to believe...

            "Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee?"

            So you don't have any money/investments beyond what is in a Government-guaranteed bank account?

            Of course ones life savings should be kept safe, but that doesn't mean people don't have money in less safe places, whether it's convenience (your cash in your wallet isn't Government-backed either) or potential of better returns.

          4. Tom 13

            Re: Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee?

            Actually I would be more likely to, although I'd also be prone to do more checking about how the bank was managed. And if it was in business for a good period of time I wouldn't have a problem with it. In fact, part of the problem with the current government guarantee is precisely that it does remove the moral hazard of all the banks engaging in fiscally unsound but legal transactions.

        2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: And yet we're still to believe...

          "I know all too well just how hard it is to mitigate yourself from being a target."

          Quite a disproportionate struggle. Defenders must cover all the possibilities, whereas attackers have to find just one to succeed.

          Then again, getting away with it is the hardest part. That does level the field somewhat.

      2. Irongut

        electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

        Now there's a thought, maybe BitCoin was secretly started by the electricity companies to sell more electricity?

        1. Kunari

          Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

          Nah, but I do believe it was started as a ponzi scheme, just not by the electric companies.

        2. Mark .

          Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

          I love all these people complaining about wasting electricity, whilst using electricity-guzzling computers to do so. It's like the people who get on a high horse thinking they're saving the planet by turning off lights for one hour.

          One might as well criticise paper money, because of having to cut down trees.

          1. sisk Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

            One might as well criticise paper money, because of having to cut down trees.

            Technically I don't think there's any currency in the world that's still printed on paper. They all use some sort of paper-like fabric (the US dollar is printed on something akin to denim for example) or plastic (like the Austrailian dollar).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Coat

              Re: electricity wasting global ponzi scheme

              " (the US dollar is printed on something akin to denim for example)"

              I've been wondering why people keep saying it's pants...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And yet we're still to believe...

        If the excuse for the theft and bankruptcy is sufficiently weak, based as it is on a complete lack of basic accounting controls, this seems more like a smoking gun pointing to a deliberate insider job than management incompetence.

        The fact there was no outside reporting for so long concerning their internal accounting imbalance seems to point towards the kind of insider collusion, as occurred at BCCI .

  7. A J Stiles

    Only confirms what I have said all along

    There is exactly *one* hard currency in the Universe: the Joule.

    Everything else that we think is a value token, only has value by mutual agreement.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

      Unfortunately, joules are hard to transport, hoard or even exchange.

      So it's not money nor currency.

      You need a solid commodity for that.

      Now, if the LHC produced stable microscopic black holes with charge....

      1. gibman70

        Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

        'You need a solid commodity for that'

        Like Bitcoin, for example?

        *chortle*

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

          No, but any metal that doesn't rust away immediately, is not radioactive and overly toxic and is solid at room temperature will do. The rarer, the "more expensive".

          This is a pretty old trick and not hard to grasp.

          In a Robinson Crusoe + Friday scenario, fish for milliday transaction or coconuts are fine too.

      2. squigbobble

        Re: Only confirms what I have said all along

        http://www.joulecoin.org/

        Close enough?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: joules are hard to transport, hoard or even exchange.

        Hmm. Look up in the sky and they'll be showering down on you from distances of perhaps 8 light minutes during the day, and at night in detectable quantities from hundreds of light years away (or 13bn ly, if you have a HubbleST to catch them).

        You can even convert them into chemical energy and store them as a liquid or a solid to ship about (or hoard) as you like. Sometimes I even hoard mine in small batteries in personal electronics, or in larger quantities in the fuel tank of cars. I even store Joules in my food cupboards, and keep some under my skin as both insulation and in case of famine. Some Joules even come out of special wires that have been laid to my house!

        So, no: joules are not so hard to transport, hoard or exchange.

  8. Kunari

    I've always thought this "crypto-currency" fad would end in theft. Too bad I didn't sign up and cash in early.

  9. GarethB

    Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

    Were people really that stupid?

    Its an exchange so you put money in, exchange it for bitcoins and then take them out as soon as you can. If you have a large transactions then break them up into smaller ones and let one complete before starting another.

    Leaving money in there was always asking for trouble. http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2014/02/schadenfreude-1.html gives a good summary.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

      You can say the same thing about a bank.

      A banking account with a positive amount is just a very risky loan given to the bank...

      1. GarethB

        Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

        Yes but at least with a bank account if the bank goes bust the first 50K or whatever is covered by the state.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

          Yes but at least with a bank account if the bank goes bust the first 50K or whatever is covered by the state.

          It's not covered by the state, it's covered by everyone through inflation (i.e. a tax). While the people who got rich through fractional reserve banking ... stay rich.

          Or it could be that like in Cyprus, your money suddenly is just gone by decree. Works too.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

            A banking account with a positive amount is just a very risky loan given to the bank...

            Destroy all Monsters,

            Not quite. A bank account balance (liability) is backed up by a corresponding bank loan (asset) on the banks' books. Plus a UK bank has at least 7% of it's total liabilities in its own assets - and the ability to borrow against this with the Central Bank.

            If that all fails, then there's the bank guarantee.

            You mention Cyprus. But no-one in Cyprus lost any amount of cash less than the €100k (or was it €80k) deposit guarantee. They did discuss doing it, but didn't.

            Even there, you can lower that tiny risk, by sticking your money in a bank in a country whose government is able to bail out its own banks without help. The problem for Cyprus was it had too many bank desposits for the size of its economy, and required a bail-out from the EU/IMF/ECB. Who were fucking about, and trying to make up an economic policy that would get Angela Merkel re-elected, rather than one that actually worked.

        2. gibman70

          Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

          Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

          Fixed that for you.

      2. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

        >A banking account with a positive amount is just a very risky loan given to the bank...

        Banks have liquidity reserves of <10% of deposits. Usually a lot less.

        In the UK, reserves are voluntary. Banks can define their own liquidity ratio. Reserves can and do become negative.

        What about capital requirements? 7% core, 3% leverage.

        So even if Mt Gox has lost 6% of all its Bitcoins, it's still massively more solvent than any bank.

        Except for that 'Not talking to anyone' thing that's happening now, anyway.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

          TheOtherHobbes,

          The banks have to agree their liquidity reserves with the Bank of England (Prudential Regulation Authority). Which is apparently 30 days of their net funding requirements under stress conditions, so I'd assume that's going to be whatever the BofE decided when it set up its stress tests, applied to the banks' figures.

          Mark Carney is going to reduce this to 80% of that 30 days needs, in order to allow them to make more loans. As there's been a battle for the last 5 years between governments telling banks to lend more to boost the economy, and regulators telling banks to build up more reserves.

          As they still have to have over 7% capital reserves, they can use the repo market to get cash, if required, or give the BofE sufficient assets to get cash from them.

          Mt.Gox has apparently lost far more than 6% of its Bitcoins.

          However the bit that you and Destroy all Monsters have missed is that Mt.Gox is an exchange not a bank.

          When a bank is short of liquidity it's usually because they've lent too much money out - and therefore don't have the cash on hand to meet requirements. Normally this is no problem, because they've got loads of assets (the loans they're slowly getting repaid), it's just that they can't meet their immediate cash requirements. So they put up an asset (loan) as collaterol, and borrow the cash. When the global repo market froze up during the financial crisis, Central Banks took on this role - as they're designed to do in emergencies.

          An exchange has to hold cash for all its accounts, because it doesn't make loans. So if it's giving out loans, or trading with its clients' cash, it's commiting fraud. One, because it's trading without a banking license, and two, because it doesn't have its customers permission to use their money in such a way. Particularly as it's not paying them interest, so they'd be taking risk with no reward.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Justin Pasher

      Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

      And this is where I get confused. Was MtGox not (supposed to be) used just as sort of an escrow service that facilitated the transfer of bitcoins from one address to another? I'm only moderately versed in how bitcoin operates, but you only need the private key to send money from one address to another, so why would you ever give the "keys to the kingdom" away to someone else? I would think the process was "pay X bitcoins to a MtGox address, they take a cut, then send the payment along to the person that bought it".

      Did it operate differently where MtGox was the judge, jury, and executioner for your wallet?

      1. Old Handle

        @Justin Pasher

        Did it operate differently where MtGox was the judge, jury, and executioner for your wallet?

        Pretty much. All the exchanges work that way though. You give them money, either bitcoins or dollars, and they say "OK you have that much in your account" then you you can buy or sell with other users more or less instantly while the exchange plays matchmaker (and takes a cut, of course). But it all happens on their books only until you actually take the money back out. I'm not show how that would be possible without trusting the exchange to hold your money for a while.

        I am certainly in agreement that this is very risky though. Unless I was doing day trading (which I don't because I'm terrible at it) I would never leave a large amount of money sitting in an exchange.

    4. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

      Yes, it would appear that indeed they were. Bitcoins are cryptographically secure, but only if you are holding them. If some other entity is holding them on your behalf then you'd better hope that said organisation isn't run by stunned muppets who're still amazed that this moneymaker has landed in their laps.

      "Mt.GOX" actually stands for "Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange". The site started out as a PHP page bodged together by some spotty herbert who wanted to try to make a percentage off trading playing cards in some poxy role-playing game. The key thing to remember is this: the site was PHP, written by an amateur and never needed to be audited in the early days as the money flows were peanuts; this was a site so insignificant that not even the tax men took much interest.

      When said operator switched to bitcoins, once again the cash flows were peanuts because bitcoins were worth next to nothing. The site got away with abysmal security and a complete lack of auditing because it was too small a minnow for anyone to be bothered with, and bitcoins were not considered to be money as such.

      Just because nobody has broken into a site does not mean that it is secure. It might be completely insecure, but even script kiddies do have standards. Very low ones, it must be said, but pulling a heist for a few hundred worthless coins is not the stuff that online crime legends are made of. As soon as bitcoins came to be worth something, then the sharks moved in and it would appear that the MtGox operators were so dumb that they never spotted that they were being swindled blind.

      The lesson here is simple: don't trust idiots with money, or shiny money-like stuff.

      1. veti Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

        @Dr Dan: Calling 'Magic: The Gathering' a role-playing game is like calling Monopoly a role-playing game. It just isn't.

        Thank you for observing correctness in insults.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: @Dr Dan: Calling 'Magic: The Gathering'

          It's been a while since I played it so I looked it up. The BoardGame Geek description claims the actual company that sells it describes it as a "...game where you take on the role..."

          While I concur it is a card trading game, I can also see where someone who hasn't played it and just looked it up on the interwebs might think it was an RPG. Heck, it wouldn't have surprised me if someone had turned it into one by now.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disregard that, I Mt. Gox

    I said this elsewhere, but please excuse my scepticism on that "oops, we inadvertantly left that dead giveaway placeholder comment in the HTML". It smacks of an attempt to obviously, but not *too* obviously "leak" a rumour.

    They couldn't have left it in visible plaintext as everyone would have asked why it wasn't spotted and fixed immediately, but a... whoops!... stray comment might plausibly slip past and "give away" the "secret" they want everyone to know, and know that someone *will* spot sooner rather than later.

    Rather too convenient-looking, especially as there's nothing else in the HTML returned. In addition, it was still there some time after someone else spotted it, i.e. they didn't even try to yank it.

    One other question- Mt. Gox is based in Japan, yet was started by someone with a very American-sounding name ("Jed McCaleb") and sold to someone with another Western-sounding name ("Mark Karpeles"). What's the story behind that? Are they Westerners or (part-)Japanese, or what?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Disregard that, I Mt. Gox

      Who is Gox and why do you mount him?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    The web age has arrived! Fasten your seatbelts!

    “transaction malleability”

    Fuzzy transactions, then?

  12. Chris Miller

    Where have all the bitcoins gone?

    Into the bit-bucket?

  13. jb99

    Time to buy

    Yay, cheap bitcoins. I'll be buying. Some. Not going to spend my life saving on it, but it seems like it might be a good time to risk 1% of them as nothing fundemental has changed about why it's a good idea.

    1. gibman70

      Re: Time to buy

      Except that any time at all these mickey mouse exchanges can steal/lose/disappear with all your pretend money?

    2. Old Handle
      Meh

      Re: Time to buy

      That may very well work out great for you. I sure wish I had bought more when they crashed the first time. Then again I also wish I sold them when they were worth $1000.

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Time to buy

        I wonder if the rise and fall since the last crash are the result of speculation. People buy at the low price, see the price skyrocket, and want to get the money back by the end of the tax year, so they can put it into safe, well-understood, tax-efficient places.

        And the sort of business typified by the Silk Road crashes. Not enough people are buying.

  14. Herby Silver badge

    Fool, Money...

    Soon parted.

    BitCoin, more so, and apparently quicker as well.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the trouble, geeky types love this sort of stuff, this "fuck the system" mentality. Except that they don't realise that real currency systems and banks are generally secure and safe. Most will guarantee deposits up to a certain amount (£90,000 in the UK?) in a current account.

    Anyone who thinks storing their money on their hard disk or on some website is a total twit. PayPal is bad enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Except that they don't realise that real currency systems and banks are generally secure and safe."

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      1. gibman70

        I hope you're laughing at the stupidity of Bitcoin exchange users?

        banks are safer than Mt Gox - ask any of those who have lost a small, large or life-changing amount in there...do you think they're giggling?!

        I am though.

    2. Daniel B.

      Heh.

      Except that they don't realise that real currency systems and banks are generally secure and safe.

      Banks are safe, indeed. As long as they don't do stupid things like sub-prime loans or any kind of high-risk loan with most of their money, they'll remain safe. I should know as my line of work has mostly been in the financial sector, including banks.

      Any currency system, however, is as stable as its backer. My country's currency (MXN) has ups and downs, so most people would rather have their life savings in something that doesn't have sudden drops every now and then. Bitcoin itself has been very volatile and as such is also not the currency I'd use for my life savings … though I do wish I had kept my 0.96 BTC I had last year (of course, NOT in Mt. Gox).

      Interestingly, Mt. Gox ceased to be relevant to me when they were cut off by OKPAY. That was my only easy route in and out of that. Maybe it was the universe warning me to get out of there?

      1. Tom 13

        Re: As long as they don't do stupid things like sub-prime

        As recent history proves, even then the banks are safe. It's all the rest of us wot get wolloped.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Some people have suggested that Mt Gox is set to be sold to an undisclosed buyer, a theory supported by the source code of its homepage on Tuesday morning..."

    Please be Facebook please be Facebook please be Facebook please be Facebook please be Facebook please be Facebook

  17. Vociferous

    And so the bitcoin death spiral turns into a dive.

    Where's my popcorn?

  18. TrevorH

    "So even if Mt Gox has lost 6% of all its Bitcoins, it's still massively more solvent than any bank"

    Err, no, it lost 6% of *all* Bitcoins. Not 6% of "its Bitcoins".

  19. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge
    Angel

    Singalong

    "where have all the Bitcoins gone?"

    Sung to the tune of "Where have all the flowers gone?".

  20. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Pronunciation question

    So is MtGox SUPPOSED to be pronounced like "Empty Box", or is that just serendipity?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Pronunciation question

      I wish I could upvote this 100 times.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Pronunciation question

      So is MtGox SUPPOSED to be pronounced like "Empty Box"

      Only if you're a rubbish ventriloquist...

    3. DaveK

      Ah. Smug mode.

      I made that joke back in December, and am now feeling smugly prescient!

  21. wolfetone Silver badge

    Keep your sodding BitCoin

    I'm happy with my Trillion Dollar Bill, thank you very much!

  22. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    LOL!

    That is all.

  23. Crazy Operations Guy

    "put announce for mtgox acq here"

    'acq' could also mean acquittal...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tidy bit of html that ,

    If theyd used a package it would still be 100 lines

  25. Tim Brown 1
    Mushroom

    It's not like this came out of the blue

    Mt.Gox has been a weak link in the whole Bitcoin setup for a long time, you only need to look back through the Register's archive, e.g:

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/04/05/bitcoin_ddos_analysis/

    and a perceptive analysis of that incident on another blog

    http://trilema.com/2013/its-been-an-epic-few-days-what-happened/

    made it clear that Mt.Gox was just an accident waiting to happen. Tulip anyone?

  26. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    ALL

    GONE

  27. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Yesterday, upon the stair

    I found a Coin that wasn't there

    It wasn't there again today

    I wish that coin would go away!

  28. Moosh
    Paris Hilton

    Dazed and Confused

    Bitcoin's destiny is to crash and burn. Its as plain as day. The very simple reason for this is because, well, people are just hopping on board, hoping to buy low and sell high. This is all very well when you're trading stocks or legitimate currency, but when its with a currency that no one really uses in a practical way with little to no international oversight, then you're asking for a crash. The whole thing was intentionally designed as a bubble. What do you think happens to the value of Bitcoins when the people hoarding them all realize its time to cut their losses/make a profit and attempt to sell huge amounts of bitcoins over a short period of time? The same thing that happens to stock, only Bitcoin doesn't have a real way to claw its way back up apart from hoping people randomly start trusting it as a money making scheme again.

    1. Glenn Amspaugh

      Re: Dazed and Confused

      I believe there is a coffee shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico tha will accept bitcoins. In exchange for cups of coffee, of course. Might want to bring a large tote for the large withdrawals.

  29. HKmk23

    There's always another mug....

    In Totnes, Devon, UK they started their own currency in Acorns......but then of course they wore different coloured shoes on each foot as well!

  30. Toastan Buttar

    "One of the existential threats to bitcoin."

    You keep using that word but I don't think it means what you think it means.

    I prefer to keep my money in the bank of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "One of the existential threats to bitcoin."

      The philosophy of existentialism is named for the pre-existing word "existential", in its meaning of "of, relating to, or dealing with existence". An existential threat is one that relates to the existence of the threatened entity or organisation; the usage is perfectly valid.

  31. TakeTheSkyRoad

    For an Technical IT site the level of ignorance here is shocking.

    Ok, I am going to get heat for this but for the ignorant bitcoin is not....

    Fiat Currency (eg GBP/USD/whatever)

    Trading Tulips

    A Barter system

    Totally Anonymous

    It is some and all of the above and it is different to anything which has come before.

    It can be used as a currency since people trade it and this gives it value just like pounds or dollars, often it is exchanged for other currency and trading good is in it's infancy but it does happen.

    It can be traded as a commodity but not in the same way as say Tulips since Tulips die and can be copied (you make more from seeds) where as a bitcoin balance in a wallet is fixed and forever until the balance is moved elsewhere.

    You could argue it is a barter system but only in the same way any physical object can be bartered including paper money.

    Yes most bitcoin addresses are anonymous but the transactions between these addresses are public and documented forever online. However anyone wanting to change bitcoins for pounds or dollars is going to find an exchange will want to know who they are and the exchanges have (already) applied "know your customer" regulations. Yes you can meet someone in the street and exchange in person bitcoin for cash but that is impractical for large 6 figure amounts and someone will at some point will encounter a regulated system (exchange or payment processor) and have to explain where the bitcoins came from. As a result the bitcoins will be below market rate and it's just easier to launder money in cash pounds/dollars than bother with bitcoins.

    Thinking of a snappy put down already ?

    If you also claim to have any IT smarts then read up first and try to understand what you are commenting on. If not you're like someone saying "why will mobile phones catch on when everyone has a phone at home. Also text messages to mobiles ? Much quicker to call someone, that'll never catch on !"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin

    In my opinion the killer app here is international money transfers and international purchases.

    This is in it's infancy and money transfers will evolve as more of these cash machines are installed globally and the cash machine rates drop. A typical exchange charges 0.2% but the cash machines are charging a premium on top. In theory though it should be easily possible to buy bitcoins and send them in about 30 minutes to your uncle Bob in Auz who can then withdraw dollars. As soon as this becomes cheaper than western union then this will take off, think of all those foreign workers sending money home to africa/india/asia.

    As for international orders Overstock is a good example, once they enable international delivery you can take your bitcoins purchased at an exchange with a 0.2% fee and buy goods in america for delivery to the uk. Since Overstock do the conversion to dollars you just pay in bitcoins.

    That means no hassle with credit card fees for Overstock (you might even get a discount) plus you don't have to worry how much that dollar payment will be when it hits your debit/credit card since the card companies make money from the exchange rates. Now apply this to online shopping for china, asia, europe etc.... bitcoins could easily become the "currency" of preference for online retailers. Oh, another bonus for the retailers is that there are no charge backs, Visa/Mastercard can & do ask for the money back sometimes but all payments are irreversible with bitcoin.

    If you're traveling abroad then why not pay in bitcoins ? I was in europe recently and I would have been much happier not having to get together the Euros in cash and simply paying electronically in bitcoins. Ok it was only a short trip so it wasn't much cash but it was still a hassle, I still paid an unfavorable exchange rate and I still had to keep what I wasn't using that day in the hotel safe. Yes you can get travel cards you fill with electronic euros but that's just the same as bitcoin with all the same negatives of the extra cost.

    Yes there are risks associated with traveling with a bitcoin wallet but I expect that the insurance companies would extend insurance to cover this in time. Plus if you give the insurance company your private key with one call they could move your money from the compromised wallet to a secure wallet ready for when you got a new mobile (or other electronic payment device).

    This is the near term vision..... the long term vision is much bigger and more intangible and if you want to look into that try googling for "bitcoin colored coins".

    I don't know what will become of bitcoins in the long term but I'm confident about the international money transfers and as a online payment method. Traveling on bitcoins requires much wider support unless you plan on just eating in that one Cafe your entire stay but it is going to be appealing to the masses.

    Got questions ? Good... now do your research because answers are not straight forward and frankly I should be working :)

    1. Tom 13

      Re: For an Technical IT site the level of ignorance here is shocking.

      Let me simplify that and save you time:

      Bit coin is unicorn farts.

      See, that was easy.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: For an Technical IT site the level of ignorance here is shocking.

        More along the lines "oh, this is so sophisticated, it cannot be just a scam".

        Alas, smart people can be easily deceived, if their attention is channeled at those wonderful complexities, and the most fundamental questions are neglected.

        What questions?

        Qui bono, for one.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You'd think it was 'qui bono' ...

          ... but it's actually 'cui bono'. Something to do with cui being the dative form of qui, but Latin grammar is beyond me.

          Anyway. Just sayin'.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
            Pint

            Re: You'd think it was 'qui bono' ...

            Thanks.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now we know why people keep money under their mattresses.

  33. Jim McCafferty

    Too many palms, not enough faces

    I loved the html comment in the page source. This is a company that just *know* security.

  34. The Jase

    Libertarians

    Libertarians be all "government save us" now

  35. brain_flakes

    Dammit

    I knew I should have shorted my month of GPU activity's worth of bitcoins earlier, I guess I'll just have to wait until the next bubble cycle in a year or two.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bitcoin rage™

    I think there are a lot of annoyed geeks here. They're making snide comments about Bitcoin because they feel they could easily have mined them for pennies a few years ago and sold each of them for £££ at the smart moment. This is especially annoying because it would have required a fraction of the effort spent dealing with the ton of day-to-day technical nonsense required to earn a living.

  37. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    All we need now is to find out that the real MtGox owner is Disembowel Self Honourably Dibbalah and the story is complete.

  38. Truth4u

    classic pump and dump

    Don't tell me you didn't know there would be an "unnoticed theft" for "years" followed by the sudden disappearance of everyone involved...

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