Bitcoin trading site shuts down– losing $409,200,000
If you put any trust in Bitcoin as a valuable commodity, rather than made up money generated by spods and sold on eBay, you may find yourself out of pocket. In the real world, this is like Barclays going bust, or something. It’s big, anyway.
It’s not the first time Mt.Gox has been hacked – it happened way back in 2011 when 400,000 Bitcoins were lost. But back then they were only worth $9m and the company was able to reimburse its customers. Now, it’s well and truly in Bits, with an estimated 1 million customers having lost the lot. And because it’s not a bank, and the whole thing is ephemeral internet money, customers have nothing to fall back on. No insurance, no account protection – nothing.
So does this mean the end of Bitcoin? Will this most unpredictable of currencies go on to fight another day, or will we all start trading Monopoly money, pebbles or groats instead? Well, there are still plenty of Bitcoin companies out there, who vow to thrive after what they call ‘this tragic violation’ of Mt.Gox. So it depends whether the Bitcoin community still has confidence in these unregulated sites.
Most of us though, will probably remain unaffected. Because we still have no idea what Bitcoin is.