Looks like Mt. Gox might be gone.

Bitcoins are having some trouble. Again. The Mt. Gox exchange has gone offline. Supposedly, the CEO is laying low, and nobody was at their Tokyo-based offices today. Rumor has it that 740,000 Bitcoins were stolen from their servers.

You mean Goldfinger emptied Fort Knox again?

BitCoin prices fluctuate (especially after something like this), but it appears that the total value of the missing BitCoins is in the $350 million range.


What percentage of all the bitcoins out there is 740,000?

I read a few days ago that circa 12.1 million coins have been mined so far - if so that makes it around a 6% hit to the total volume.

The thing I find inexplicable yet hilarious about bitcoins is that (1) they are dependent on meticulous tracking of their ID and transfers yet (2) are supposed to be utterly anonymous currency. Add in (3) that they are virtual currency existing only in bits yet (4) can be stolen by copping someone’s hard drive… or stolen at all.

They strike me as an economic trailer park: an assemblage of every worst possible choice.

Someone, fight my and Amateur Barbarian ignorance here. How is this supposed to work anyway?

How are bitcoins supposed to be utterly anonymous currency, yet depend on meticulous tracking of every transaction?

A software flaw is being blamed for the theft. That could shake public confidence in Bitcoin more severely than the absolute volume of the theft.

Assuming there was an public confidence in this scheme to begin with.

The IDs are supposed to be anonymous, much like a numbered swiss bank account was identified only by it’s number. You still have to be a real person to change your bitcoins into real money, just like you have to show up in person to get at your numbered account.

Also, tracking transactions is less anonymous than people think.

It wasn’t “a software flaw” that deleted their Twitter account. The site’s been shut down entirely.

My limited understanding:

Bitcoins are less anonymous than cash transactions, but Bitcoin has the benefit of being somewhat anonymous in online transactions. When you spend money online with normal currency, you generally go through a bank (wire transfer) or a credit company (VISA), often through some kind of intermediary (PayPal). Somewhere along the line there, you’ve probably give out your real name and a government-issued identifier.

With Bitcoin, though, you can spend your money from an anonymous address. There may be metadata associated with that address, but it could be a disposable email address or a spoofed IP.

So the transactions made with the stolen bitcoins are all publicly listed in the Blockchain, and everyone can know that those stolen coins are being spent, but tracking down who is spending them (and who they’re being sent to) can be extremely difficult depending on how savvy the thief is, what country they’re in, and the motivation of law enforcement. The issue, as pointed out above, is how to convert those stolen Bitcoins into real money. Goods need to be shipped to an address, money conversions require a real identity, and laundering them for other Bitcoins doesn’t help because the entire transaction history is public.

See also:


Side note: I understand that it is not Mt. Gox, as in “mountain”, but MTGOX which stands for Magic: The Gathering Online eXchange. And yet even Wikipedia has it as Mt. Gox, and their logo has that period in it (but no space). I have also seen it as MtGox, which makes a bit more sense.

As for bitcoins, while I sympathize to a certain extent with the goals and aims of such a currency, I don’t have confidence it in enough to put actual value in it. If I want to have a hedge against government monetary fluctuations, there is still gold, which has a much longer history and reputation.

Oh… yeah… that just fills me with confidence. I’m moving my virtual money out of OtGGCB right away.

That would be Oscar the Grouch’s Garbage Can Bank…

Really, the lesson of bitcoin is the same as every other “alternative” government operation: you can talk a good game about how completely new and different things are going to be with the New Boss, but in the end, you have to do pretty much what existing institutions were doing to keep functioning.

Unless you can devise a world where everyone voluntarily plays by all the rules. Then you can do anything. <fx Lucius Fox> Good luck… </fx>

Dogecoin is still a thing. Well, I mean, as much as it ever was. “A thing for trolling Bitcoiners,” maybe I should say.


That true as far as the history of the company is concerned, but that have tried very hard to distance themselves from the origin of their name (Surprise!). In recent times they have favored the “Mount” interpretation.

The preferred pronunciation is now “Empty” Gox.


More of a Mount St Helens