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Mt. Gox Trading Halts as Bitcoin Businesses Move to Assure Investors

(@danielcawrey) | Published on February 25, 2014 at 04:14 BST

Hours after Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox suddenly halted trading activity, the company's website is now completely offline. Notably, the news follows other troubling signs that all is not right with the exchange, such as its sudden removal of its entire Twitter feed.

Bitcoincharts market section shows the last trade on Mt. Gox occurred at 01:59:06 UTC, which is 8:59 EST.

When users logged into the bitcoin exchange's website they were experiencing the following error message when trying to buy or sell bitcoins:

tradedisablemtgox

Not long after the suspension in trading activity and subsequent outage, leaders within the digital currency space joined together in a bid to restore confidence in bitcoin and distance themselves from the embattled exchange.

The US-based hosted wallet Coinbase published the statement first, which later appeared on other websites connected with the messaging. The post, titled "Joint Statement Regarding MtGox”, reads:

"The purpose of this document is to summarize a joint statement to the Bitcoin community regarding Mt.Gox.

This tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt.Gox was the result of one company’s actions and does not reflect the resilience or value of bitcoin and the digital currency industry. There are hundreds of trustworthy and responsible companies involved in bitcoin.

We are confident, however, that strong Bitcoin companies, led by highly competent teams and backed by credible investors, will continue to thrive, and to fulfill the promise that bitcoin offers as the future of payment in the Internet age.

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. As part of the effort to re-assure customers, the following services will be coordinating efforts over the coming days to publicly reassure customers and the general public that all funds continue to be held in a safe and secure manner: Coinbase, Kraken, BitStamp, Circle, and BTC China.

We strongly believe in transparent, thoughtful, and comprehensive consumer protection measures. We pledge to lead the way.

Bitcoin operators, whether they be exchanges, wallet services or payment providers, play a critical custodial role over the bitcoin they hold as assets for their customers. Acting as a custodian should require a high-bar, including appropriate security safeguards that are independently audited and tested on a regular basis, adequate balance sheets and reserves as commercial entities, transparent and accountable customer disclosures, and clear policies to not use customer assets for proprietary trading or for margin loans in leveraged trading. It does not appear to any of us that MtGox followed any these essential requirements as a financial services provider."

The statement also names the following bitcoin industry veterans as supporting this position.

Fred Ehrsam — Co-founder of Coinbase
Jesse Powell — CEO of Kraken
Nejc Kodrič — CEO of Bitstamp.net
Bobby Lee — CEO of BTC China
Nicolas Cary — CEO of Blockchain.info
Jeremy Allaire — CEO of Circle

Mt. Gox
Mt. Gox price on CoinDesk today.

The outage of Mt. Gox and the subsequent joint release of this statement follows unconfirmed reports about the future of Mt. Gox's viability as a bitcoin exchange.

CoinDesk is monitoring this developing story, and will post updates as they become known.

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