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Friday, February 28, 2014
Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Files For Bankruptcy

Mt. Gox, the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, saying it may have lost all of its virtual coins due to hacking into its faulty computer system.

The company applied in Tokyo District Court today with debt exceeding its assets by 2.7 billion yen, Mt. Gox said in a statement. The exchange discovered on Feb. 24 that it had lost 750,000 Bitcoins belonging to users and 100,000 of its own.

The company's chief executive Mark Karpeles apologized in Japanese at a news conference for the company's collapse, blaming "a weakness in our system."

There have been reports during the last weeks that hackers had pilfered the missing $473 million in Bitcoin from Mt. Gox, leading the company to halt withdrawals earlier this month.

The exchange had liquid liabilities of 6.5 billion yen ($63.67 million), dwarfing its total assets of 3.84 billion yen, the company said.

Japan's financial regulators said they didn't have jurisdiction over something that's not a real currency.

The situation is focusing attention on the digital currency's risks.

Digital currency Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 by a group of programmers and has since gained traction with merchants around the world. Unlike conventional money, Bitcoin is bought and sold on a peer-to-peer network independent of central control. Bitcoin has no central issuing authority, and uses a public ledger to verify transactions while preserving users' anonymity. Its value has soared in the last year, and the total worth of bitcoins minted is now about $7 billion.

Bitcoin is not fully accepted in the U.S., as states are wrestling with how digital-currency businesses could be regulated as money transmitters. Russia has said Bitcoin is illegal, while China has stopped financial institutions from dealing in it.

New Bitcoin ATMs

While Mt. Gox lost its customers? bitcoins, Bitcoin machines began operating in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Singapore-based Tembusu Terminals unveiled a bitcoin vending machine inside a bar located in central Singapore's Boat Quay district. It allows users to insert Singapore dollars and receive, a piece of paper with a private code to be used with a bitcoin wallet.

In addition, Singapore-based bitcoin ATM maker Numoni, opened three machines at various locations throughout Singapore.

Also Singapore-based Bitcoin Exchange unveiled its first device this morning at the city-state's Citylink Mall. Customers are able to insert cash to convert it to bitcoin.

Hong Kong-based Bitcoin platform ANXBTC Friday launched a shop in a commercial building in the Sai Wan area. Customers can provide U.S. or Hong Kong dollars to an employee, who makes a transaction on a laptop.

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