Digital currency bitcoin saw its online trading value tumble on Thursday night and Friday morning after a major electronic exchange briefly halted bitcoin withdrawals.
In a statement on its website, Japan-based Mt. Gox said it had encountered technical problems linked to “the increase in the flow of withdrawal requests.” In order to identify the source of the issue, the exchange needed “a temporary pause on all withdrawal requests to obtain a clear technical view of the current processes.”
Bitcoin values fell sharply on the news, dropping from about $850 per bitcoin earlier in the week to as low $660 per bitcoin on Friday morning, before rebounding a bit to $732 per bit coin. By Friday morning, however, some sources indicated that bitcoin withdrawals from Mt. Gox accounts were being posted again, CNET noted.
Mt. Gox attempted to reassure bitcoin customers, noting that the withdrawal halt was just a “pause” and that bitcoin withdrawals already in the system would be returned to Mt. Gox bitcoin wallet accounts as soon the problem was repaired. Mt. Gox promised to reveal more details about the bitcoin withdrawal problem on Monday.
Bitcoin has begun to win acceptance from some major retailers, boosting its credibility as an online currency.
However, its value has swung widely in recent months, dropping sharply in December after China’s Central Bank told other Chinese lenders not to trade in bitcoin.