Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox suspends service following huge swing in trading price

The digital currency's largest trading site is currently in 'cool down' mode

Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for buying and selling bitcoins, is temporarily shutting down following an uptick in activity on the site sparked by a massive drop in the digital currency's price.

The Tokyo-based exchange is suspending trading until 10 p.m. Eastern Time as it allows the market to "cool down," Mt. Gox announced Thursday morning. People may still cancel their pending and open orders, the site said.

Bitcoins were going for over US$230 a pop on Tuesday, up from roughly $100 last week, but their price plummeted back into the lower $100-range yesterday following service lags on Mt. Gox, which handles more than 75 percent of all bitcoin trades. At the time of this article's posting the price was $123.

Though some may have suspected that the lags were the result of a DDoS attack on the site, the slowdown was actually caused by a huge spike in trading volume due to bitcoins' increasing popularity, said Gonzague Gay-Bouchery, who heads marketing for Mt. Gox.

"Customers decided to trade at the same time resulting in lags, then people started to panic due to the lag," resulting in a sell off, though it was not due to a distributed denial-of-service attack, he said. The site fought a DDoS attack last week intended to manipulate the price of bitcoins.

Bitcoin, which is based on a concept called "crypto-currency," has indeed attracted serious attention in recent weeks. On Mt. Gox alone, the site went from 10,000 new customers per month last year to 60,000 new customers this past March, and by yesterday the site already had 75,000 new customers, Gay-Bouchery said.

All told, Bitcoin is estimated to have roughly 1.4 million users.

But pinpointing the reasons behind the digital currency's recent rise in popularity is tricky. Some speculate that debt troubles in Europe have played a role, while others say the philosophy behind the currency, which is not regulated by any central financial or regulatory body, appeals to a new class of consumers skeptical of big government.

Other Bitcoin services have been subject to hacking attacks in the past as the currency's value has risen. Instawallet, an online Bitcoin storage service, announced just last week that its database had been fraudulently accessed and that it was accepting claims for stolen bitcoins.

Mt. Gox is "working around the clock to scale up its architecture," Gay-Bouchery said. The site is currently waiting for some new hardware and servers to arrive that it says will help them to cope with Bitcoin's rising demand and also better handle future DDoS attacks.

Because bitcoins are not just a fad or a bubble, Gay-Bouchery said. "People still have a lot of faith in it," he said.

But bitcoins still only constitute a small slice of larger markets worldwide. The site Blockchain, which tracks Bitcoin activity, caps the digital currency's market at $2.25 billion.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesMt. Goxe-commerceinternetBitcoin

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?