The disgraced bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, once the largest exchange of its kind, filed for bankruptcy last month after it reported that its entire bitcoin holdings were stolen over the course of several years in the amount of $520 million, roughly, or 850,000 bitcoins. The exchange’s website has been down for several weeks, but now former consumers are not allowed to view their online account balance, also known as a wallet.
However, Mt. Gox made it clear that former customers can only look, not touch, as a statement on their homepage, posted in English and Japanese, said “please be aware that confirming the balance on this site does not constitute a filing of rehabilitation claims under the civil rehabilitation procedure and note that the balance amounts shown on this site should also not be considered an acknowledgment by Mt. Gox of the amount of any rehabilitation claims of users.”
The series of hacking attacks, even mild ones on other exchanges, show that there is a long way before bitcoin achieves the safety of other traditional methods of payment. Many venture capitalists see bitcoin as the next wave of instantaneous payment technology, but security needs to be in the forefront. And exchanges should be regulated in order to maintain some level of customer protection.