Bitcoin value plummets 20% after major exchange halts withdrawals

Posted Feb 7, 2014 by Brett Wilkins
Bitcoin, the increasingly popular virtual currency, lost 20 percent of its value Thursday evening after a major exchange halted withdrawals.
A pile of Bitcoin slugs sits in a box ready to be minted on April 26  2013 in Sandy  Utah
A pile of Bitcoin slugs sits in a box ready to be minted on April 26, 2013 in Sandy, Utah
George Frey, Getty/AFP/File
CNBC reports Mt. Gox, the world's third-largest bitcoin exchange, stopped withdrawals in a bid to resolve ongoing technical difficulties. The Tokyo-based company is the world's third-largest bitcoin exchange and is was responsible for 14 percent of the world's total bitcoin trade in the past week, according to
"In order for our team to resolve the withdrawal issue, it is necessary for a temporary pause on all withdrawal requests, to obtain a clear technical view of current processes," Mt. Gox said on its website on Friday.
"We apologize for the sudden short notice. All bitcoin withdrawal requests will be on pause, and the withdrawals in the system will be returned to your Mt. Gox wallet, and can be reinitiated once the issue is resolved."
International Business Times reports bitcoin fell to under $690 on the news. The virtual currency is known for its volatile fluctuation.
Mt. Gox has been experiencing extended delays when exchanging bitcoin to US dollars. The company has also suffered from legal and public relations troubles, such as the US Department of Homeland Security's seizure of its bank accounts last year for failure to properly register as a money services company.
IT entrepreneur and Swedish Pirate Party founder Richard Falkvinge recently accused Mt. Gox of accumulating $38 million in unfulfilled bitcoin withdrawals.