Bitcoin 'panic sale' caused by worried traders, not attacks

Despite initial reports claiming that Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox had been hit by a second denial-of-service attack, the exchange has come forth stating that recent performance issues are actually a result of its own success.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Recent delays in transactions on the Mt Gox Bitcoin exchange has seen the virtual currency's value drop as investors feared that an attack on the market was occurring, however the exchange has now revealed that no attack took place.

Although the exchange was hit by a distributed denial-of-service attack last week, this week's dip in value was the result of speculator panic, according to Mt Gox.

In a statement released by the exchange, it wrote that a large number of accounts being created has had an impact on the performance of its systems.

"As expected in such a situation, people started to panic, started to sell Bitcoin in mass (panic sale), resulting in an increase of trade that ultimately froze the trade engine," the exchange wrote.

USD/Bitcoin value on Mt Gox.
Image: Bitcoin Charts, CC BY-SA 3.0

In the past 48 hours, Bitcoin peaked at US$266, falling to US$105 at its lowest point. As at the time of writing, the value of the Bitcoin continues to vary roughly between US$190 and US$150, with today's weighted average floating around US$180.

In the past 24 hours, Mt Gox has tripled the number of trades it usually executes and is seeing about 20,000 accounts being created each day.

To handle the increased demand, it is now introducing several new servers to its systems and issuing further updates to increase performance. In the next 12 to 24 hours, it expects to close the exchange for two hours to add the new servers.

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