Mt. Gox shuts down

mtgox-whiteMt. Gox has been offline since late yesterday evening, just a few hours after I wrote that something like this was probably imminent. Most are interpreting the unavailability of Mt. Gox’s website as a sign that they’ve shut down for good, and unfortunately that’s probably a safe bet.

CNBC posted a good write-up of the events leading up to Gox’s demise this morning. Ars Technica published a short article about the shut down as well.

Hopefully none of you had any money trapped in Gox. This should serve as yet another reminder that cryptocurrency exchanges aren’t banks and should never be treated as such. When exchanges fail—and an absurdly high percentage of them do—you’ll likely be left without recourse, so don’t trust a third party to hold your money any longer than necessary. Store the majority of your cryptocurrency in secure offline wallets, and transfer to exchanges only long enough to execute your trades.

This news will likely have a negative impact on cryptocurrency prices. BTC is down about 20% this morning already, and you can expect it to continue to drop throughout the week as the news makes it way through mainstream media outlets. For the more speculatively-minded folks among us, the next few weeks may present an excellent opportunity to pick up some bitcoins at heavily discounted prices.

Edit: Erik Voorhees posted some eloquent thoughts about the situation over on reddit.

More signs of trouble at Mt. Gox

mtgox-whiteLast night, Mark Karpeles (Mt. Gox’s CEO) resigned his position from the board of the Bitcoin foundation. Earlier today, Mt. Gox completely deleted all of their past tweets from their Twitter feed.

Karpeles stepping down wasn’t exactly a surprise, as many in the Bitcoin community have been calling for his removal for months. However, his action may signify a lack of confidence in his ability to correct the downward spiral of Gox.

Scrubbing their own Twitter feed isn’t exactly a confidence-inspiring move, either.

If you have any money trapped in Mt. Gox, it’s probably a good idea to make sure that you have screenshots of your account balance, records of your transaction history, and logs of any communication with them. Hopefully they’re able to turn themselves around, but if not it’s best to gather as much information as possible before it’s potentially too late.

Edit 10PM EST: Mt. Gox reportedly just disabled trading entirely.

TechCrunch: Is Bitcoin the new Paypal?

TechCrunch posted an article today comparing Bitcoin to the early Paypal days—when fraud, theft, and technical issues ran rampant. TechCrunch’s headline would probably be a bit more accurate if “Mt. Gox” were substituted in place of “Bitcoin” (and to be fair, the body of the article mostly focuses on the current problems plaguing Gox when drawing comparisons to Paypal’s early days), but the write-up is interesting nonetheless.

I do remember a time when Paypal was regarded in much the same way that Bitcoin is today. Back then, trusting a fledgling internet company to “send money across the web” was something that crazy people did. Times have certainly changed, and it’ll be interesting to see where the public perception of cryptocurrency is in five or ten years.

In related news, Mt. Gox issued a short update today apologizing for the continued delays while they work through their issues. What’s up with the “security problems” that Gox claims forced them to relocate? Rumor has it that they’re referring to the three-person protest currently taking place outside their headquarters.

Apologies for the lack of updates

Just a quick note that I’ve been dealing with the death of somebody close to me over the past several weeks, and updates to the site have suffered as a result. I should be able to get back into a semi-regular schedule starting next week. If you’ve sent me a message at any point in the new year, chances are that I haven’t responded to you yet—I’ll do my best to start catching up on email as well.

I have a couple purpose-built custom mining cases here that I’m hoping to get reviews up of soon, for those of you that want something that’s more flexible (and aesthetically appealing!) than a plastic milk crate.

An update to my mining guide for the R9 series of GPUs is still on the horizon as well—I’m still having trouble getting my hands on the more desirable manufacturer brands at prices that don’t sicken me.

Finally, today I updated the cryptocurrency ticker that’s running on my site to pull the BTC quote from Coinbase, given the issues that Mt. Gox has been having. If you’re running a WordPress site and would like the utilize the ticker, you can grab it from the official repository. As of today the ticker also supports displaying quote prices in Euros, in case you’re from across the pond.

Edit: Thanks for the kind words, everyone—they’re much appreciated!

TigerDirect now accepting Bitcoin

Just a couple weeks after Overstock.com went live with Bitcoin payment processing, TigerDirect today announced that they have also begun accepting Bitcoin on their website. TigerDirect is a major electronics and computer parts retailer, and this development makes them one of the largest businesses to accept Bitcoin thus far.

Given the success that Overstock is enjoying with its Bitcoin experiment, and rumors of impending Bitcoin adoption from giants like Google, Newegg, and eBay—it’s looking increasingly likely that 2014 will be the year that most major online retailers start accepting cryptocurrency.

Forbes names Litecoin the best investment for time travelers going back to early 2013

Forbes published an article today that highlights the tremendous earning power of Litecoin for anyone that had the foresight to buy-in a year ago—it handily beat out top stocks, gold, and even Bitcoin to earn its spot as the top investment of 2013. From the article:

The best way to spend a c-note on January 1, 2013 was on competing cryptocurrency Litecoin. Worth seven cents then, its value increased along with Bitcoin’s, reaching $23 by December, or 328 times its initial value. That means a $100 investment in Litecoin last year would be worth $30,000 now.

No doubt many of you did tremendously well with Litecoin last year. Hopefully 2014 will continue the trend!

Overstock.com to accept Bitcoin in 2014

CNN is reporting that Overstock.com will begin accepting Bitcoin for purchases made on its site, starting in the second quarter of 2014.

Pretty big news for cryptocurrency—Overstock is the largest U.S. retailer to announce support for Bitcoin thus far. Hopefully the news will cause others to take notice.

Update 1/9/2014: That was quick—Overstock went live with Bitcoin payment support today (US-based shoppers only, for now).

Bitcoin loses nearly half its value overnight

No doubt most of you have already noticed the huge drop in cryptocurrency prices over the last 24 hours. If you’re wondering what’s going on, China’s central bank has ordered all Chinese Bitcoin exchanges to stop accepting new deposits, which triggered a massive sell-off. CNBC has a pretty good write-up of the story here.

Many people, myself included, were expecting a large correction on the recent sky-high cryptocurrency valuations. This crash drops us back down to roughly where we were a month ago, which seems a bit saner. For those of you that have only gotten into cryptocurrency recently, massive swings like what we witnessed today are pretty much par for the course. Expect a lot more volatility in the coming weeks.

Spotted on Twitter: Beer for Bitcoin?

Heineken tweeted out a tacit endorsement of Bitcoin yesterday, and the folks at BitPay are taking notice:

Heineken Bitcoin tweet

Beer and Bitcoin, together soon? More likely, this is Heineken simply capitalizing on some free publicity by taking advantage of Bitcoin’s popularity, but we can hope!

One million!

This little site had its millionth visitor today, and I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to everyone for all of the kind words that I’ve received via comments and email over the past few months. Hearing from hundreds of people around the world that are passionate about cryptocurrency has made this a really enjoyable and rewarding experience for me!

I’m hopelessly behind on messages, so if you’ve sent me something and haven’t heard back, please be patient—I’m doing my best to catch up, but at this rate it’s probably going to be awhile. I really appreciate that a few regular readers have helped pick up the slack as far as responding to questions in the comment section of my guides—thanks guys!

And finally, a quick update on my rig sales: I don’t have an estimate on when I’ll be able to start taking orders again. Given the current AMD video card shortage, I’m unable to get my hands on suitable mining hardware at reasonable prices—so I’m stuck waiting for production to catch up to demand, just like many of you are. I’m going to take this opportunity to enjoy a house that isn’t packed to capacity with customers’ mining rigs for the first time in awhile, and clean out the sizable hoard of empty PC hardware boxes in my basement and garage!