If you tried to pull your Bitcoins out of a MtGox-based wallet service this week, you may have received a somberly-worded email from your respective provider instead of the cash you were hoping for.
Due to what MtGox called a “transaction malleability” issue, everyone currently trading on their market would have to wait until the problem is fixed before extracting any bitcash from the ATM becomes possible again. Most in the know about the cryptocurrency and its inherent flaws have been aware of the bug since around 2011, and until things are straightened out all trading on the popular marketplace has been suspended until at least next Monday, at the earliest.
The problem didn’t pop up until recently due to Bitcoins slow rate of adoption , which finally took off in late in 2013 when the Chinese government opened the currency up to their massive market of consumers, many of whom might be interested in basing their wealth on something other than the US dollar in the next few decades for increasingly obvious reasons.
The exploit presents itself in the form of falsified transaction IDs, which can be renamed in between the time a trader decides to buy or sell and when the currency actually converts out and hits your account back home. This means millions of trades could essentially be lost to the wind overnight, and if the problem isn’t patched up soon many investors will begin moving their money from the MtGox to other alternatives such as BitStamp or BitFinex.
MtGox has told reporters they will be working with the wallet provider Blockchain.info to provide a temporary solution to the problem, however many users are already working with other websites and won’t find the move to a completely new system as easy as they might have hoped.
“Thanks to our friends at Blockchain.info, MtGox now has a workaround that will use a unique identiﬁer created by Blockchain to show whether transactions have been modiﬁed or not,” the company wrote on Monday. “This will prevent any fraudulent use of the malleability issue and protect the assets of our customers.”
MtGox will not be restoring withdrawal privileges for its entire userbase at once either, likely fearing a “run on the bank” when thousands of frustrated users attempt to pull their money from the service and move it somewhere else at once.