Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On the Rocks of Mt. Gox

A guy takes it into his head
To eschew dollar bills and the Fed,
And throws in his lot
With a currency wrought 
By anonymous hackers instead. 

Though treasured by crooks and by cranks,
It constantly surges & tanks,
While hackers purloin
The internet coin
That's issued without central banks.

While enjoying the untraceability
And capital gain volatility
Our guy never saw
A programming flaw
Referred to as "malleability."

It's a ruse by the hackers that blocks
The appearance of trades on Mt. Gox,
So it's not noticed when
They "spend" it again,
Invisibly fleecing the flocks. 

So our bitcoin investor's been lacquered
By a shadowy internet blackguard. 
With no restitution,
The only solution's
A sad, little protesting placard. 

The world of virtual currency was dealt a blow this week, when it came out that the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange known as Mt. Gox had a technical flaw that had enabled hackers to steal bitcoins for months without anyone realizing it. Missing were 750,000 virtual coins worth about $400 million at the time of the revelation. 

My. Gox then shut down in both the physical and online worlds, with no apparent recourse for those who held bitcoins through the exchange. If that was you, you're out of luck. 

However, as Heidi Moore opines in the Guardian, this scandal may be a blessing in disguise, by shaking the amateurish players out of the nascent virtual currency business. The link to her column is below. 

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