Following a rumored $350 million hack and extended downtime, Japan-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has released an official statement confirming that it has shut down “all transactions for the time being.”

According to Mt. Gox’s official site, the exchange made the decision to protect the its service and users. Here is the Mt. Gox statement, in full:

Dear MtGox Customers,

In the event of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.

Best regards,
MtGox Team

This announcement follows a joint statement made by Mt. Gox’s competitors, including CoinbaseKraken and Bitstamp.net. The statement condemned Mt. Gox’s actions as a “tragic violation of … trust.”

Repercussions

It is currently unclear whether victims of Mt. Gox’s shutdown will see their assets returned to them. That said, many former Mr. Gox users have already taken to public forums such as Reddit to mourn their losses and defend the larger Bitcoin community.

This development may damage Bitcoin’s image and has already affected the currency’s trading price. That said, even a permanent Mt. Gox shutdown doesn’t mark the end of Bitcoin.

For more context, take a look at VentureBeat’s introductory guide to Bitcoin.

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