It had to happen, sooner or later.
Bitcoin [exchange] MtGox appears to have pulled the plug entirely in the wake of sustained DDOS attacks and the “transaction malleability”problem […] the Tokyo-based company lost over 744,000 bitcoins (worth around $350 million) in a malleability-related theft that went on for years.
Via Ars Technica.
And don’t try to dismiss this as a minor glitch. 350 fucking million dollars. The idea that a single entity can handle my money without any kind of external or regulatory control frightens me and, I would guess, a lot of people. At the risk of sounding a bit naive, I’d argue a real bank cannot just disappear like that, in a blink and without warning. Yes, banks go bankrupt all the time, sometimes without warning, but in most cases, at least in Europe, states fill the gap. That’s because money can be traced. Who owes what to whom is relatively simple to ascertain. A bit of national debt and creditors are (at least partially) repaid (yes, I’m oversimplifying).
Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies will never allow that unless they are treated and processed as any other currency, and that would kind of defeat the main purpose of cryptocurrencies: being anonymous and untraceable.
All right, we can now all go back to our good old credit cards and banknotes and coins. Now prove me wrong.