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Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox said it will likely be several weeks before US dollar withdrawals are back to normal.
Leading Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox put out a detailed statement today, stating why the bank has temporarily suspended US dollar withdrawals from customer accounts. The full text of Mt Gox’s statement follows, but essentially it boils down to an increase in volumes, and that Mt Gox’s bank simply can no longer handle the volume of withdrawals. Mt Gox is working with new banks and alternative methods for transmitting money to our customers.
Mt Gox has continued to see rising Bitcoin trading volumes (part of the source of the current problem), despite continued noise occurring outside and around its business. Mt Gox has seen one of its major client funding sources, Liberty Mutual, shut down amid a money laundering investigation (unconnected to Mt Gox, it should be noted). And that followed just a couple of weeks after the US Department of Homeland Security seized assets associated with Mt. Gox, at mobile payment company Dwolla.
The full text of the Mt Gox statement follows:
Dear Mt. Gox Customers and Bitcoiners,
The reaction since yesterday’s statement regarding the temporary suspension of U.S. dollar withdrawals has had mixed reactions, and raised more than a few questions about why we had to take this step right now. Rather than be subject to inaccurate speculation we’d like to clarify some points here. Due to pending matters we are unable to get into everything in great detail, though we’d certainly love to and are looking forward to the opportunity.
1) The problem with the U.S. withdrawals (and even other currencies for that matter) is that our bank can no longer handle the volume of withdrawals. They struggled in the last two months, and the increase due to the Dwolla separation has made it increasingly more difficult. The pressure we brought onto the bank’s resources finally gave in, and we are now working with them to find an alternative method (hence the suspension). We would have preferred to give notice if we were able to, but it was sudden for us as well.
2) We are now working with new banks and alternative methods for transmitting money to our customers. This does not mean we are stopping entirely within the next two weeks, but it will be slower than we would like. We are literally going to use our manpower to process withdrawals ourselves, manually. This will take more time, but we are dedicated to doing as many per day as possible. We announced a suspension in order to manage expectations while we deliver at a temporary reduced rate. Our goal is to have a new system set up in the next weeks with clarity for both the banks and for our customers.
3) Our previous release was rather vague, but for a reason. Mainly, we don’t want to upset our bank! They do great work, but our kind of business is completely new to the banking industry. Processing international wires does not just involve pushing a button. It requires real manpower processing everything individually, even in this modern computer age. While Bitcoin’s power lies in its ability to transfer fast and securely through software, the rest of the financial world does not operate like that (contrary to popular opinion). Money is surprisingly analog in many ways, and scarily digital in others.
4) Every customer’s funds are safe, sound, and accounted for. In fact, in our dealings with the Japanese financial regulators we have been assured that we are not under local pressure or suspicion and can operate as usual within normal legal frameworks.
5) Mt. Gox is certainly not a martyr, but it would be hard to argue that we aren’t “taking one for the team” as far as Bitcoin is concerned. We are a big target, and are absorbing the frustrations of Bitcoiners, regulators, banks, and a media that still doesn’t quite understand what Bitcoin is. This is a job we are happy to fill, and not just because we are compensated for it. Our hope is that, once Bitcoin finds its place, we will be able to say that we made a difference in sorting it all out in the early days. New exchanges, business models, merchants, traders, and consumers are rising up to innovate and create a whole new way of doing business. A lot of lawyers are getting new cars in the meantime too.
6) As risky as it is to invoke the name of Litecoin (LTC???), we must apologize for not keeping everyone up to date. The fact is that the current situation means a continued delay, but for good reasons. We’re looking at July right now, though that depends on a few things. Mainly, we want to do things correctly from the beginning.
7) The new trading engine is finished, is smokin’ fast, and is currently undergoing bench tests. We’re looking forward to deploying it very soon.
While not the most in-depth update we’d like to give, we hope that it has at least clarified a few things. In the next few weeks we are planning to do another AMA on Reddit when we’ll hopefully be able to answer many more questions and also shed some light on what’s been going on at Mt. Gox these past months. Thank you for your patience and support.