Feb. 25 - Protesters have gathered outside of the former office of troubled Tokyo-based Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange after they were unable to access their funds. Melanie Ralph reports
Worried bitcoin investors are converging on the Japan based offices of Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange hoping to get answers about their investments. Earlier in February the best-known digital marketplace operator halted withdrawals indefinitely after detecting what they called unusual activity. This is the man they're wanting answers from, Mt. Gox former CEO Mark Karpeles. One of the protesters filmed Karpeles entering the building just a week ago. This investor flew from London to find out what's happened to his 300,000 dollar bitcoin holdings. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRYPTO-CURRENCY TRADER, KOLIN BURGES, SAYING: "I came because a lot of my money was tied up here and I wasn't getting any answers in the UK and they were not going to answer me, my concerns - they weren't answering anybody. So I thought the only thing to do would be to come out here and try to talk to the CEO personally." Bitcoin exchanges allow users to convert their bitcoins into U.S. dollars and other currencies but Mt. Gox's homepage wasn't loading. Six other major bitcoin exchanges have released a joint statement distancing themselves with Mt. Gox. Reuters interviewed Kapeles last year where he highlighted the risks of bitcoin investment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CEO OF MT. GOX, MARK KARPELES, SAYING: "If you buy bitcoins you should buy with keeping in mind that the value could be zero the day after. For now even if it shouldn't happen, there's still a chance it could happen." With bitcoin being vulnerable to technical issues and cyber attacks, the virtual currency isn't an investment for the faint hearted. Something that these investors are finding out first hand.