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MtGox Bitcoin Exchange goes offline

MtGox, one of the world's largest Bitcoin exchanges, has gone offline after a reported hacking attack cost the company hundreds of millions of pounds.

A 'Crisis strategy draft' drawn up by the MtGox exchange was published yesterday by Bitcoin blogger and enthusiast Ryan Selkis, outlining the problems faced by the exchange.

"At this point 744,408 BTC are missing due to malleability-related theft which went unnoticed for several years," the draft reads.

"The cold storage has been wiped out due to a leak in the hot wallet. The reality is that MtGox can go bankrupt at any moment."

The authenticity of the document has not been confirmed by the company, however Selkis claims several sources close to MtGox have confirmed the figures.

At its current value, this number of bitcoins is worth around £230 million.

MtGox has been experiencing a number of difficulties in the last couple of weeks, with customers unable to make any withdrawals from the exchange since 7 February.

Related: Bitcoin exchange hit by cyber-attack shuts down temporarily

The firm reported "unusual activity", revealing that a loophole had allowed cyber-thieves to trade twice as many Bitcoins than the system registered.

Amid this turmoil the company announced that Mark Karpeles, the chief executive of MtGox, had resigned from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation.

The Bitcoin community has since slammed the failings of MtGox, releasing a joint statement yesterday supported by the founders of digital wallet Coinbase, as well as CEOs from Blckchain, BTC China and numerous other Bitcoin-related organisations

It stated: "This tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt.Gox was the result of one company's actions and does not reflect the resilience or value of bitcoin and the digital currency industry.

"As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today.

"We are confident, however, that strong Bitcoin companies, led by highly competent teams and backed by credible investors, will continue to thrive, and to fulfill the promise that Bitcoin offers as the future of payment in the Internet age."