US attorney Preet Bharara is going after Bitcoin exchanges with a series of subpoenas issued demanding information on how various different sites handled the recent cyber attacks that led to the demise of the MtGox exchange.
A source familiar with the US probe told Reuters that MtGox and other exchanges that deal in Bitcoins have been asked for information after at least three exchanges went down following attacks that resulted in large numbers of Bitcoins being stolen.
Another source went on to state that US federal law enforcement is investigating MtGox with a third source stating that the FBI is being kept informed on the situation.
Some of the other sites that went down at the same time as MtGox were Slovenian-based Bitstamp and Bulgaria’s BTC-e with the likelihood that the US authorities are taking a particular interest in them. There are no other clues as to the other firms that Bharara’s office is looking into and requests for a comment from Reuters were not returned.
One observer thinks that the logical next step will be to regulate the virtual currency and that the investigation will increase the likelihood of that taking place.
“If Bitcoin is going to be a currency then it needs to actually play by the rules. At this point, there’s been no regulation in this sector,” Mark Williams, a risk management expert who teaches finance at Boston University told The Guardian.
Japan, where Mt.Gox has its offices, is the only other country that is investigating the site with the country’s police, ministry of finance and financial watchdog all looking into the company’s operations.
All this could be bad news for the world of virtual currencies that has been up and down like a yo-yo over the past 12 months or so.