Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox said Friday it was filing for bankruptcy protection after losing almost 750,000 of its customers' bitcoins, marking the collapse of a marketplace that once dominated trading in the virtual currency. The company said it also lost around 100,000 of its own bitcoins. Together, the lost bitcoins would be worth approximately $473 million at market prices charted by the CoinDesk bitcoin
index, although the price of Mt. Gox bitcoin had fallen well below that index after it stopped bitcoin withdrawals in early February. (See a timeline of Bitcoin
Speaking to reporters at Tokyo District Court Friday after the bankruptcy filing, Mt. Gox owner Mark Karpelès said technical issues had opened the way for fraudulent withdrawals, and he apologized to customers.
"There was some weakness in the system, and the bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble," Mr. Karpelès said during a packed news conference at the Tokyo District Court press club.
The company's lawyer said at the news conference that Mt. Gox had outstanding debt of about ¥6.5 billion ($63.6 million) with assets worth ¥3.84 billion