Mt. Gox sets up hotline for angry bitcoin customers

Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection over the weekend, admitting it had lost more than £300 million worth of the digital currency.

The company has set up a call centre for customers who own holdings with the exchange, though it doesn’t seem to able to say whether it can recover any lost bitcoins, or repay users.

The company confirmed it had lost around 750,000 customer bitcoins, plus 100,000 of its own, equating to £303 million at current exchange rates.

In line with earlier reports, Mt. Gox claimed hackers had exploited a well-known feature in bitcoin’s protocol called “transaction malleability”. If hacked, it allows a transaction to be processed twice. Mt. Gox admitted that more bitcoins could be missing.

Call centre woes

The company has set up a hotline to answer queries from infuriated customers, but users posting to Reddit found most of the operators didn’t speak English, and wouldn’t hand out any information. A call from PC Pro didn’t get through as the call centre is only open during Japanese business hours.

One Reddit poster did get through to Mt. Gox’s call centre and recorded his conversation with an English-speaking operative. When asked how Mt. Gox planned to repay customers, an operative simply pointed him to the company’s website and told him to “follow court proceedings”.

The operative said it was likely Mt. Gox customers would eventually get some of their cash back, but said a court case could take several years.

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