Skip to main content

Mt.Gox Glitch Results in $1,000,000,000 High

Op-ed - Mt.Gox Glitch Results in $1

If you have been following Bitcoin closely the past couple of days, you may have heard about MtGox trading bitcoins at $1B a piece.

Though all evidence of the event has been erased from Mt.Gox and BitcoinCharts history, Mt.Gox briefly showed a high of $1B per Bitcoin on the 9th of August, 2012. Market depth on the ask chart was also incredibly low, showing a fraction of what might be considered normal.

Some users speculated that Mt.Gox’s live data stream had somehow been hacked to display incorrect data. Ultimately, it was confirmed by Natalie on the Mt.Gox support team to be the result of a technical glitch, not a hack or any other sort of malicious behavior. Reportedly, Mt.Gox’s creator MagicalTux stated that a 0-amount trade “triggered an old bug in the trade engine we’ve been tracking for a while”.

Witnesses to the incident uploaded a variety of screenshots highlighting the vast discrepancy from normal trading operations (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

The full statement posted by Mt.Gox’s support team is shown below.


Hello Mt.Gox Users,

Trading was unavailable for a short period of time today. There were invalid trades taking place as well as trade orders that could not be cancelled. Therefore we had to halt the trading engine and consequently, most ask orders were cancelled.

However, we have resolved this issue and trading has now resumed. Invalid trades have been cancelled and trade orders can now be cancelled. Users who have had their ask orders cancelled are kindly requested to place their orders again.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused and we will make every effort to prevent this from happening again in the future. Thank you for your continued support to Mt.Gox.

UPDATE: After investigating, we found out that the issue is likely due to an old piece of code in the trade engine that checks for bid/ask cross (i.e. negative spread). This piece of code would check for bids and asks differences, but did not make sure that both were in the same currency.

To prevent this bug issue from recurring, we have placed some extra checks to halt trading automatically should a similar issue happen again. Thank you once again for your kind understanding in this matter.

UPDATE 2: It appears that some new trade engine features that were rolled into production earlier today caused this bug to become possible. We have now found the exact cause and resolved this bug.

We now are 100% confident that today’s problem was due to a technical glitch and we would like to assure that it was not caused by any malicious attempts.


Image Copyright 2006 (CC BY-SA 2.0) hashashin