Bitcoin’s Endgame? a Second Firm Suspends Withdrawals
Bitstamp, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world—if not the largest—today became the second major firm to suspend customer withdrawals of bitcoins from their accounts, or “wallets.”
The firm’s action follows a similar freeze last week by Mt. Gox, another major exchange firm. In both cases the firms attributed the suspensions to the need to address a technicality in the bitcoin system known as “transaction malleability.” Neither firm has said when transactions will resume.
In simple terms, transaction malleability could allow someone to spend bitcoins twice, which is tantamount to counterfeiting the virtual currency. That’s an eventuality that bitcoin aficionados always have suggested is impossible in the algorithm-driven bitcoin system, because every transfer ostensibly has to be validated before it’s completed.