The value of virtual currency Bitcoin has dropped 35% in a short timespan amidst a panic sell-off, reaching $130 from a high of $260.
The panic sell-off started after Bitcoin's main exchange, MTGox, failed to trade the required volume in the exchange, though it said the trading delay was not due to a hack attack.
Instead, said MTGox, the "rather astonishing" number of new accounts that had been opened in recent days caused a bump in trading volumes that it was unprepared for. In one day, the number of trades in Bitcoins tripled, it said. As the exchange slowed down, people panicked and sold even more, leading to a sharp fall in Bitcoin value.
"As expected in such situation people started to panic, started to sell Bitcoin in mass (Panic Sale) resulting in an increase of trade that ultimately froze the trade engine! To give you an idea of how impressive things were here are some numbers that we would love to share with you guys: - The number of trades executed tripled in the last 24hrs," MTGox said.
"The number of new accounts opened went from 60k for March alone to 75k new accounts created for the first few days of April! We now have roughly 20,000 new accounts created each day."
Recently, Bitcoin has also been targeted by hackers.