Mt. Gox, once the world's largest bitcoin exchange, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Dallas, a move that will temporarily put U.S. legal action on hold against the Japanese company.
The company said without such protection it would spend substantial funds defending itself against a U.S. lawsuit seeking class action status that was filed in Chicago federal court.
Last month, Mt. Gox sought Chapter 11-style bankruptcy protection in Tokyo, saying it had lost bitcoins and cash worth some half a billion dollars due to hacker attacks.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be spent anonymously over the Internet. Bitcoin isn’t tied to a government or central bank and it isn’t backed by a precious metal, like gold. Instead, it has value because people believe it does. Last Friday, one bitcoin was worth $639.