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(Pocket-lint) - Bitcoin has been grabbing all the headlines of late, with the web-based currency's rocky trading record causing all sorts of losses for investors.

Now, Mt. Gox, the main Bitcoin trading exchange, has halted trading. The exchange explains that it needs to "allow the market to cooldown following the drop in price". Trading should resume at 10pm ET, but whether the ill fated e-currency will have recovered by then remains to be seen.

Right now, those who try and login to the Mt. Gox website will be confronted with a red bar at the top of the page explaining the situation. 

Read: What is Bitcoin?

The close-down follows a recent period of panic selling on Bitcoin which ended up halving the currency's value. Prices dropped from £169 down to £84 in a period of just six hours.

For those interested in learning more about Bitcoin, we have put together an explanatory feature on the currency. It is best thought of as a tradable money generated by shared computer power.

You can go Bitcoin mining if you fancy it, instead of buying it, but this requires a substantially powerful computer. Alternatively you can buy and trade the currency somewhere like Mt. Gox, which will accept you turning Bitcoin into your local currency.

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Given the rapid fluctuations in price right now with Bitcoin it might seem like an exciting investment idea. Personally we say steer clear until things stabilise, especially if main trading exchanges are closing down for periods of time.

top bitcoin exchange halts trading to allow markets to recover image 1

Update: The market has reopened at $78.

Writing by Hunter Skipworth. Originally published on 16 April 2013.