TOKYO (AP) - They're called bitcoins - and they are supposed to be the new "in" thing when it comes to virtual currency.
But the sudden disappearance of one of the largest bitcoin exchanges has put a chill those thinking about using the online exchanges.
Prominent bitcoin supporters said the apparent collapse of the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox exchange is an isolated case of mismanagement.
And they say the collapse will weed out "bad actors" in the industry.
But the sudden setback also raises serious questions about the use of bitcoins.
At least one supporter says the blow could be fatal to bitcoins' quest for public acceptance.