MT. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, has suspended users from withdrawing the virtual currency as US dollars for the next two weeks, due to unusually high demand.

Mt. Gox has suspended customers from withdrawing Bitcoins as dollars.

The Tokyo-based exchange, which handles around 70% of all global Bitcoin transactions and 80% of those in the US, said it has experienced unusually high volumes of deposits and withdrawals recently, which "made it difficult for our bank to process the transactions smoothly and within a timely manner," causing delays for its customers.

Customers are able to continue trading in any other currency and Mt. Gox hasn't suspended deposits in US dollars, so users can put cash in, but are unable to convert their Bitcoins into dollars to withdraw it.

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The move will doubtless go down badly with customers, especially as Mt. Gox is currently being sued by CoinLab, another Bitcoin exchange, for $75m (£48m) on allegations that it had failed to deliver on a deal that would see Mt. Gox offload much of its US customer base to the Seattle-based CoinLab.

The exchange said in a statement this week: "We are currently making improvements to process withdrawals of United States Dollar denominations, and as a result are temporarily suspending cash withdrawals of USD for the next two weeks.

"Please be reassured that USD deposits and transfers to Mt. Gox will remain unaffected, as will deposits and withdrawals in other currencies, and we will be resuming USD withdrawals once the process is completed."

Speculation among users now points towards the one-way suspension being implemented because Mt. Gox has run low on cash, but the exchange has refused to comment on this.

What it did say, is that it promises to debut a "dramatically improved trading engine" very soon, so an optimistic view on the suspension could be to ease traffic while transferring to the new system.

Mt. Gox made headlines earlier this year when it was subject to a massive round of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks in April, which saw the exchange cease trading for a number of hours after its systems were slowed to a crawl.

The slowing of transactions panicked traders, who tried to withdraw their funds, lowering the value of Bitcoin. Those behind the attacks would then buy Bitcoin at the lower rate, before waiting for Mt. Gox's servers to stabilise, then sell for a profit once the value of coins had recovered.