Steam auction on hold after users find exploit, pilfer online currency (updated)

Valve's Steam Holiday Auction was supposed to bring users together to swap community items and bid on games, but things seem to have gone horribly wrong. The idea was to acquire Steam "gems" by trading cards and other objects then use them to bid on nearly 2,000 games. Unfortunately, some Reddit users noticed that certain accounts were showing billions of gems (worth thousands of dollars of auction value) in a very short time, possibly obtained by exploiting a site glitch. That prompted Valve to shut down the site and post a notice saying "there have been some issues with Gems and the Steam Holiday Auction is temporarily closed."

Now users are reporting that items they purchased are missing from their accounts and have demanded some kind of official response from Valve. So far it hasn't said what went wrong, but did say "The elves are working frantically to get the issues sorted out, and the auction will start again as soon as they're done." We doubt that makes you feel better if you lost anything, so we've reached out for more information.

Update: Valve still hasn't officially said what's gone wrong, but it has sorted out how it's going to deal with exploit. A new update on the Holiday Auction page explains that all gems created by users will be returned to their inventory. Gems purchases from the community marketplace will be refunded and all trades involving Gems (presumably the source of the exploit) are being investigated. Oh, and all bids up until this point have been cancelled -- the entire promotion is going to be reset when the auction comes back online.

Update 2: The Auction is back on starting December 15th. Valve added that that "anyone who traded away items in exchange for Steam Gems on the first day of bidding will receive a copy of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in their Inventory." A full explanation is below.

NOTE: On Thursday Dec 11th we had an issue with Gems that meant we needed to reset the Auction and start over. We apologize for the interruption. Any placed bids will need to be placed again.