Hackers have stolen $65-plus million worth of Bitcoin after targeting a key exchange for the digital currency.
Following the bitcoins theft, the Bitfinex exchange stopped all trading and didn’t enable any withdrawals or deposits to take place, either.
The bitcoin rate consequently took a major dive.Bitfinex announced details of this security breach via an in-depth online notice posted on 2 August 2016. Confirming that an investigation, ‘to determine what happened’, was now in progress, exchange officials stressed that a review was underway to establish which Bitfinex users had been affected.
The Bitfinex closure will remain in place until initial inquiries have been concluded and the exchange’s ‘environment’ has been secured. By the same token, those visiting http://www.bitfinex.com will see only its maintenance page for the time being.Stolen Bitcoin UnitsAccording to information given to CNNMoney by company representative Zane Tackett, 119,756 bitcoin units were obtained by those behind the hack. That amount converts into some $65 million in ‘real’ money and represents circa 0.75 per cent of the world’s entire bitcoin circulation network.Law enforcement agencies have since been notified of this theft.
What isn’t yet known is whether the Bitfinex hack was launched from within or outside the exchange but that’s certainly one issue the investigation is set to uncover.Bitfinex’s notice continues by stating that customer losses will be handled on a case-by-case basis. ‘We may’, it suggests, ‘need to settle open margin positions, associated financing, and/or collateral affected by the breach’.
Settlements made will be done so based on 1800 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) market prices.Bitfinex HackBitfinex points out that the hackers only took bitcoin, and none of the other digital currencies bought and sold on it. Finally, it pledges to provide user updates ‘as and when appropriate’.‘We are deeply concerned about this issue and we are committing every resource to try to resolve it’, Bitfinex concludes.
‘We ask for the community’s patience as we unravel the causes and consequences of this breach.’
Analysts have likened Bitfinex’s situation to that experienced by another bitcoin exchange, Mt.Gox, two years ago. Investors were unable to withdraw money from it on account of what, said Mt.Gox, were technical problems and repeated hacks. Mt.Gox subsequently declared itself bankrupt.
Bitfinex is among the world’s most prominent bitcoin exchanges and, as Singaporean bitcoin expert Antony Lewis tells said, “…the biggest USD exchange, so outside China it’s the one that everyone has an account with.
It’s very liquid”, he adds: “…folk can trade on margin…lots of daily volume.”