Bitcoin price dropped significantly due to the largest theft in bitcoin’s history since Mt Gox. Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex announced that hackers had stolen about $75 million of the cryptocurrency. As a result, the exchange has stopped trading, withdrawals and deposits. Now, the police are investigating the details of the crime.
“Yes, it is a large breach,” said Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency wallet and trading platform. “Bitfinex is a large exchange, so it is a significant short term event, although Bitcoin has shown its resiliency to these sorts of events in the past.”
According to Bloomberg, Bitfinex has confirmed that it lost 119,756 bitcoin as a result of hacker attack. As a reminder, Mt Gox was hacked in February 2014 and filed for bankruptcy weeks later. That month Bitcoin prices dropped by 30 percent.
The theft at Bitfinex was limited only to bitcoin, however the exchanges has halted trading in all digital currencies, including ethereum. US dollar deposits were not touched.
“We are investigating the breach to determine what happened, but we know that some of our users have had their bitcoins stolen. We are undertaking a review to determine which users have been affected by the breach. While we conduct this initial investigation and secure our environment, bitfinex.com will be taken down and the maintenance page will be left up. We will look at various options to address customer losses later in the investigation,” said Bitfinex in the blog post. “We ask for the community’s patience as we unravel the causes and consequences of this breach.”
Bitfinex took a lead in US dollar-denominated transactions for the last month while Chinese exchange OKCoin was the largest overall bourse for trading in the digital currency.
The hacker attack is not the first problem Bitfinex has been facing recently. It has been experiencing numerous challenges over the past few months that resulted in an unexpected freezing of trading on at least two occasions. In both cases bitcoin price dropped by almost $100. According to Bitfinex, the problems were connected their data servers. However, the exchange didn’t provide any investigative report.
Last year, Bitfinex partnered with Palo Alto-based BitGo that offers faster confirmation and withdrawals thanks to multiple-signature security to store user deposits online.
“Since we now enforce multi-institutional second factor authentication (Bitfinex will be the first factor and BitGo the second factor), attackers are required to compromise both institutions before getting funds,” stated Bitfinex after the partnership was announced.
We will keep you informed as the details of investigation are announced.