Bitcoin gets hacked, $72 million stolen


The world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Bitcoin  took a downturn after hackers stole $72 million worth of bitcoins in an unprecendented attack of the platform.  The currency dropped by 5.5 percent against the US dollar on today at 2:30 pm in Tokyo to bring its two day loss to a total of 13 percent. Last Monday, it also dipped by 6.2 percent but it is not certain that it was caused by the hack.

Bitcoin exchange, Bitfinex which is based in Hong Kong said it stopped all trading, deposits and withdrawal activities after it found out the system had been breached. They say that they are investigating the hack together with law enforcement agencies and confirmed that some users’ bitcoins were stolen.

Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase which is a popular bitcoin wallet and trading platform was responded to the attack saying ““Yes — it is a large breach… , 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.”

Bitfinex confirmed on Wednesday that 119,756 bitcoin, or an estimated $72 million at current prices was lost to the hackers. The attack however did not attack other cryptocurrencies and USD deposits. Bitfinex has asked for patience from its customers as it seeks to unravel the causes and effects of the hack.

This hack has caused the market capitalization of bitcoin to drop by over $1.5 billion this week according to cryptocurrency analysts at CoinDesk. This is however not the first time a bitcoin exchange was hacked, In 2014 another Tokyo based bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox which was then the largest bitcoin exchange worldwide was hacked and declared bankruptcy few weeks later, the price of bitcoin nosedived by 30 percent that month.