Major cyber hack sees bitcoin value plunge

Bitcoin

In one of the biggest thefts in the digital currency’s history, a potential $65m (£49m) worth of bitcoin has been stolen after a security breach, with the price of bitcoin consequently dropping.

Hong Kong-based Bitfinex – one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world – suffered the hack, with 119,756 bitcoins stolen. This amounts to around 0.75 per cent of all bitcoin currently in circulation.

As a result, the value of bitcoin fell around 20 per cent on Tuesday after news of the hack broke, and all transactions on the virtual exchange are suspended while an investigation into the hack is carried out.

On its website, Bitfinex said: “Today we discovered a security breach that requires us to halt all trading on Bitfinex, as well as halt all digital token deposits to and withdrawals from Bitfinex.

“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. The theft is being reported to – and we are co-operating with – law enforcement.”

Only one previous bitcoin hack has topped this one in terms of severity. Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange MtGox filed for bankruptcy in 2014, after cyber criminals stole approximately 850,000 bitcoins, worth approximately $500 million.

X