Economy

Hackers nick $41m worth of Bitcoin from Binance exchange

Hackers nick $41m worth of Bitcoin from Binance exchange

Hackers have stolen almost £31 million in Bitcoin from one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, its chief executive has said.

This, commentators said, is testimony to Bitcoin's superiority over other cryptocurrencies; the hackers chose to steal it because they knew there was next to no chance of a reorg succeeding.

Last year, $950m in cryptocurrencies was stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges and infrastructure services such as wallets, up almost 260 percent from the previous year, research from US-based cyber security firm CiptherTrace showed.

To convert bitcoin to traditional money, hackers would have to move the stolen coins to a cryptocurrency exchange, which usually require details of account holders' identities. "The transaction is structured in a way that passed our existing security checks". "But we believe with withdrawals disabled, there isn't much incentive for hackers to influence markets".

Binance revealed that an alarm was triggered by its systems while the attack was underway but the company couldn't timely mitigate it. In the event that something with that statement changes over the coming days and more wallets are found to be compromised, we will update this story.

The hackers used a "variety of techniques" including phishing and viruses to obtain a large amount of user data, Binance said in a post on its website.

While Binance is one of the largest crypto-currency exchanges, the heist is not the largest the Bitcoin world has seen. There may be additional accounts that have been affected but not yet identified, Binance said.

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The biggest bitcoin exchange heist occurred in 2014, when Japan-based Mt. Gox said that attackers stole almost US$500 million worth of the digital currency.

The post continued: "We must conduct a thorough security review".

By 9.33am United Kingdom time, bitcoin was trading hands at $5,832.28, down 0.56 percent, according to Coin Desk. The company further assures no user funds will be intended as they plan on recovering the loss in full. Because, you guessed it, Binance has suspended deposits and withdrawals for roughly one week while it investigates the theft.

The hot wallet in question contained about two per cent of Binance's holdings and was robbed in a single transaction, Bloomberg wrote.

Another user highlighted the fact that hackers withdrew the same amount of Bitcoin past year. Trading remains available for all users, however.

The upwards momentum first began in early-April when Bitcoin was trading in the low-$4,000 region, before it incurred significant buying pressure that boosted its price up to $5,400, at which point it began trading sideways before breaking above $6,000 late-yesterday.