The brief lull has ended, and hackers are at it again.
Hong Kong-based Bitfinex was forced to halt its operations on Tuesday after discovering a security breach in the system, resulting in bitcoins stolen from some the exchange’s users. On Reddit, Bitfinex community director Zane Tackett estimated that some 119,756 bitcoins—worth more than $61 million at current exchange rates—went missing during the breach.
Bitfinex halted trading, withdrawals and deposits in all digital currencies, including ethereum, but the exchange said the breach was limited to bitcoin wallets. The causes of the breach are still unclear, but the hackers appeared to have bypassed the bitcoin exchange’s mandated limits on withdrawals.
“The theft is being reported to—and we are co-operating with—law enforcement,” Bitfinex said in a blog post. “While we conduct this initial investigation and secure our environment, bitfinex.com will be taken down and the maintenance page will be left up.”
Bitfinex, recently known as the largest exchange for U.S. dollar-denominated transactions, promises to address any customer losses following the investigation, although it’s unclear whether the bitcoin exchange can sustain a loss of that magnitude.
“As we account for individualized customer losses, we may need to settle open margin positions, associated financing, and/or collateral affected by the breach,” Bitfinex said. “Any settlements will be at the current market prices… We are taking this necessary accounting step to normalize account balances with the objective of resuming operations. We will look at various options to address customer losses later in the investigation.”
Current bitcoin price and daily transaction volume
The latest hack has caused another drop in the price of bitcoin, which is still reeling from the effects of the recently-held closed door meeting between miners and bitcoin core developers.
The popular digital currency plummeted below the $600 mark, trading at $536.48 on Wednesday with a market capitalization for $9.54 billion.
Wednesday’s price drop was reminiscent of the market reaction after the infamous Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after claiming it had lost $450 million worth of bitcoins to hackers. In May, Hong Kong-based Gatecoin was also forced to shut down its exchange and ports due to a breach in the system that resulted in the loss of 185,000 ethers and 250 bitcoins, worth an estimated $2.14 million.