Hackers show bitcoin risk
They year 2015 has not started well for bitcoin with prices having fallen 12%, from $320 to $288. The cyber attack on a leading bitcoin exchange is the latest challenge for the fledgling digital currency.
Bitstamp, Europe’s leading bitcoin exchange–and third largest globally–has been off-line following a breach in their system by hackers on Sunday night. The UK based company has suspended lodgements and withdrawals and reported that roughly $5.1 million, around 19,000 BTC, had been ‘lost.’ The revelation follows the disclosure that Bitstamp’s wallet system has been compromised, prompting it to halt deposits and later shut down its platform entirely according to Coin Desk.
Today, Bitstamp said it expected to resume trading within 24 hours after suspending operations because of the ‘security breach.’
The bulk of the digital currency units are in cold storage–on computers not connected to the internet–and are therefore safe from further predations, the company has said. “Bitcoin customers can rest assured that their bitcoins held with us before temporary suspension of services . . . are completely safe and will be honoured in full,” Bitstamp said.
The year 2014 was a tough year for bitcoin with prices falling from over $800 to just over $300. At its height, Bitcoin was trading at $1240. But in the run-up to and following the bankruptcy of the leading Mt Gox exchange, it has declined in value to around $285.
This includes bank deposits in our modern digital banking system. In the event of a systemic crisis involving issues with ATMs, online bank accounts, capital controls and bail-ins – it will be prudent to own some assets that are outside of the financial system and indeed outside of the technological grid.