The price of bitcoin fell sharply today exacerbating an already ongoing decline as global market participants reacted to news that one of the largest digital currency exchanges had been hacked.
Earlier this afternoon, Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex halted trading after discovering a security breach, which included taking its website offline and pausing all withdrawals and deposits. Representatives from the exchange told CoinDesk engineers were seeking to uncover issues at press time, though the company had confirmed roughly 120,000 BTC (more than $60m) was lost or stolen via social media.
In response, bitcoin prices fell to $560.16 by 19:30 UTC, $530 by 23:30 and $480 at press time, CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) data reveals.
This price was roughly 20% lower than the day’s opening of $607.37 and 27% below the high of $658.28 reached on Saturday, 30th July, when the digital currency began pushing lower.
Arthur Hayes, CEO of bitcoin leverage trading firm BitMEX, emphasized that this event had a clear and measurable effect on bitcoin prices.
He told CoinDesk:
“A high profile hack is not good for sentiment and curtails the ability for market makers to keep an orderly market.”
Market observer and trader Jacob Eliosoff provided similar input, telling CoinDesk that the event