It seemed bitcoin exchange Bitfinex was doing all the right things. In the end, that didn’t stop hackers from stealing $65 million.
The latest in a long list of attacks on the digital currency since its birth in 2009 has been particularly vexing for the bitcoin community. Not only was Bitfinex the largest exchange for U.S. dollar transactions, but the hack highlights that the industry hasn’t figured out critical security, despite years of learning from mistakes and making improvements to its infrastructure.
Even as the incident has triggered calls for audits in certain parts of the industry, experts don’t anticipate the investigations will unearth new ways of radically strengthening protection. What’s more telling, they say, is that the community’s willingness to vilify targets while shrugging off the need for industry-wide solutions is a sign it’s doomed to happen again.
“There is a long tradition of blaming the victim in the bitcoin community,” said Emin Gun Sirer, a Cornell University computer science professor who researches the currency. “But when you have a six-year long history of near-continuous key theft,