Nearly 120,000 units of digital currency bitcoin worth about US$72 million was stolen from the exchange platform Bitfinex in Hong Kong, making it the second-biggest security breach ever of such an exchange.
Bitfinex is one of the largest exchanges for bitcoin, and is known in the digital currency community for having a platform that has deep liquidity in the U.S. dollar/bitcoin currency pair.
Zane Tackett, Director of Community Product Development for Bitfinex, told Reuters on Wednesday that 119,756 bitcoin had been stolen from users’ accounts and that the exchange had not yet decided how to address customer losses.
“The bitcoin was stolen from users’ segregated wallets,” he said.
Bitcoin plunged just over 23 percent on Tuesday after the news broke. On Wednesday it was up 1 percent at $545.20 on the BitStamp platform.
Tackett added that the breach did not “expose any weaknesses in the security of a blockchain”, the technology that generates and processes bitcoin, a web-based “cryptocurrency” that can move across the globe anonymously without the need for a central authority.
The volume stolen amounts to about 0.75 percent of all bitcoin in circulation.
“It’s the biggest USD exchange, so outside China it’s the