The Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex does what no one has thought possible: it pays back to its customers what they had lost after the stock market had been hacked last year.
It was one of the most spectacular hacks of last year. At the beginning of August 2016 online thieves managed to steal some 72 million dollars of customer money in Bitcoins. The customers’ bitcoins should be well secured at the stock exchange. But for hitherto unknown reasons, the hackers succeeded in getting to the so-called “private keys” and thus to gain the power of the bitcoins.
First losses socialized
The 72 million dollars were only a fraction of what the customers had on their accounts at Bitfinex. But it was more than the Hong Kong stock market held. It threatened the end. Then Bitfinex went new ways. At first she socialized the debacle. It distributed the loss suffered simply to all customers. Their accounts were simply reduced proportionately. In a second step, it granted all these customers the same amount of debts. The promise was: Bitfinex continues. And should the stock market profit again, the debts are repurchased first.
The bill went on. In recent months, all crypto exchanges recorded record sales. Trade in digital currencies such as bitcoin and ethers rose exponentially. Also at Bitfinex. This also filled the internal cash registers thanks to the tax revenues. Fresh money also came from new investors who believe in a bright future of Bitfinex. On a regular basis it was possible to repay debts in months. In addition, customers were free to exchange their debts against shares in Bifinex. This was also made lively.
How surprisingly the successful mastery of the hack was for all parties involved was shown at the price of the negotiable debts. A promissory note was a promise for a dollar. Phased last autumn, however, they were only traded for 30 cents. Yesterday it was time. Bitfinex bought back the last bill to 1 dollar just eight months after the hack.
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