The value of Bitcoin fell sharply as Hong Kong based digital-currency exchange Bitfinex was hacked. It’s been estimated that the losses have been as much as $65 million worth of bitcoin.
Reports have been coming out saying that the digital currency’s value fell from $613 to $530, down 12% early Tuesday, according to CoinDesks. At one point, reports stated that it fell to as low as $480, down about 22%.
For years, Bitcoin has been heralded as the future of commerce. Its unregulated, decentralized nature has allowed it to escape government intervention and operate as any free market should.
Though, it’s blessing has time and time again become its curse. Without proper regulation, there have been a series of attacks directed at it, resulting in major losses.
In fact, bitcoin has a history of crashing and being hacked. In 2013, it happened three times with millions in losses. In one case, “an Australian based bitcoin wallet provider was hacked with a loss of 4100 Bitcoins, worth over $1 million at time of theft.”
The most recent attack happened in 2014 where Flexcoin was so badly hacked, that they were forced to close their doors immediately. In an online statement they said, “As Flexcoin does not have the resources, assets, or otherwise to come back from this loss, we are closing our doors immediately.” .
This Bitfinex hack, however, is the largest in recent history with 119,756 bitcoins being taken away, according to Zane Tacket, director of community at Bitfinex. It’s even more concerning considering the fact that China is Bitcoin’s largest market, the affects have already been historically the worst for the currency.
To remedy the situation, Bitfinex has already started unrolling mitigation efforts to try and rebound from the devastation. In a grim statement, Bitfinex said it would halt all trading as well suspend all transactions and that it will work with law enforcement to fix the issue.
“The theft is being reported to – and we are co-operating with – law enforcement,” the statement said. “We are deeply concerned about this issue and we are committing every resource to try to resolve it.”
For now it seems like the only thing holding Bitcoin back from achieving its high ambitions is the unwavering attacks directed at it.
Despite its tumultuous lifespan, however, its unregulated and decentralized character still attracts buyers from all over the globe. Though, as attacks keep rolling in, perhaps it’s time to devise more reliable infrastructures that can prevent hackers from getting in.