Chinese Bitcoin exchange BTER claims to have been hacked, with more than £1.1 million-worth ($US1.75 million) of the digital currency missing, CoinDesk reports. It is now offering a 720 bitcoin bounty — or roughly £112,000 ($US168,000) — to whoever can “(chase) it back.”
The Bitcoin were kept in the company’s “cold wallets,” a way of storing the digital currency offline.
The hack is the latest piece of bad press for the digital currency. Bitcoin got 2015 off to a bad start, losing 30% of its value in less than a week. And in late 2014, UK exchange BitStamp was hacked, with the attackers making off with £3.2 million ($US5 million) in funds.
Hong Kong exchange MyCoin also recently closed its doors, with at least £5.2 million ($US8.1 million) in investor funds missing. Unlike BitStamp or the infamous Mt. Gox before it, however, the MyCoin losses appear to be a classic Ponzi scheme rather than the victim of a hack attack.
There’s been some good news though: Coinbase opened the first regulated US exchange last month after a record-breaking VC funding round. And the Winklevoss twin-backed Gemini plans to do likewise in the coming months.
There’s no details yet as to how the BTER’s funds were stolen, but internet sleuths are already on the hunt for the missing Bitcoin. Because of the way the digital currency works, it’s possible to trace any transaction or funds indefinitely on the public ledger, or “blockchain” (you can’t tell who’s holding them, however.) Community members are currently tracking what they believe is the stolen Bitcoin on Reddit.
BTER says it’s offering a “720 BTC bounty for chasing it back.”
As CoinDesk notes, this isn’t the first time this has happened to BTER. In August 2014, £1 million ($US1.65 million) of digital currency NXT was allegedly stolen from the exchange.
Visitors to BTER’s website are currently greeted with this message: