One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges shut
Tuesday morning because of a cyber attack.
“The platform is under extreme load,” Bitfinex
said at 9:39 a.m. ET.
Bitcoin was trading slightly lower at $7,421 a
to Markets Insider data.
Bitfinex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading
volumes, was down Tuesday morning after it experienced a cyber
According to its incident page, the exchange shut early Tuesday
morning after it experienced problems with its trading engine.
For a short period the exchange was back online after the issue
was addressed. But the exchange was then hit with a so-called
denial-of-service attack, which is when a network of
virus-infected computers overwhelm websites with massive amounts
“The platform is under extreme load,” the exchange said at
9:39 a.m. ET. “We are investigating. Seems a DDoS attack was
launched soon after we relaunched the platform.”
Crypto exchange outages were common at the end of 2017 as bitcoin
soared to all-time highs near $20,000, but have been less common
in 2018 as prices and volumes across the digital coin market have
fallen back to earth.
In 2017, the breakneck growth of the market forced some exchanges
onboarding new users altogether. A flash crash at Bitfinex in
December left customers demanding answers and refunds.
Hacks and cyber attacks have long been a problem for the crypto
space. Notably, Mt. Gox, which was the world’s largest bitcoin
witnessed a massive DDoS attack in 2013. It shut in 2014
after a $450 million hack. JPMorgan estimates that a
third of bitcoin exchanges have been hacked.
“Running an exchange is one of the most complex server-side
operations out there,” Kyle Samani, a crypto fund manager, told
“On an exchange, everyone wants real time, all the time,
globally and the bots are hitting the APIs every few milliseconds
both to get orderbook updates and to trade,” Samani added. “Doing
this at scale is much harder than almost any other
Still, Gabor Gurbacs, the director of digital asset
strategy at VanEck, told Business Insider he said exchanges are
getting better at handling technical issues and communicating
“Recently, exchanges started to halt trading, especially
important for margin trades, and provided timely and more
transparent notes to customers in cases of service disruptions,”
Gurbacs said. “It’s a sign of maturation in my view.”
2018’s less volatile trading environment has given exchanges an
opportunity to catch their breath. Bitfinex didn’t experience any
technical incidents in the entire month of May.
Bitcoin was trading lower in the aftermath of the DDos attack.
The cryptocurrency was down 1.04% at $7,421 a coin, according
to Markets Insider data.