Photo illustration of Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange website taken September 27, 2017. Picture taken September 27, 2017.
Cryptocurrency
exchange Bitfinex recently signed a deal aimed at monitoring and
stopping market manipulation on its platform.


REUTERS/Dado
Ruvic/Illustration



  • 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
    coin, according
    to Markets Insider data

Bitfinex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading
volumes, was down Tuesday morning after it experienced a cyber
attack. 

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
of data. 

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
to stop
onboarding new users altogether
. A flash crash at Bitfinex in

December left customers demanding answers and refunds
.

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Hacks and cyber attacks have long been a problem for the crypto
space. Notably, Mt. Gox, which was the world’s largest bitcoin
exchange,
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
Business Insider. 

“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
application.”

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
with clients. 

“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

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