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Nearly $2M in bitcoins feared lost after Chinese cryptocurrency exchange hack

February.17.2015 0 Comments

A Chinese cryptocurrency exchange revealed on Sunday that 7,170 bitcoins have been stolen by hackers. The current value is about US$1.75 million.

The BTER exchange is temporarily closed while it tries to track down the culprits and recover the bitcoins. BTER’s site is now displaying only a notice about the hack along with a reward of 720 bitcoins (US$176,000) for hunting down the perps. This was first noticed by Coindesk.

The heist in China comes a month after Slovenia-based Bitstamp lost just over US$5 million to hackers.

While the Bitstamp thieves haven’t yet been nabbed, the BTER crew hopes that some of its funds can be recovered by tracking the exact transaction in which the theft took place.

Cold, hard cash

Adding to the mystery, the 7,170 bitcoins stolen from BTER were taken from on offline cryptocurrency wallet – dubbed a “cold wallet” – that should not have been inaccessible to hackers because it wasn’t stored on a web-connected server. Bitcoin enthusiasts discussing the BTER heist on Reddit speculate that it might have been an inside job by someone with physical access to the exchange’s servers.

BTER’s official Weibo account points out that the heist has been reported to local police. All bitcoin wallets have been taken offline as a precaution, but the exchange will start to arrange cryptocurrency extractions soon. No timeline is provided.

Earlier this month a very different kind of bitcoin-related crime resulted in approximately US$387 million being stolen. In that case in Hong Kong, a Bernie Madoff-style pyramid scheme preyed on people keen to speculate on bitcoin.