Crypto-exchange-Bithumb-hacked
Bithumb exchange/Courtesy of Bithumb

Crypto exchange Bithumb hacked

Bithumb, the world’s second-largest crypto exchange, said on March 29 that it was hacked. It did not disclose details but experts point out that the firm’s EOS wallet was hacked so that 3 million EOS tokens worth some $12.5 million were spirited away.

The accident prompted Bithumb to shutter its deposits and withdrawals portal on March 30, citing a need to “provide more stable service.” Pointing its fingers to insiders, the Seoul-based exchange apologized for the inconvenience.

“About 10:15 p.m. on the 29th, we detected abnormal withdrawal of the company’s cryptocurrency through Bithumb’s abnormal trading monitoring system. According to the company’s manual, Bithumb secured all the cryptocurrency from the detection time with a cold wallet and checked them by blocking deposit and withdrawal service,” a Bithumb official said.

“As a result of the inspection, it is judged that the incident is an accident involving insiders because the external intrusion path has been revealed until now. Based on the facts, we are conducting intensive investigations”

To grapple with the incident, Bithumb said that it is cooperating with a state-backed security agency. 

Prolonged crypto winter

It marks another piece of bad news for Bithumb, which announced its massive layoff plan last month _ it strives to cut its payrolls by up to 50 percent from 310 to 150. This is a sharp contrast to a year ago when Bithumb tried to double its staffing from 450 to 850 so as to cope with the bullish market.

The prolonged bear market for cryptocurrency, called the “crypto winter,” has prodded exchanges to take similar measures across the world.

Blockchain startup Steemit laid off almost 70 percent of its staff late last year and Ethereum studio Consensys followed suit.

“While we were building out our team over the last many months we have been relying on projections of basically a higher bottom for the market and since that’s no longer there, we’ve been forced to lay off more than 70 percent of our organization and begin a restructuring,” Steemit founder Ned Scott said in a Youtube statement.