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Singaporean Crypto Exchange Bitrue Loses $4 Million in XRP & Cardano Hack

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To say that the past 48 hours for the cryptocurrency market has been crazy may be a bit of an understatement. Bitcoin has rallied by 20%, collapsed by 14%, rallied by 10%, to then fall by another 15%.

And on the exchange side of the market, we saw Coinbase temporarily lose service, Binance seemingly slow, BitMEX post record volumes, and a little-known exchange fall victim to a hack. That’s right, yet another digital asset exchange has been hacked.

BitTrue

Singaporean Crypto Exchange Hacked

Announced Wednesday night via an extensive Twitter thread, Bitrue, a Singapore-based exchange, has lost a large stash of XRP and Cardano (ADA) in a recent hack. Being surprisingly candid and upfront about the details of this debacle, the exchange sad that a hacker had managed to siphon “9.3 million XRP and 2.5 million ADA” from Bitrue’s “hot wallet” to “different exchanges”. The numbers can be verified via a block explorer link that Bitrue released.

The XRP in question is valued at some $3.8 million; the ADA stolen is worth around $200,000. Losses are purportedly limited to the two aforementioned cryptocurrencies but centralized in XRP due to the exchange’s focus on the Ripple-backed asset.

Unlike some exchange hacks, such as the infamous $550 million breach of Japan’s CoinCheck and the historical Bitcoin disappearance on Mt. Gox, Bitrue seemingly has everything under control. It knows exactly what went wrong:

“At approximately 1am June 27 (GMT+8), a hacker exploited a vulnerability in our Risk Control team’s 2nd review process to access the personal funds of about 90 Bitrue users. The attack was soon detected, and [trading] activity was temporarily suspended on Bitrue.”

Furthermore, the exchange has promised to return “100% of lost funds” to the 90 affected users, a move which not many hacked cryptocurrency platforms have promised. Bitrue has also claimed to have been in close communication with Huobi, Bittrex, and ChangeNow, three crypto platforms which received the hacked funds that have since “frozen the affected funds and accounts.” The company closed off its thread revealing that it has contacted the “relevant authorities in Singapore” to crack down on the culprit of the attack.

Not the First Hack, Nor The Last

This marks the second hack on a Singaporean exchange in 2019. Earlier this year, hackers managed to steal a large amount of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other tokens from DragonEx. Updates on this imbroglio have been scarce, but the platform continues to trade hundreds of millions worth of volume day in, day out if CoinMarketCap data is accurate.

This is, of course, not the only other hack in 2019. For the second time in 12 months, Bithumb was hacked for a large amount of EOS (and potentially XRP) in late-March.

But out of the hacks in 2019, the most notable has to be the unfortunate debacle that befell Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange. For those who missed the memo, the exchange lost 7,000 BTC (then worth $40 million, now worth ~$80 million) — then around 2% of the exchange’s total Bitcoin holdings — from its hot wallet due to a breach in its API.

The interesting part about this case was that at one point, individuals in the cryptocurrency community suggested that Binance should try and arrange a blockchain rollback, which would see miners fork the chain to ensure that the hacked transactions didn’t occur. This never came to fruition as a result of community backlash and logistical concerns, but Binance managed to pay its users back via its so-called “SAFU” fund.

Regardless, you know what they say, “if you don’t own your keys, you don’t own your Bitcoin”. With hacks like the aforementioned continuing to occur, it can only make sense for more and more investors to start to send their cryptocurrency to hard wallets.



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I am a writer who has been following the cryptocurrency space since 2013. My insights and interviews have been featured in leading publications in the industry such as LongHash, NewsBTC, and Decrypt. When I am not writing, I work as a team member of the EXODUS division of HTC, a Taiwanese electronics company. I own a small amount of Bitcoin. Contact NickC@blockonomi.com

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