Bitcoin Price in a Holding Pattern Following $60 Million Zaif Heist

Bitcoin’s price stabilized on Thursday, recovering from a sharp but brief selloff that dragged values to their lowest in over a month. Meanwhile, markets awaited the fallout from yet another security breach of a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange,

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin edged up 0.4% on Thursday to hit $6,415.30. The leading digital currency has bounced back sharply from five-week lows after prices briefly touched $6,100 on Bitfinex at around 18:00 UTC on Wednesday. The sharp selloff appears to have been short lived and not indicative of the wider market trend.

Bitcoin’s trading range narrowed significantly on Thursday, with prices fluctuating within a $62 band. Total trade volumes over the last 24 hours amounted to $4.2 billion, according to CoinMarketCap,

With the exception of yesterday’s sudden and short-lived reversal, bitcoin has been in a holding pattern for most of the week. Neither the bulls nor the bears have shown signs of stepping up to push the market significantly in either direction.

The value of all cryptocurrencies edged up slightly on Thursday, reaching $202.5 billion, according to latest available figures. XRP was the biggest gainer percentage-wise, rising 11% to $0.355.

Hackers Target Zaif

Zaif, a licensed Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, announced Thursday it had suffered a security breach that compromised as much as $60 million, mostly in bitcoin. The exchange first noticed suspicious activity on Sept. 14, prompting the sudden closure of asset deposit and withdrawal services. It received confirmation that the outflows were a coordinated cyber theft three days later.

In addition to bitcoin, the attackers successfully targeted bitcoin cash and Monacoin in their theft.

The exchange has announced that efforts to re-enable deposits and withdrawals are already underway and that it has already reported the incident to the Japanese Treasury Department.

Zaif currently has roughly 2.2 billion yen ($20 million) in reserves. To cover the losses, it has reached an agreement with another Japanese cryptocurrency exchange by the name of Fisco. According to various reports, Fisco will hand over $44.5 million Zaif in exchange for an ownership stake in the company.

Japan continues to be the epicenter of cyber attacks targeting cryptocurrency exchanges. The attacks have been so severe as to prompt local authorities to hasten new legislation to govern domestic exchanges.

The biggest attack to inflict a Japanese exchange occurred in January when Coincheck was taken for $530 million.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi