Crypto Rally Pauses as Details of $40 Million Binance Hack Emerge

The crypto market rally paused on Wednesday after it came to light that Binance, the world’s largest digital asset exchange by volume, experienced a $40 million security breach. The perpetrators made off with roughly 7,000 bitcoin (BTC) in a coordinated attack targeting Binance’s hot wallet.

Binance Hack: Update

As CCN reported, Binance experienced a high-profile security breach on Tuesday after hackers were able to obtain a large number of API keys and two-factor authentication codes, which gave them access to user accounts. From there, the “hackers used a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks,” Binance said in a statement. This resulted in the orchestrated theft of 7,000 BTC, which is equivalent to around $40 million at yesterday’s prices.

CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has since taken to Twitter to update users on the investigation and mitigation plan. He assured users that trading, deposits and withdrawals will not be affected as Binance performed some “unscheduled server maintenance…”

Apparently, “safu” is crypto slang for safe. Basically, CZ says Binance has no liquidity issues and does not require any financial help.

In the wake of the attack, Tron CEO Justin Sun offered to personally make up for Binance’s shortfall by depositing “7,000 BTC worth USDT” into the exchange.

CZ thanked Sun for the support but said it was unnecessary.

In a series of Twitter posts on Wednesday, CZ admitted that the Hackers were able to exploit “certain weak points” in the Binance architecture. Looking at the positive side, CZ said Binance “could “revenge” the hackers by “moving” the fees to miners,” which would deter future hacking attempts.

Binance Coin Plummets

Not unsurprisingly, markets reacted to the security breach by dumping Binance Coin, the exchange operator’s native token. The value of BNB was off by as much as 9% on Tuesday, reaching a low of $19.89, according to CoinMarketCap. BNB is currently valued at $20.26, having declined 8.7% over the past 24 hours.

BNB is by far one of the best-performing cryptocurrencies of 2019. The coin is up 227% since the start of the year. It peaked near $25 last month, having more than quadrupled in value since January 1.

Crypto Markets Decline

With the exception of Tron (TRX), all major cryptocurrencies had declined on Wednesday, as altcoins and tokens shouldered the heaviest losses. Bitcoin, which was targeted in the Binance attack, was down only 0.8% at $5,898.49. The largest cryptocurrency remains in a firm uptrend with the bulls eyeing $6,000 as the next major resistance test. Read more: Bitcoin Approaches $6,000 Following Overnight Surge; Will the Rally Continue?

Ethereum (ETH), which led the crypt0-market uptrend at the start of the week, dropped 4.1% to $169.99. Ether was up earlier this week amid reports that U.S. securities regulators were open to the idea of an ETH futures contract.

XRP declined 1% to trade at $0.3011. Bitcoin cash (BCH) fell 2.9% to reach $285.44. The value of Litecoin (LTC) was off by about 3.7%, having last traded at $74.11.

Following the latest drop, the cryptocurrency market cap is presently worth around $185.2 billion. The market reached $189.5 billion on Tuesday, a new high for the year.

Bitcoin continues to maintain a dominant grip on the crypto economy, accounting for 56.4% of the entire market cap.

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.

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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