LJUBLJANA Jan 9 Bitstamp, one of the largest
exchanges for the digital bitcoin currency, said it would resume
trading later on Friday after suspending operations because of a
security breach on Sunday.
Bitstamp had suspended its service after the breach
resulted in the loss of around 19,000 bitcoins with a value of
some $5 million.
"Trading will resume during the day today," Damijan Merlak,
one of Bitstamp's two Slovenian founders, told Reuters in an
emailed message on Friday.
On Wednesday Bitstamp had said it expected that trading
could resume within 24 hours and added that customers would not
lose money because of the breach and that security would be
Merlak said various institutions from the European Union and
the United States were investigating the security breach without
naming them. The Slovenian police told Reuters it was not
involved in the investigation.
Last February, Bitstamp claimed that developers had come up
with a solution to thwart cyber attacks against its platform
after Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchanges, lost
an estimated $650 million worth of the virtual currency when its
computer system was hacked.
The Bitstamp breach represented a small fraction of its
total bitcoin reserve and the majority was held in secure
offline systems, the Slovenia-based firm posted on its website.
Bitcoin, the best-known virtual currency, started
circulating in 2009. Unlike conventional money, bitcoin is
generated by computers and is independent of control or backing
by any government.
A bitcoin is currently worth $276.80.
Merlak, 28, and his colleague Nejc Kodric, 25, both computer
experts, founded Bitstamp in 2011. According to the Slovenian
media the two had earned about 23 million euros ($27.2 million)
from the enterprise which places them among the 50 richest
($1 = 0.8469 euros)
(Reporting By Marja Novak; editing by Keith Weir)