Update, Jan 5, 2014 10:57 GMT: Bitstamp’s homepage is inoperational and service appears to have been halted. The message reads:
“We have reason to believe that one of Bitstamp’s operational wallets was compromised on January 4th, 2015.
As a security precaution against compromises Bitstamp only maintains a small fraction of customer bitcoins in online systems. Bitstamp maintains more than enough offline reserves to cover the compromised bitcoins.”
It goes on to reassure customers that any losses will be covered by reserves. Users are again warned not to make new deposits, which the exchange says it will not cover if lost.
Traders on the Bitstamp exchange have grown concerned over reported issues with its hot wallet.
Several hours ago, users reported making bitcoin deposits which initially lagged several confirmations behind in the blockchain processing queue, and then disappeared from the incoming transactions log entirely without updating balances.
Not long after, Bitstamp sent out the following update to its customers:
Today our transaction processing server detected problems with our hot wallet and stopped processing withdrawals.
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You should STOP SENDING bitcoin deposits to your Bitstamp account IMMEDIATELY as private keys of your deposit address may be lost.
Your bitcoins already deposited with us are stored in a cold wallet and can not be affected.
We will send you more info as soon as possible.
Fears of last year’s MtGox collapse are lurking in the back of the minds of some traders, although Bitstamp did say that its cold wallet is fine.
According to bitcoinity.org, Bitstamp currently ranks fifth in global bitcoin trading volume, commanding 5% of the market.
Counterintuitively, bitcoin prices on Bitstamp are about 1% higher than on its peers. Its spread above BTC-e is above average at $6.60 (2.4%). Traders suspecting the security of their bitcoin holdings would typically drive prices downward on the venue in question.