Being on top has its disadvantages. Among bitcoin exchanges, this has meant being the target of DDoS attacks and account hacking. Back in March and April, MtGox was the poster child for these problems as the company was routinely hit by hackers aiming to take advantage of price swings the DDoS attacked caused. At the time, MtGox was routinely seeing overall market share of exchange volume above 60%. However, as MtGox’s fortunes slipped and the bitcoin exchange market has become more fragmented, other players have stepped up to become leaders. Among other exchanges, Bitstamp and BTC China have risen to catch up to, and on many days, surpass MtGox for volumes.
Despite more less smooth sailing over the last few months, and few lengthy reported outages, Bitstamp is currently seeing disruptions in trading. As a result, over the last two days, prices streaming from the firm via its API have had temporary disruptions of between one to ten minutes. While the firm hasn’t specifically stated the problems are the result of DDoS attacks, the periodic inability to access the Bitstamp website or trading platform resemble that of DDoS attacks. The current problems occur after Bitstamp announced to customers via its Twitter account that it was also experiencing issues with its banking software, resulting it withdrawal delays.
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— Bitstamp (@Bitstamp) November 18, 2013
As a result of the trading disruptions and fund processing delays, for the first time in months, prices of bitcoin on Bitstamp are exceeding those of MtGox. This trading action is significant as due to MtGox’s own withdrawal delays, customers were willing to price bitcoins at a premium to cash in their dollars for an easier to transfer currency. The current trading on Bitstamp relates that account holders may not be willing to wait to see how long the processing delays will take and are moving their fiat currency to the more fungible bitcoins.
For reference, at writing time, prices of one bitcoin on Bitstamp are trading at $483, versus $480 on MtGox, and only $415 on BTC-e. The sharp spreads between BTC-e and Bitstamp may be suggesting that BTC-e is seeing volumes as a result of Bitstamp customers rotating their funds to that exchange. Volume market share over the last 24 hours also suggests increased trading at BTC-e, as its market share has risen to nearly 17% from a seven day average of just above 10%.