One of the largest crypto exchanges by trading volume, Binance, has had to strenuously deny that its central server has been hacked. The exchange unexpectedly went offline on February 7th, which the company has publically said, relates to an upgrade of the server.
Anxiety amongst crypto investors is obviously high as crypto theft has become an all too common occurrence in recent times. The downtime of Binance was supposed to last only a few hours but at this stage has been close to two days.
To Binance’s credit the communication from the company CEO, Changpeng Zhao, has been excellent, and the projected time for the exchange to be back up is 4am UTC 2018/02/09 as per the official Twitter account.
Enigmatic crypto personality John McAfee has been central to the confusion tweeting that he heard from his sources that the exchange has been compromised.
Zhao hit back at McAfee’s aspersions on twitter saying “we will prove you wrong”, before linking the public addresses of both their ethereum and bitcoin wallets. The blockchain shows positive balances of $263mln and $151mln worth of coins respectively.
In addition Binance tweeted a note that “Blockchain thankfully provides a public ledger that can disprove any FUD.”
Most money is not kept of exchanges, but in cold storage such as wallets and external vaults and hardware. However like any markets, tokens need to be on exchanges so that they can be traded. This means that the security of exchanges must be as strong as bank.
Binance is expecting to be back up online later today and the results of the downtime could go one of two ways. If the exchange has been compromised and any sizeable amount of tokens have been stolen it will be another black-eye for digital currency, however if this server downtime is as simple as a system upgrade, or even a foiled attack by Binance, it will be a much-needed shot in the arm for the security of digital assets and the market as a whole.
Until that time when we can make further findings, its just another day of twists and turns in the crypto sphere.