Dear traders, the HitBTC exchange is temporary unavailable from 11:25 UTC due to a hardware fault. We are working on resolving it – please allow maximum 2 hours for full recovery. Your funds are safe.
— HitBTC (@hitbtc) July 31, 2018
This afternoon at 11:25 UTC, cryptocurrency exchange HitBTC went offline. In the above tweet, the company simply explains that a hardware fault has occurred and thus the exchange would be unavailable for around 2 hours. As a result of this, customers lost access to their funds and their ability to trade through the exchange. HitBTC reaffirm in their announcement that no user funds have been affected by this.
We must consider a few things here. First of all, as HitBTC went offline, during downtime Bitcoin lost around $300.00. As it slipped past $8,000.00, recent buyers after short gains may have wanted to sell off during this period, though due to this undisclosed technical issue they have been unable to do so. In investor with 5BTC could have lost around $1,500.00 just on the value of Bitcoin alone here (assuming they only use HitBTC of course).
The really important thing is the lack of transparency within HitBTC. Cryptocurrency relies on transparency. Customers rely on honesty and clarity. Here, HitBITC have disregarded this and supplied a way below standard description of what is happening here, leaving customers at a loss and genuinely quite worried about their funds. Yes, HitBTC have promised that customer funds aren’t affected, but what does that actually mean?
Was it a technical fault, was it a hack, was it something worse?
We can’t forget this – according to Crypto Vest:
“Technical faults are not something unheard of and cryptocurrency exchanges go offline for a number of reasons. Sometimes, as was the case with Binance, the downtime is scheduled, yet it can last longer than planned. However, very often the reason for sudden downtimes is a hacker attack on the system. In the past several months, there were many cases of hackers stealing significant sums from various crypto exchanges. The most recent were the South Korean major Bithumb, which lost $31 million in June (and recovered about half of it) and Coinrail.”
“Earlier this year, the world witnessed the largest crypto heist in history so far, with the Japanese exchange Coincheck and its clients “relieved” of coins worth $550 million.”
If HitBTC provided customers with some more detailed information about what was going on, the customers would be able to carry out some further research themselves in order to truly understand the status of their funds. If they can be sure themselves their funds are protected, they won’t be forced to worry as much.
HitBTC shouldn’t be keeping their customers in the dark about news like this, it can be very dangerous. Instead, they just need to be honest. If something has gone wrong, just admit it, that way at the very least we can all take steps to make our own decisions on what to do next.