Just a few days after reports emerged that the infamous Mt Gox meltdown was an inside job, one of the biggest, oldest,and most trusted bitcoin exchanges — Bitstamp — just went offline after a security breach. Bitcoin exchanges come and go all the time, but this is different. Bitstamp is supposed to be the reliable one.
A hack is never good news in the bitcoin world, though Bitstamp's breach sounds like it could've been much worse. The company reassured its customers that the hack only affected its "operational wallet", that only "a small fraction of customer bitcoins" that were stored on internet-connected servers were vulnerable. The vast majority of Bitstamp's bitcoin are kept in "cold storage", servers that aren't connected to the internet.
This latest bitcoin exchange breach doesn't have anything to do with the Mt Gox bitcoin blunder, except for the fact that it sends a message to the world that bitcoin is far from secure. Bitstamp's CEO referred to his company as "the backbone of the entire Bitcoin industry" last year, and if that statement's true, that bone has just been broken by a bunch of greedy hackers. This, as the cryptocurrency's price continues to tumble, is bad news for everybody. [Wired]