Binance has denied that it was hacked after a system upgrade sparked an extensive halt of trading and customer withdrawals of funds at one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrencies exchanges.
The size of the problem at the exchange was revealed on Thursday at roughly 2:20am GMT. An official announcement told traders that “due to a significant increase in users and trading activity, Binance will need to extend the system upgrade” that began hours earlier. It said that it expected the work to be completed by 2pm GMT, but that “withdrawals and trading during this period will remain suspended.” However, by 1:07pm GMT, Binance was forced to significantly push back its target for the resumption of trade to 4am GMT on Friday.
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, tweeted that the exchange was experiencing a server error that could be resolved in a few hours.
We experienced a server issue on our replica database cluster, causing some data to be out of sync. Need to fully resync from master. Due the size of the data, it will take several hours. No data is lost. We appreciate your understanding and support.
— CZ (@cz_binance) February 8, 2018
Binance’s woes sparked a mix of criticism, concern and sympathy from users on Twitter.
One user tweeted:
“This is insane! 24 hours of downtime is completely unacceptable!”
But another said that:
“Technical difficulties/failures happen, especially to the biggest and most reputable exchange out there. It’s life, and we all willingly signed up for this.”
Unfortunately some crypto commentators started to say they heard rumors about Binance being hacked. The commentators included John McAfee.
Binance has suspended trading. The company claims that they are doing a system upgrade and will resume at 2:00 AM GMT Friday. While I have no hard evidence, rumours are flying among top crypto influencers that they may have been hacked. Will keep you informed.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) February 8, 2018
Changpeng Zhao responded to those tweets, with his own tweet, saying “We will prove you wrong.”
But you are spreading fud. We will prove you wrong. https://t.co/QTuK6t2ZS3
— CZ (@cz_binance) February 8, 2018
Kraken experienced similar unexpected downtime in January, when a scheduled two-hour long system upgrade turned into a more than two day delay until the exchange went back online.
Binance’s official Twitter, says trading activity is estimated to resume tomorrow on Feb. 9 at 4am (UTC) (11:00pm EST). Customers will have 30 minutes before trading starts to withdraw orders.
Joseph Young a well known Crypto writer and commentator tweeted that some of the false claims could be deliberate FUD mixed in with a desire to not appear to have been wrong.
People who fasely claim Binance is hacked (refuted by the company and CEO many times, no hack) would rather be in denial and protect their claims than apologize and clear FUD. Their ego is more important than their reputation it seems.
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) February 8, 2018
Binance had seen incredible new customer growth since it started in the summer of last year, adding 250,000 thousand new customers in one day on Jan. 4. In order to cope they had to temporarily suspended new user sign ups in early January. Exchanges Bittrex and Bitfinex have stopped new users sign ups for the same reason.
Binance had been the world’s largest crypto exchange in mid-January, at one point hosting trading of almost $5 bln over a 24-hour period. Binance, is now ranked second to OKEx on CoinMarketCap in trading volume.