Bitmex down, Binace accounts hacked and Japanese regulators rumoured to be closing some exchanges down. IT should also be noted that all exchanges, that were functional, have seen the largest volume of sells at once in a long time. This all points to a coordinated, planned move to drop the bitcoin price. Bitfinex exchange alone moved nearly 12,000 btc in only 30 minutes.
The news from the Japanese regulators was that they are preparing to crack down on cryptocurrency exchanges by issuing “administrative punishment notices” to several and suspending others from doing business.
Overall the bitcoin price dropped more than $1,000 amid reports of exchange and regulatory issues. The price hit a low of $9,495, a decline of more than $1,200 from the day’s opening price of $10,709.
At the time of writing the bitcoin price has recovered from the low, trading back above $10k. The drop followed a consistent decline over the last 20 hours, but the rate increased dramatically in the past couple of hours.
While it’s not entirely clear at this time what factors sparked the sell-off, the timing coincides with reports of unauthorized sells on cryptocurrency exchange Binance. The exchange has since suspended withdrawals, according to statements, with the situation coming less than a month after a prolonged system upgrade raised fears of a hack.
A Binance rep wrote on Reddit Wednesday:
“We are investigating reports of some users having issues with their funds. Our team is aware and investigating the issue as we speak. As of this moment, the only confirmed victims have registered API keys (to use with trading bots or otherwise). There is no evidence of the Binance platform being compromised.”
Update: The CEO of Binance just tweeted that the rumours of a hack are overblown:
All funds are safe. There were irregularities in trading activity, automatic alarms triggered. Some accounts may have been compromised by phishing from before. We are still investigating. All funds are safe.
— CZ (not giving crypto away) (@cz_binance) March 7, 2018
Many crypto commentators consider it likely that a bounce in the price will occur once there has been official confirmation of the situation.
Similarly, cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX announced that some users were having difficulty logging into its platform and that it was investigating the issue. BitMEX later reported that it was back online, citing a spike in load as the underlying cause. Kraken was also offline although this is not unusual when traffic is high.
With the exception of monero, all of the top-10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization have fallen in excess of 10% in the past 24-hours, according to CoinMarketCap. Market data indicates that other cryptocurrencies are experiencing price declines as well.