Bitstamp, one of the largest exchanges for trading the digital bitcoin currency, has temporarily suspended service after "some" of its "operational wallets were compromised" on Sunday, resulting in loss of about 19,000 bitcoins.
The company said that on January 4th, some of Bitstamp’s operational wallets were compromised, resulting in a loss of less than 19,000 BTC. Upon learning of the breach, Bitstamp notified its customers that they should not make deposits to previously issued bitcoin deposit addresses. The company is investigating the incident.
Bitstamp added that the breach represented a small fraction of Bitstamp’s total bitcoin reserves, as he overwhelming majority of which are held in secure offline cold storage systems.
"We would like to reassure all Bitstamp customers that their balances held prior to our temporary suspension of services will not be affected and will be honored in full" the company said.
Bitcoin, the best-known virtual currency, started circulating in 2009. Unlike conventional money, bitcoin is generated by computers and is independent of control or backing by any government.