The bitcoin exchange BitStamp has suspended operation following a significant data breach in which 19,000 bitcoins - valued at more than $5 million - were stolen from the company. BitStamp has frozen user accounts, blocked deposits and suspended all trades as an investigation and security audit are reportedly underway.
The company has a public disclaimer informing customers of the breach on its website: "Upon learning of the breach, we immediately notified all customers that they should no longer make deposits to previously issued bitcoin deposit addresses," part of the message reads. "To repeat, customers should NOT make any deposits to previously issued bitcoin deposit addresses."
Bitcoins endured a turbulent growth period in 2014, with more consumers and businesses expanding adoption - but the currency remained volatile, and overall value has dipped. These type of incidents could be catastrophic for future growth of bitcoins, at a time when consumers already are skeptical of long-term potential.