Bithumb, the exchange recently hacked last week to the tune of around $20 million, sent out an e-mail this morning asking customers to cease making deposits until further notice. The exchange reiterates its claim that no customer funds are lost. Instead, the request is to help investigators. It reads, in part:
We would like to ask you to stop making deposits of cryptocurrency in order to check our member’s assets through external organization and to cooperate with the investigating agency in connection with an accident that is supposed to be an internal embezzlement that occurred on March 29th.
“Internal embezzlement” is the fundamental risk with centralized exchanges, of course. Just as banks and armored vehicles are never entirely safe, keeping millions of dollars within reach of humans will always present the risk of fraud. In this case, the attacker, who is roundly believed to be a Bithumb employee, chose not to take from the customers. But it’s certainly imaginable that he or she could have.