$1.2 Million Giveaway Announced By Binance CEO, As 'Thank You' for 'Standing By Us'

Changpeng Zhao (“CZ”), the CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume, has announced via Twitter that $1.2 million in Binance Coin (BNB) will be given away “as a thank you for standing by us.”

On May 7th, 2019, Binance’s management revealed that its exchange had suffered a large-scale security breach, which resulted in the loss of over 7,000 Bitcoin (BTC) from the trading platform’s hot wallets.

Improved “Security Measures, Procedures, Practices”

On May 10th, the Binance co-founder published an update on the exchange’s official website in which he noted that important changes had been made to the trading platform, following the $41 million hack. According to Zhao, Binance’s management had taken measures to drastically improve “security measures, procedures, and practices.”

The hacker(s) had not only managed to steal a large amount of cryptocurrency, but they had also reportedly gained access to users’ 2-factor authentication codes and API tokens. In order to address these vulnerabilities, Binance’s team has been "making significant changes to the API, 2FA, and withdrawal validation areas."

On May 15th, 2019, Binance’s management announced that the exchange’s system upgrades had been completed and that “all trading activity” would resume “at 1:00 PM (UTC).” As mentioned by Binance’s team, users would be allowed to cancel open orders “until the commencement of trading.”

Helping Users Better Understand Security Measures

Traders may also perform other account related functions, including making deposits. However, Binance’s blog post clarified that the exchange’s “withdrawal function will [only] be available shortly after trading resumes.”

In order to help users better understand how to secure their cryptoassets, Binance’s team has published an informative blog post, titled: “14 Tips to Enhance Security for Your Binance Account.”

To prevent hackers from stealing funds, Binance’s blog mentioned that users should keep changing their passwords (from time to time), reset their 2FA, and also “update their anti-phishing code.”

Giveaway Is A Way To Acknowledge “Unwavering Support” From Community

The exchange operator also confirmed it will be “holding a 50,000 BNB giveaway” and that it will be “providing VIP level ups.” The generous giveaway is a way for Binance’s management “to express [its] gratitude” for the “unwavering support” it has received from its users.

To participate in the giveaway, users are required to “trade over 1 BTC to share a 50,000 BNB prize pool.” The promotion period began on May 15th, 2019 “at 1:00 PM UTC” and ends on May 18th, 2019 “0:00 AM UTC.”

Bitrue Hacked: $4.5 Million in XRP and ADA Stolen, User Funds Will Be Replaced

At around 17:00 UTC on June 26 or 01:00 on June 27 in Singapore, where digital asset exchange Bitrue is based, a security breach occurred, which resulted in a loss of $4.5 million in crypto from the exchange's hot wallets.

Bitrue, which was founded in 2018, has quickly become a favorite with members of the XRP community because of the high degree of enthusiasm, support, and transparency shown by its management towards XRP. One interesting fact about Bitrue is that it supported XRP as a base currency on the day that its trading platform was launched (19 July 2018). 

At press time (07:57 UTC on June 27), visitors to the Bitrue website are greeted with this message:

Bitrue Hack Announcement.png

Around 02:16 UTC on June 27, Bitrue issued an official statement (via a series of tweets) that explained what exactly had happened, how this impacted its users, and what it was going to do next:

  • At approximately 17:00 UTC on June 26, a hacker or group of hackers "exploited a vulnerability" in the exchange's "Risk Control team's 2nd review process" to "access the personal funds of about 90 Bitrue users."
  • The hackers "used what they learned from this breach" to steal around $4.5 million in crypto—more specifically 9.3 million XRP and 2.5 million Cardano (ADA)—from the exchange's hot wallets and moved these coins to various other exchanges.
  • Shortly after the security breach, this attack was detected and trading, withdrawals, and deposits were all suspended on Bitrue, and the three exchanges where the stolen funds were moved to—Huobi Global, Bittrex, and ChangeNOW—were alerted and asked to freeze "the affected funds and accounts." Bitrue has also "contacted the relevant authorities in Singapore to assist us in tracking down the culprit and retrieving the stolen funds."
  • Because initially it was not quite clear what exactly had happened, the message shown above (about "system maintenance") was posted on the Bitrue website... Bitrue wishes to apologize for "this miscommunication" with its users.
  • Bitrue wants to reassure its users that all "heir personal funds are insured, and anybody affected by this breach will have their funds replaced by us as soon as possible."
  • Bitrue is currently "conducting an emergency inspection of the exchange and hope to be live again as soon as possible with log in & trading functionality." As for withdrawals, they will be "offline for a slightly longer period" while the investigation continues.
  • The flow of stolen XRP can be tracked via the XRP Ledger tool at Bithomp: https://bithomp.com/explorer/rwSvajJ4ZNhjgzcfaJWkEuLh4VURTFHuka

In communication with CryptoGlobe, Bitrue's support team confirmed that:

  • all user funds are "insured up to a maximum value of 1 million USD per user"; and
  • "trading should be back up within a few hours, and at that time users who were affected will already have their lost funds back in their accounts"

A few hours ago, Bitrue CEO Curis Wang posted this message on Twitter:

UPDATE (08:15 on June 27): Bitrue has just released a statement to media outlets to provide further details about this incident:

  • Of the $4.5 million in stolen crypto, 50% was "moved to private wallets," and the other 50% was moved to five crypto exchanges: Huobi, Bittrex, ChangeNOW, Exmo.me, and Coinswitch.co. The first three have frozen the stolen funds that were moved there (worth around $1.35 million). 
  • "This frozen amount should be recoverable by Bitrue in the future after working with the authorities and exchanges."
  • "After recovering the frozen assets, the net loss will be $3.15 million USD." This total "includes $1.89 million USD lost from individual user accounts, and $1.26 million USD lost from Bitrue’s own hot wallet."
  • "The funds lost by user accounts were insured and will be replaced by Bitrue as soon as the exchange resumes service."
  • "Bitrue plans to re-enable log in and trading services by midnight (Singapore time) June 27, i.e. by 16:00 UTC on June 27.
  • "Withdrawals from the exchange will not be possible until the Bitrue team is confident that any security vulnerabilities have been addressed."
  • "Bitrue will continue the planned launch of the trading of their platform token, Bitrue Coin (BTR), on Sunday 30 June 2019."
  • "Bitrue will analyze their automated systems and manual processes to identify any potential vulnerabilities and patch them before they can be exploited."

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pexels.com