Bitfinex Goes Offline for 2 Hours amid Crypto Market Explosion

Earlier today, Hong Kong-based crypto exchange Bitfinex unexpectedly went offline for two hours amid major market movement. The exchange notified users of the development in a confusing set of tweets:

The first, sent at 3:05 AM EST, alerted users that the exchange had temporarily gone offline:

“We are aware Bitfinex is currently not accessible to some users, our admins are currently looking into this. We apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

The replies to the tweet are filled with fears of “manipulation” and admissions by some users that they were “freaking out.” In light of the recent hack of Cryptopia and the QuadrigaCX controversy — both ongoing investigations with suspicions of foul play on the part of the exchanges — it is no wonder the immediate response by many was to assume the worse.

But less than a half hour later, Bitfinex followed up, apologizing for its previous tweet and offering a bit of clarity on the situation:

“We apologise for our previous tweet. In the rush to make users aware of our issue promptly, we were poor in the choice of wording. We can confirm Bitfinex is offline to all users. Please be assured that funds are safe. We will communicate here with further updates”

About three hours later, the company published a blog post on its Medium channel owning the error more fully and offering a more detailed explanation:

“This was unscheduled, unanticipated and as unexpected to us as it was to you.… The issue that caused this downtime was attributed to connectivity. Our team identified and responded to the situation immediately and worked unremittingly to bring full service back as quickly as feasibly possible. Your safety is our top priority and we can confirm that all funds were safe during this period.”

That the exchange went down may not have been met with as much outcry if the crypto market weren’t shooting up over the past 24 hours, with about $10 billion added to the total crypto market cap.