If you know anything about bitcoin, then you know that the proponents of the web's favorite form of digital-only cash love to tout the impressive amount of safety and security that comes with this currency. After all, with the entire bitcoin system being built upon a foundation of anonymity and encryption, it's easy to see why this alternative to real-world funds is so popular with the online community, right?

Unfortunately, all of the assurances and confidence that come with the above statements flew right out the window after one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world, Bitfinex, announced that its trading platform had experienced a massive security breach.

In total, CoinDesk's Charles Bovaird reports that over 120,000 bitcoin (BTC) - or roughly $60 million U.S. dollars - fell into the hands of hackers as a direct result of this intrusion. To make matters worse, the bitcoin price index dropped roughly 20 percent after Bitfinex's announcement, showing that the confidence of many market makers has clearly been undermined.

Can bitcoin and the Hong Kong-based Bitfinex exchange bounce back from this unprecedented catastrophe? What about the damage done to the long-term prospects of the web's leading cryptocurrency? Bovaird offers some insight into these questions - and many more - in his full-length piece over on CoinDesk.

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