Tether, the company behind a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency widely used by in the market’s exchange trade, is claiming its systems have been hacked and that $30 million worth of its tokens have been stolen.
In a post on the project’s website (which at press time is unavailable), Tether blamed a “malicious action by an external attacker” for the theft of $30,950,010 USDT. Originally launched as Realcoin and later rebranded, Tether aims to serve as a proxy for the US dollar that can be sent between exchanges.
However, Tether said it would move swiftly to ensure these exchanges do not trade or otherwise introduce the stolen funds back into the cryptocurrency economy.
The company wrote:
“$30,950,010 USDT was removed from the Tether Treasury wallet on Nov. 19, 2017 and sent to an unauthorized bitcoin address. As Tether is the issuer of the USDT managed asset, we will not redeem any of the stolen tokens, and we are in the process of attempting token recovery to prevent them from entering the broader ecosystem.”
The company said that it was releasing a new version of its Omni Core software (which Tether runs on top of) in a bid to effectively lock up the tokens it alleges were stolen. Observers online spotted the move earlier in the day, stoking speculation about the nature of the freeze.
“The tether.to back-end wallet service has been temporarily suspended. A thorough investigation on the cause of the attack is being undertaken to prevent similar actions in the future,” Tether wrote.
The announcement comes amid a period of growing discussion – and controversy – around Tether.
Under scrutiny has been the unclear relationship between Tether and the troubled British Virgin Islands-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex – and long-standing allegations the exchange has been using the asset to engage in fraud and market manipulation.
As such, today’s hack claims are likely to further drive the controversy.
Keyboard with dollar overlaid via Shutterstock
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Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.