Chris Burniske, blockchain products lead at ARK Investments, told CNBC Tuesday that the attacks are “not surprising” given the bull market in cryptoassets.
“There’s a big difference between a denial of service attack, and a hack that causes clients to lose funds,” he said. “As of yet, we’re fortunately not seeing any of the latter.”
That said, Roberts and other digital currency analysts said the cyberattacks could allow the attackers to manipulate the bitcoin market. Since the price of bitcoin is set by several exchanges around the world, shutting off an exchange temporarily could allow a trader to take advantage of price differences.
Money floods into digital currencies
Bitcoin did briefly fall about $400 Monday amid some of the exchange issues, after topping $3,000 for the first time Sunday, more than tripling in value for 2017. Bitcoin traded near $2,571 Wednesday afternoon, down about 6 percent on the day.
Ethereum, another digital currency or token growing in popularity, has surged several thousand percent in that time.
“A speculative frenzy is never a good thing. I don’t think we’re there right yet,” Adam White, Coinbase vice president and general manager of its GDAX exchange, told CNBC in a phone interview. But “I do think the ICO or token generation events have … maybe a bit too much enthusiasm for them.”
A rush of funding for new digital currencies flooded them with millions of dollars this week. Bancor raised $153 million on Monday, before IOTA smashed that record with a $1.5 billion fund raise on Tuesday.
“We feel that the market reaction to IOTA’s listing is quite in line with our expectations in the current zeitgeist,” IOTA founder and CEO David Sonstebo told CNBC in an emailed statement. He cited more than 18 months of development and lack of targeted marketing ahead of the launch.
Overwhelming website traffic
Separately, Coinbase, the operator of the second largest U.S. dollar-denominated bitcoin exchange, reported Monday that customers could not access the website amid high traffic. The firm reported two other incidents of “degraded performance” on Tuesday.
“We recognize the frustrations of our customers and we want to do better,” White said.
A record 2,700 attended CoinDesk’s annual Consensus conference in New York this year, according to CoinDesk CEO Kevin Worth. He added that the website has hit record unique viewers and page views since.
The cryptocurrency companies are also expanding their businesses.
CoinDesk moved in the last few weeks to a new office in Midtown Manhattan and is looking to expand its team to 28 people. Coinbase has 25 open positions listed on its website, including one for “Head of Institutional Sales & Trading” at GDAX based in San Francisco, CA, or New York, NY.