TL;DR: Around 7:45 UTC on Saturday, February 9th, 2019, one of the most influential cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitfinex, went down for all users. This was quickly confirmed by the company. The outage came at a most unfortunate time for traders, especially since crypto markets were seeing a big price upswing. Litecoin (LTC), for example, had risen by 30% in 24 hours. For exchanges and the companies who host them online, such as those in Switzerland, it seems much more needs to be done to improve reliability.
Bitfinex Offline 2 Hours During Major Market Price Upswing
“We are aware Bitfinex is currently not accessible to some users,” the exchange posted, “our admins are currently looking into this. We apologize for the inconvenience caused.” Temporary outages on Bitfinex are not uncommon. Eight incidents have been reported in the last 12 months. Some appear to be the results of multiple distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
The company announced in January they would migrate from the cloud to private, self-hosted servers. Bitfinex users were hoping for less downtime during high trading volume. Exchange hosting was to move away from AWS to their own self-designed infrastructure at a data centre in Zug, Switzerland.
2 Hours is Unacceptable to Traditional Stock Exchanges
Zug is also known as “ the crypto valley ,” and is host to a number of well known cryptocurrency companies, like ShapeShift. Which company Bitfinex is using for their hosting is unclear, but a likely candidate is Infoguard . Bitfinex is using Cloudflare to protect against DDoS attacks. Zug has designs on becoming the tech capital of crypto, in similar fashion as Silicon Valley is for tech in California. However, the data centres located in Zug will have to work on their reliability it appears. If crypto ever becomes as important as big stock exchanges and foreign currency exchanges, a downtime of 2 hours is unacceptable and can cause millions of dollars in damages.
The Bitfinex status page showed their trading engine was also down, meaning market prices on were frozen as of 7:45 UTC. Two hours later at 10:30 UTC the exchange was online again , and 5 minutes after that trading resumed. The company issued an apology to their users, and reported problems were caused by connectivity issues.
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