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Bitfinex, Inc.
Bitfinex logo.svg
Type of businessPrivate
Available inEnglish, Russian, Chinese
Founded2012; 7 years ago (2012)
HeadquartersHong Kong
Area served52 countries

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, OmiseGO, Monero, NEO, EOS

Fiat Currencies

ServicesCryptocurrency exchange, Margin trading, Margin lending, OTC

Bitfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange owned and operated by iFinex Inc., which is headquartered in Hong Kong and registered in the British Virgin Islands.[1][2]

In 2015 the exchange's customers were hacked, losing about $400,000, and in 2016 about $73 million more was stolen from its customers' accounts. The exchange's access to U.S. dollar payments and withdrawals has been curtailed.

In October 2018, Bitfinex again had serious difficulties with its banking relationships. Its management stated "Bitfinex is not insolvent on October 7."[3]

Research suggests that price manipulation of bitcoin on Bitfinex accounted for about half of the price increase for bitcoin in late 2017.[4]


Bitfinex was founded in December 2012 as a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange, offering digital asset trading services to users around the world. Bitfinex initially started as a P2P margin lending platform for Bitcoin and later added support for more cryptocurrencies.

In May 2015, 1500 bitcoins were stolen during a hack.[5]

In June 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission ordered Bitfinex to pay a $75,000 fine for offering illegal off-exchanged financed commodity transactions. The order also found that Bitfinex violated the Commodity Exchange Act by not registering as a Futures Commission Merchant.[6]

In August 2016, Bitfinex announced it had suffered a security breach. In it, $72 million in bitcoin was stolen from the company's customer's accounts.[7] Immediately thereafter, bitcoin's trading price plunged by 20%.[8] After learning of the breach, Bitfinex halted all bitcoin withdrawals and trading.[2] In that hack, the second-biggest breach of a Bitcoin exchange platform, 119,756 units of bitcoin,[8] which was about $72 million at the time, were stolen. The bitcoin was taken from users' segregated wallets and Bitfinex said it was tracking down the hack.[9] Exchange customers, even those whose accounts had not been broken into, had their account balance reduced by 36% and received BFX tokens in proportion to their losses.[10] All exchange customers were repaid eight months after the hack.[11]

In April 2017, Bitfinex announced that it was experiencing delays in processing USD withdrawals after Wells Fargo cut off[12] its wire transfers. Shortly after the Wells Fargo cutoff, Bitfinex stated all international wires had been cut off by its Taiwanese bank. Since then, Bitfinex has moved between a series of banks in other countries, without disclosing to customers where the money is kept.[13][12][14]

Noble Bank International of San Juan, Puerto Rico reportedly handled some dollar banking for the exchange in 2017 or 2018.[15] The banking relationship was reportedly terminated in September 2018 as Nobel Bank encountered financial difficulties.[16]

In March 2018, British Virgin Islands-based Bitfinex confirmed the exchange’s plans to relocate its business to Zug, Switzerland.

In May 2018, Bitfinex emailed some of its users asking for some tax details, which the company indicated it would share with the government of the British Virgin Islands, which might in turn pass it on to the governments of the users' countries of residence.[17][unreliable source]

Phil Potter, Chief Strategy Officer of Bitfinex left the exchange about June 22, 2018.[18]


Tether is a cryptocurrency which Tether Limited claims is pegged to the US dollar. Tether is closely associated with Bitfinex, with whom they share common shareholders and management.[18] Critics have raised questions about the relationship between Bitfinex and Tether.[13][19][12]

See also


  1. ^ "Company Overview of iFinex Inc. (BVI)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Shekhtman, Lonnie (3 August 2016). "Bitcoin security breaches raise questions about digital currency's future". Archived from the original on 28 May 2017 – via Christian Science Monitor.
  3. ^ Kharif, Olga; Leising, Matthew (17 October 2018). "Bitcoin Trades at $300 Premium on Controversial Crypto Exchange". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  4. ^ Popper, Nathaniel (13 June 2018). "Bitcoin's Price Was Artificially Inflated Last Year, Researchers Say". New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  5. ^ Baraniuk, Chris (8 August 2016). "Bitcoin users 'must pay' for lost coins". BBC News. Archived from the original on 5 November 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  6. ^ "CFTC Orders Bitcoin Exchange Bitfinex to Pay $75,000 for Offering Illegal Off-Exchange Financed Retail Commodity Transactions and Failing to Register as a Futures Commission Merchant". Commodity Futures Trading Commission. June 2, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  7. ^ "Bitfinex comes back from $69 million bitcoin heist". Archived from the original on 2017-05-22.
  8. ^ a b Tsang, Amie (3 August 2016). "Bitcoin Plunges After Hacking of Exchange in Hong Kong". Archived from the original on 18 May 2017 – via
  9. ^ "Bitcoin Worth $72M Was Stolen in Bitfinex Exchange Hack in Hong Kong". Fortune. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  10. ^ Baldwin, Clare (6 August 2016). "Bitfinex exchange customers to get 36 percent haircut, debt token". Reuters. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  11. ^ Shin, Laura (April 11, 2017). "Financial Spring Cleaning: For Bitcoin, Save All Records". Forbes.
  12. ^ a b c "Tether Theft Isn't the First Controversy for Cryptocurrency Firm". 21 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 November 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b Popper, Nathaniel (21 November 2017). "Warning Signs About Another Giant Bitcoin Exchange". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 November 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  14. ^ Nathaniel, Popper (November 21, 2017). "Warning Signs About Another Giant Bitcoin Exchange". New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Katz, Lilly (May 31, 2018). "Bittrex Gets Bank Agreement to Help You Buy Bitcoin With Dollars". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  16. ^ Leising, Matthew; Rivera, Yalixa (1 October 2018). "Puerto Rico's Noble Bank Seeks Sale Amid Crypto Slide". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Bitfinex Requires Customer Tax Info which it 'May Exchange' with Gov't, Tax Authorities". Cointelegraph. 2018-05-18. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  18. ^ a b Irrera, Anna (22 June 2018). "Bitfinex chief strategy officer departs". Reuters. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Crypto-currency company reports $31m raid". BBC News. 21 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 November 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.

External links