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Friday, March 9, 2012

$200K USD in Bitcoins Stolen -- Allen Eppenberger Reporting

I learned last evening from Technovelgy.com that an amount totaling BTC 46,000 in the digital currency called “Bitcoin” was siphoned away from a cloud service called Linode.com. That company issued a statement on their site, which I found on Facebook: http://status.linode.com/2012/03/manager-security-incident.html The story first broke March 1st on Bitcoinmedia.com.


VirWoX.com, a currency exchange site who trades in Linden Dollars, also does business in Bitcoins. I contacted them for a comment. Their anticipated reply was “...given that this event is completely unrelated to Second Life, (it) did not affect us”. This is fortunate, as it does speak of the incident being completely isolated. I'm sure there are many other sites that deal in Bitcoins that are unaffected as well.

What makes this story important is the fact that the default world is increasingly leaning towards virtual currencies as the global economy continues to fluctuate. The fact that we occupy Second Life means that we all deal with Linden Dollars. Many of us also will also be dealing with Facebook Credits soon. We will expect our virtual wallets to be secure. Just because our digital currency has no physical paper equivalency doesn't mean that it is any less of a medium of trade. Most of the global wealth is actually traded in ones and zeros. We use credit and debit cards. And many third world countries rely on cell phones to do their transactions. All of these mediums are heavily dependent on a secure digital system of exchange.

While Google's Eric Schmidt has stated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, that Bitcoin is unregulated and therefore undesirable (my paraphrase), we will still be trading in Bitcoins, Linden Dollars, and other digital currencies in the foreseeable future. It will be vitally important to treat these every bit as respected as US dollars, Euros, Yen, or any of the physical currencies that are traded.
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