Ljubjana - Bitstamp, one of the largest exchanges for trading the digital bitcoin currency, said it has suspended its service after a security breach on Sunday, resulting in loss of around 19 000 bitcoins.
The breach represented a small fraction of its total bitcoin reserve and the majority was held in secure offline systems, the Slovenia-based firm posted on its website on Tuesday. (http://bit.ly/1eTIPEt)
One of the company's founders, Damijan Merlak, told Slovenian state-owned news agency STA that Bitstamp had enough liquid assets to meet its short-term obligations.
"At present we are setting up a duplicate of the whole infrastructure with experts in San Francisco, which should be finished within 24 hours and then we will be able to resume services."
Bitstamp said it believed one of its wallets, which store the digital credentials for a customer's bitcoin holdings, had been compromised.
Generated by computers
Bitstamp said it had notified all customers after learning of the breach, requesting them not to make any deposits to previously issued bitcoin deposit addresses.
Bitcoin, the best-known virtual currency, started circulating in 2009. Unlike conventional money, bitcoin is generated by computers and is independent of control or backing by any government.
A bitcoin is currently worth $276.80.
Bitstamp claimed in February that developers had come up with a solution to thwart cyber attacks against its platform after Mt Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, lost an estimated $650m worth of customer bitcoin when its faulty computer system was hacked.