Bitcoin Exchange Kraken Goes Down for 40 Hours, Drawing Mt. Gox Comparisons

January 12, 2018, 11:13 PM UTC
Kraken Bitcoin Exchange Down as Ripple Soars
Jesse Powell, chief executive officer of Kraken Bitcoin Exchange, sits for a photograph at the company's office in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Kraken Bitcoin Exchange is planning a Japanese-language website for bitcoin-yen trading, Powell said in an interview with Kyodo News in March. The exchange currently accepts dollars, euro and the Korean won. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images

What was meant to be two to three hours of late-night down time for cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has stretched into a day and a half—fanning worries during an already high-strung day for Bitcoin and Ripple owners.

As one of the world’s biggest markets for cryptocurrency has remained a weight on Bitcoin prices, one of the world’s largest exchanges for the asset, Kraken, is drawing ire for an unexpectedly lengthy system maintenance that’s stopped some investors from making gains or stymying losses resulting from the recent price move.

Notably, some Kraken account holders missed the Ripple rally that came after a partnership between MoneyGram and Ripple was announced Thursday.

Kraken initiated the upgrade at 12 a.m. Thursday after scheduling the maintenance about seven hours earlier. As first, the company said its website would be down for two hours, “possibly longer”—though that estimate grew longer with time. As of print, that time has grown close to 40 hours.

“We are still working to track down an elusive bug which is holding up launch,” Kraken, which had a daily volume of $762 million just before it went down, wrote in its most recent update, though it emphasized: “All funds remain secure.”

That comes during an already rocky week for those in the crypto space. A justice minister in one of the biggest crypto market makers, South Korea, reiterated a proposal to ban cryptocurrency exchanges. Bitcoin prices rose roughly 4% to $13,792 in trading Friday, still below its 2018 high of $17,000. Ripple is also up 1.7% at $2, down from its high this year of nearly $4. Ethereum meanwhile posted a substantial gain of 10%, below its high of 9%.

In more extreme cases, Kraken’s lengthy down time has drawn comparisons to Mt. Gox—a now defunct Bitcoin exchange from which hackers stole 850,000 bitcoin in 2014, an amount now worth about $11.5 billion. It comes even though Kraken has said that funds are safe.

Mt. Gox too pressed pause for an extended period of time Feb. 7, 2014. But at the time, the company did not disclose that it had been hacked. Instead, Mt. Gox explained on Feb. 10 that it had gone down due to a flaw in the Bitcoin protocol. It wasn’t until Feb. 24 that customers got a better idea of just how badly things had gone wrong for Mt. Gox, with the company deleting all its Twitter pages. The company eventually revealed the extent of the hack.

Kraken said it would offer a “substantial amount of free trading” following the resolution.