Bitcoin price increases portend likely cyber attacks on crypto-exchanges, BIS study says

21 May 2020 00:00 by Neil Roland

Bitcoin cryptocurrency

A rise in the price of Bitcoin increases the probability of cyber attacks on the lightly regulated crypto-exchanges and firms that hold these assets, a Bank for International Settlements study said.

In addition, cyber theft attacks inflict higher costs on crypto-exchanges than non-monetary incursions such as those that seek to disrupt business with a flood of Internet traffic, the study of 100,000 cyber events said.

"An increase in the price of Bitcoin increases the likelihood of future attacks on crypto-exchanges,” the paper said. “Stronger regulation of the activities of intermediaries that operate in crypto asset markets is likely necessary as the expected costs for cyber-related events are also significantly higher than for other events."

The study showed a correlation between the price of Bitcoin and the frequency of attacks on crypto-exchanges from 2015 to 2019.

This year, Bitcoin price has increased 32 percent to $9,523 from Jan. 1 to May 20, according to Yahoo Finance.

Crypto-exchanges handle billions of dollars in investor assets. Because they aren’t regulated, they don’t have to separate trading platforms and custodians to mitigate possible conflicts of interest, the study noted.

These exchanges also don’t face security requirements, unlike stock, options and bond markets.

The Basel-based Bank for International Settlements is the umbrella group of the world’s central banks.

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