Japanese Exchange Denies Customer’s $20-Trillion Bitcoin Withdrawal

A technical glitch at a leading Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that allowed users to buy cryptocurrencies for free saw one customer shoot for the moon, with an attempt to buy 2,200 trillion yen worth of bitcoin — approximately $20 trillion.

For 20 minutes, customers on Japan’s Zaif exchange were able to buy cryptocurrencies for nothing, which saw a number of customers seeking to exploit the glitch within the brief time period.

The most daring, according to local reports, bought the $20 trillion for nothing, and then quickly attempted to sell the holding while the window was active. The customer is reportedly one of a total of seven who spotted the error, and attempted to use this to their advantage.

The news will come as a major embarrassment to Tech Bureau Corp., the Osaka company that operates the Zaif exchange. The firm was able to cancel the transactions and correct the relevant user balances, although according to some reports, one correction remains outstanding, following the customer’s decision to move the bitcoin immediately off the platform.

The firm knows at least one of the customers attempted to resell their coins, and the volumes suddenly on offer were substantial enough to attract queries from the wider markets.

Representatives from the company have issued an apology over the issue, and pledged to take measures to prevent similar instances of technical bugs from occurring in future. Nevertheless, the matter raises concerns about the robustness of technical systems at the exchange.

The company will now be investigated by the Japanese Financial Services Agency over the incident, and comes shortly after another Japanese exchange, Coincheck, fell victim to a large-scale hack in January.

Coincidentally, the Japanese authorities are already engaged in investigations across a number of unlicensed exchanges, looking into specific issues around technical standards to prevent issues of this kind.

Tech Bureau Corp. will now be under pressure to shore up its technology, and to ensure it continues to comply with the relevant regulations and technical standards in future, in order to reassure its investors, as well as local regulators.