A Computer Glitch Let a Trader Claim $20 Trillion in Free Bitcoin


An error in the price calculation system at Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has allowed some customers to claim digital tokens for free—including one who “purchased” $20 trillion worth of Bitcoin.

That’s problematic on a number of levels, but among those is the fact that the total Bitcoin market capitalization is around $183 billion, according to CoinMarketcap.

Officials at Zaif tell Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun that the glitch lasted 18 minutes. Seven people took advantage of it—one of whom (the one who tried to get their hands on $20 trillion worth) tried to cash out.

Tech Bureau, which owns the Zaif exchange, has invalidated the transactions and corrected user balances. However, the company is now being investigated by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) about the security of its system as well as other business practices.

The added scrutiny comes just weeks after the FSA reportedly raided Tech Bureau to investigate its internal governance structure after the hacking of Coincheck, which saw thieves make off with over $500 million in cryptocurrency.

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