Bitfinex says expects 'socialized loss' for $72 million bitcoin hack

A Bitcoin (virtual currency) paper wallet with QR codes and a coin are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

By Clare Baldwin HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong-based crypto-currency exchange Bitfinex, from which hackers stole about US$72 million worth of bitcoin this week, said on Friday that it expected to "socialize" the losses among bitcoin balances. In dollar terms, the theft of the 119,756 bitcoin revealed on Tuesday was the second-biggest security breach ever of a digital currency exchange. The theft accounted for about 0.75 percent of all bitcoins in circulation. "We are still working out the details," Bitfinex said on its website, "however, we are leaning towards a socialized loss scenario among bitcoin balances and active loans to BTCUSD positions." The exchange, which is known for its liquidity in the U.S. dollar/bitcoin currency pair, did not explain what that would entail. It has said previously it would settle accounts at an exchange rate of $604.06, the midpoint of the bid and ask on Aug. 2, 2016 at 18:00:00 UTC. The price of bitcoin plunged more than 23 percent on Tuesday when news of the hack became public, trading as low as $465.28 on the BitStamp platform BTC=BTSP. It was trading at $569.84 on Friday. (Reporting by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Will Waterman)