How a glitch can cost $20 billion worth of Bitcoin

How a glitch can cost $20 billion worth of Bitcoin

A cryptocurrency exchange in Japan reportedly experienced a temporary glitch last week that suddenly offered investors their pick of coins for the low, low price of zero dollars.

Investors were able to briefly buy bitcoin for free at a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange after it suffered from a system glitch; however, none were able to profit from it.

The system bug lasted for 18 minutes, allowing users of Zaif exchange to "purchase" cryptos for $0.

Japan previous year rolled out the world's first system to oversee cryptocurrency exchanges, in a bid to protect customers and stamp out illegal uses of cryptocurrencies as it sought to nurture a young and promising sector.

One of the clients managed to "purchase" $20 trillion worth of bitcoins and then tried to sell them for JPY, again on Zaif, reports the leading Japanese daily, The Asahi Shimbun. Zaif is trying to rectify the issue with the seventh customer who attempted to transfer the bitcoin from the exchange, a spokesperson told Reuters. The Japanese yen is by far the most exchanged national currency in the Bitcoin world, so attracting regulations would have a global impact.

The company announced February 20 that the incident on its Zaif exchange website occurred four days earlier, when seven users obtained quantities of cryptocurrencies. The country has also been on the forefront of regulating cryptocurrency markets and began issuing licenses to exchanges operating within the country. It has already faced checks after last month's theft of $530 million in digital money from another official exchange, Coincheck. But the source said the plan had been dropped after talks stalled in favor of the new body to regulate crypto exchanges registered with Japan's Financial Services Association (FSA).

The Coincheck hack raised concerns among regulators about Japan's move to regulate the industry compared to the likes of China.