Hackers have stolen the equivalent of more than $50 million in digital currency from an experimental investment fund just created to prove the reliability of cryptocurrencies, according to the New York Times Saturday.
The money was stolen from the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), an investment fund that raised money in Ether, a digital currency competing with Bitcoin.
Through a crowdfunding project, the DAO raised $ 150 million to prove the invulnerability of this technology. With this flight, she lost a third of her assets, a big blow for this project.
The technology on which these new dematerialized currencies are based is the “Blockchain”, more and more popular in the world of finance where it could one day find a utility.
First developed in 2009 with virtual currencies, the “Blockchain” is a computer code generated by an encryption software that can be used to transcribe financial transactions carried out in cryptocurrencies. It allows money to circulate as freely as data on the internet, a potential that financial institutions want to exploit.
However, computer scientists have focused in recent months on the vulnerabilities of the codes used by the DAO project, according to the New York Times.
On Friday, programmers were reluctant to simply change their code: it would allow them to recover their money but in doing so, they would deny the very principle that drives their project.
“I recognize that there are strong arguments that go both ways, and there will be strong oppositions, no matter which direction we will take,” acknowledged on the social network Reddit Vitalik Buterin, founder and programmer of the Ether project.
The flight has in any case changed the course of Ether.
Similarly, Bitcoin was seriously devalued in early 2014 when Mt Gox, one of the main trading platforms using this virtual currency, went bankrupt. The boss of this company, based in Japan, had then explained to have been the victim of a computer attack that would ultimately result in the theft or the disappearance of a fortune in Bitcoins.