New York - A Canadian bitcoin exchanged has closed after hackers stole all its virtual coins, the exchange said Tuesday.
Flexcoin was attacked and robbed Sunday, the company said. The attacker made off with 896 bitcoins.
"As Flexcoin does not have the resources, assets or otherwise to come back from this loss, we are closing our doors immediately," Flexcoin said.
It is the second setback for the virtual currency in recent days.
On Friday, Tokyo-based Mt Gox bitcoin exchange lost almost all its virtual currency and filed for bankruptcy protection. That case is believed to be the work of thieves, however, it involved a much higher value of bitcoins, and the company had 63.7 million dollars in outstanding debt.
Flexcoin said users who put their coins into "cold storage" were apparently spared and will be contacted by Flexcoin and asked to verify their identities. Once matched to their owners, cold storage coins will be transferred out free of charge, the company said.
Cold storage coins were held offline and not within reach of the online attacker, Flexcoin explained.
All other users will be directed to Flexcoin's terms of service agreement, which they agreed on when signing up with Flexcoin.
Bitcoins have drawn growing attention among global investors since their trading began in 2009 independent of governments and banks. The bitcoin values are set by the market and fluctuate greatly, but can be exchanged into actual currency.
Transaction by bitcoin is anonymous. Some governments therefore are concerned that bitcoin can be a tool for crimes like money laundering, drug trafficking, tax evasion and illegal payment.