One of China’s top exchanges, Huobi, revealed that it temporarily lost 920 BTC and 8,100 LTC – worth about $411,000 – yesterday, but added that it had recovered the majority of the assets.
Huobi posted on its official Weibo account that a customer service representative had erroneously deposited the coins to 27 user accounts.
The exchange said that its security department was alerted at 3am this morning and its withdrawal systems were temporarily suspended.
An investigation was launched, and 880 BTC and 5,400 LTC were returned to the exchange by customers who received the funds in error, the update stated.
“We apologise for the disturbance that we caused,” the exchange added, according to a translation by Eric Mu, who wrote about the incident on his Forbes Asia blog.
Huobi did not elaborate on how it would recover the remaining funds. It said in a subsequent Weibo update that it would add a step to its withdrawal process requiring approval from its financial department.
Prices on Huobi appeared to be unaffected by the news of the administrative error. At the time of writing the last quoted price was ¥2,521 on Huobi, ¥2,522 on OKCoin and ¥2,520 on BTC China.
Weibo chatter among bitcoiners in China was skeptical of Huobi’s claims. One user likened Huobi to Mt Gox, the one-time leading exchange that imploded earlier this year, saying: “Mt Gox is beckoning to Huobi!”
Another user urged calm in the face of the exchange’s error, saying that since the issue had been resolved, users should not panic:
“Everyone, don’t panic. [Huobi] will post official updates. Keep going, Huobi!”
Mu, who has also worked briefly at Huobi competitor OKCoin but is no longer employed there, said that the general attitude towards the Huobi announcement was one of scepticism.
“There is a fair bit of scepticism on Chinese social media, especially because Huobi has recently launched several new services,” he said, referring to Huobi’s US dollar trading and a fixed-rate financial instrument services launched earlier this month.
CoinDesk reached out to representatives from Huobi, but the exchange declined to comment on this issue.
Customer support image via Shutterstock