Japanese Exchange Accidentally Offers Free Bitcoins

Everyone’s looking to get the best deal when buying Bitcoin — but for seven lucky buyers, a Japanese exchange accidentally offered them the deal of a lifetime.

Free Bitcoins!

According to Reuters, a short-lived system glitch at Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif let seven customers briefly purchase bitcoins free of charge.

Zaif’s accidental flash sale took place on February 16th and only lasted about 20 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, none of the sales were validated. Zaif rendered the trades null and void immediately after discovering the error.

One customer, however, may have gotten the better of Zaif’s mistake. A spokesman told Reuters that one customer tried to immediately transfer his or her free Bitcoin to an external wallet address. The situation has yet to be resolved.

Cracks in the System

Reuters reports that Zaif’s operator had previously faced system checks after Coincheck Inc. allowed $530 million in cryptocurrency to be stolen from their coffers by cybercriminals, sparking concern over the security of registered exchanges nationwide — as well as the quality of Japan’s regulatory oversight.

16 cryptocurrency exchanges are legally allowed to operate in Japan and are apparently in the process of forming a self-regulatory body. According to the Nikkei business daily, the body is set to start operating sometime in April and will lay down guidelines and rules in regards to security, advertising, and punitive measures.

Self-regulatory bodies may become more commonplace in the cryptocurrency space as time progresses.

Brian Quintenz, a commissioner with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, recently suggested crypto companies should start regulating themselves, stating:

I would like to use this opportunity right now to call on the investment community and the advocacy community around digital currencies to create some type of self-regulatory organization that can develop standards around cyber policies, data retention, record keeping, financial records obligations, insider trading, ethics, codes of conduct. Self-regulation has a strong history in our markets.

Coincheck executives apologizing for the exchange’s breach.

Japan is the first country in the world to launch a system meant to oversee cryptocurrency exchanges, with the aims of protecting consumers from fraud, preventing potential criminal activity, and supporting the emerging blockchain industry. In this respect, the country is at the forefront of pro-cryptocurrency regulation.

However, some regulators believe Japan’s oversight isn’t strict enough, allowing significant heists like Coincheck’s to take place. Nevertheless, the country’s regulation stands in stark contrast to China’s extreme anti-cryptocurrency measures and has attracted Chinese exchanges unable to conduct business in their home country.

What do you think of Japan’s regulatory oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges thus far? Would you try to transfer your free Bitcoins to another wallet, or would you do the right thing? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives and Shutterstock.

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