Hong Kong-based Binance said that to ensure a safe “crypto community” that it “can’t simply play defence”.
“Even though the hacking attempt against Binance on March 7th was not successful, it was clear it was a large-scale, organise effort.
“This needs to be addressed,” the company said.
On its Twitter account, Binance posted details of the bounty in at least 13 languages; including Turkish, Portuguese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean, Hindi and Finnish.
Bounty on their heads
Binance is offering a $250,000 (£180,556, €203,193) equivalent bounty to anyone who supplies information that leads to the legal arrest of the hackers involved in the attempted incident.
The first person to supply substantial information and evidence that leads to the legal arrest of the hackers, in any jurisdiction, will receive the bounty in BNB – its own cryptocurrency.
The exchange rate will be determined at time of transfer.
Binance has also allocated the equivalent of $10m in crypto-reserves for future bounty awards against any illegal hacking attempts against it.
“We have also invited other exchanges and crypto-businesses to join our initiative.”
Research from London-based PR firm Citigate Dewe Rogerson found that, of investors with an existing exposure to cryptocurrencies, 56% intend to buy more in the next 12 months.
Around a third (31%) plan to reduce their holding and just 8% intend to divest completely.
These findings highlight the growing investor interest in cryptocurrencies and the potential for the sector to attract billions of dollars more.
The industry has a host of big name supporters and an equal number of famous detractors. Some have declared cryptocurrencies to be the next evolutionary step, while others have labelled it a Ponzi scheme.
Weak link in the chain
The technology around it – blockchain – is complicated, and recent attacks have prompted some to question if it is secure enough.
A chain is formed of blocks containing data on transactions. Each block contains information about the previous block, meaning that it is highly resistant to tampering. To alter information in one block would mean the entire chain would be impacted.
While the technology is resistant, individual exchanges have fallen short and are, in a sense, the Achilles’ heel of the whole operation.
The two biggest crypto-hacks in history were against exchanges in Japan. Most recently, Coincheck lost around JPY58bn (£392m, $543m, €441m) after its system held customers’ cryptocurrencies in a “hot wallet” that can be accessed via the internet, instead of a “cold wallet”, which cannot.
The Coincheck hack became the biggest attack on a cryptocurrency exchange, surpassing the MT Gox incident in which 650,000 Bitcoins were stolen in 2014.
Some criminals have opted to take their attacks out of the virtual a world and into the real one, but the cryptocurrency industry is under the cosh.
Hackers are constantly evolving to try beat blockchain – but until exchanges are equally as secure, there will always be a risk to investors.