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Amazon Web Services outage forces major cryptocurrency exchanges offline

Server failures meant Coinone and Upbit suddenly went dark ...

Two major South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have been forced offline, after critical Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers suffered nationwide failure Thursday morning.

AWS, one of the world’s widely used cloud services, was hit with major internal server failures that brought popular digital asset exchanges, Upbit and Coinone, to a screeching halt. Several popular e-commerce hubs were also unreachable for roughly an hour, reports ZDNet.

“Between 3:19 PM and 4:43 PM PST we experienced increased error rates in the [Asian-Pacific region],” declared AWS. “The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally.”

Amazon maintenance details also confirmed networks in Seoul the biggest hit by the interruptions.

Upbit issued several statements following the outage, apologizing for being unable to warn users in advance about the sudden downtime. Coinone also announced it would be going into maintenance mode.

Admins even took extreme measures to ensure that users weren’t stiffed just as the platforms went dark, with Upbit confirming it would be cancelling a number of trades under certain conditions.

Upbit has since come back online, but at print time, it appears trade (as well as withdrawals and deposits) on Coinone is still suspended.

While the only cryptocurrency-related outages were exchanges, many have speculated that some of the world’s most popular public blockchains are being hosted by cloud computing services like AWS.

Indeed, a few months back, independent investigators claimed roughly half of the nodes powering the Bitcoin Cash blockchain were being hosted by Alibaba, a primary AWS rival.

While the reports went uncorroborated at the time, this technical snafu at Amazon is a stark reminder of the industries reliance on centralized networks, and how damaging this can be.

Published November 22, 2018 — 11:31 UTC

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