Hackers stole over 40 million dollars in bitcoins from one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao said the theft of 7,000 bitcoins occurred in a single transaction after hackers used “a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks.’’

“The hackers had the patience to wait and execute well-orchestrated actions through multiple seemingly independent accounts at the most opportune time,’’ he said.

“The transaction is structured in a way that passed our existing security checks.’’

Zhao said the security breach only impacted its hot wallet, the location of 2 per cent of Binance holdings.

Deposits and withdrawals, however, have been suspended.

In 2018, hackers stole almost one billion dollars in cryptocurrencies worldwide, according to U.S. security firm CiptherTrace.  (dpa/NAN)