Coincheck Hack: What to Know About the $400 Million Loss

28 January, 2018, 00:34 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • NEM Price Drops below $0.8 due to Sudden 17% Decline

One of Japan's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coincheck, said it lost about $530 million in crypto coins to hackers.

This would make this the largest hack of cryptocurrency yet - breaking the previous record set by Mt.Gox of $340 million.

The Yomiuri ShimbunCustomers who purchased virtual currencies exchanged by Coinchek Inc. voiced anger and anxiety over the company's announcement that a huge sum of the virtual currency NEM had been stolen.

NEM is a digital now like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, and is presently the eight largest cryptocurrency by volume. Lon Wong, the president of the NEM Foundation, was quoted by Sead Fadilpašić and Stuart Garlick of Cryptonews.com as saying, "This is the biggest theft in the history of the world".

The exchange posted several updates in a blog post and that announced that "certain Coincheck Payment features will be temporarily unavailable starting at 5 pm JST on 1/27/2018". The loss follows a hacking attack on the exchange's network. "As soon as the cause is known", it continued, "we will take measures to prevent recurrence".

Cryptocurrency exchanges are central targets for criminal activity right now, especially since bitcoin reached exponential heights at the end of past year.

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One customer said, "I want to know what happened".

Cryptocurrency exchanges, many of which operate with little to no regulation, have experienced a spate of outages and hacks amid the trading boom that propelled bitcoin and its peers to record highs past year. They have had to unfortunately suspended withdrawals of nearly all cryptocurrencies.The exchange has already reported the incident to the police and to Japan's Financial Services Agency.

All told, about 500 million XEM tokens, worth roughly $420 million, was stolen from Coincheck, according to Bloomberg. While that may be peanuts compared to the 30 trillion yen or so once held by Bitcoin, the largest of any digital currency, NEM was popular with individual investors.

Experts say it is common for virtual currency exchanges to store currencies in systems that are shut off from outside networks to prevent outsiders from illegally accessing the systems.

UPD: There is still no clear information whether this was a hack or a planned action.

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