Japan based cryptocurrency exchange, Coincheck lost 58 billion yen, close to $530 million, on Friday because of hacking. Coincheck, which is one of Tokyo’s major cryptocurrency exchange, stopped the sales and withdrawals of the currency NEM, according to its website. Other deposit methods including credit cards have also been stopped and trading of all cryptocurrencies except Bitcoin have been restricted, according to the latest update.
The exchange has already reported the hack to the authorities and to Japan’s Financial Services Agency. According to the company, around 523 million of the exchange’s NEM coins were sent to another account around 3 A.M. local time. The NEM coins were held in a “hot” wallet, which refers to a method of storage that is linked to the internet. The company further added, close to 98% of its digital currency holdings are offline, or in a “cold” storage. Coincheck is ranked fourth by market share on CryptoCompare and owns about 6% of yen-bitcoin trading.
In a press conference, the President of Coincheck, Wakata Koichi Yoshihiro and Chief Operating Officer Yusuke Otsuka said it did not appear that hackers had stolen any other digital currency. The company is now looking at compensating its customers. NEM’s protocol token XEM, briefly fell by more than 20% on Friday trading at $0.85, down from a high of $1.01, according to data from Coinmarketcap. However, little changed for most of the other digital currencies, including Bitcoin.
The recent hack is touted to be bigger than the amount stolen from Mt. Gox in 2014 which was pegged at $340 million. However, the impact on the cryptocurrency market is much smaller given the immense increase in market capitalization. In December last year, South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Youbit also lost 17% of its digital assets leading to its parent Yapian filing for bankruptcy.
According to Morgan Stanley analysts, an estimated $630 million in bitcoin has been lost to hackers by mid December, 2017.
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