Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Bitcoin tumbles as hackers hit S.Korean exchange Coinrail

Bitcoin Continues To See Unprecedented Growth It has not been an easy start of the year for the world's most popular cryptocurrency
Nellie Chapman | 11 June, 2018, 15:27

Bitcoin has dropped 11% since 5pm NY time on Friday and was trading at $6,784.04 as of 10.21am in Hong Kong on Monday, bringing its year-to-date loss to 53%. It did not quantify its value, but in an unsourced report local news outlet Yonhap news estimated that about 40 billion won ($37.28 million) worth of virtual coins were stolen.

Bitcoin fell more than 10% yesterday (June 11) to its lowest price in two months, after a relatively small crypto exchange in South Korea reported a hack.

"Two-thirds of stolen cryptocurrencies were withdrawn or frozen in partnership with related exchanges and coin companies". In January 2018 some $500-worth of cryptocurrency was stolen as a result of a hack on Japan-based exchange Coincheck, which led to a severe drop in market prices for various digital currencies and toughening of the country's policies towards cryptocurrency exchanges.

Coinrail said hackers stole cryptocurrencies including Pundi X, Aston and NPER. Another Korean cryptocurrency exchange Youbit lost bitcoins worth around 20 billion won a year ago to cyberthieves twice, once in April and again in December.

Coinrail is not a member of the group that promotes self regulations to enhance security.

Coinrail later said in a statement on its website that its system was hit by "cyber intrusion" on Sunday, causing a loss for about 30% of the coins traded on the exchange.

South Korea is one of the world's major cryptocurrency trading centres, and is home to one of the busiest virtual coin exchanges, Bithumb.

Coins other than Pundi X seem to have been transferred to a wallet at another decentralized cryptocurrency exchange, Etherdelta. "Coinrail said the balance 70 percent of virtual coins are now secure in its cold wallet, which operates on platforms not directly connected to the internet".

The price plunges were also linked to a report on Friday from the Wall Street Journal (paywall) that USA regulators are investigating four major crypto exchanges, including Coinbase and Bitstamp, for price manipulation.

The Korean National Police Agency didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.