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Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Loses Over $500 Million In Heist

28 January 2018
Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Loses Over $500 Million In Heist

Mt. Gox, a former Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, filed for bankruptcy after $460 million worth of bitcoin was stolen by hackers. Bitcoin recouped its losses and by 11:14 a.m. ET was up 0.35% against the USA dollar at $11,193 a coin, according to Markets Insider data.

Coincheck, which calls itself the leading Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency exchange in Asia, said it had detected the unauthorized access to the system shortly before 3 am Friday (1800 GMT Thursday). What started on Friday as a freeze of NEM deposits quickly spread to other altcoins and withdrawals.

But then, neither Coincheck nor XEM are as systemically important as Gox and bitcoin were four years ago.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are central targets for criminal activity right now, especially since bitcoin reached exponential heights at the end of past year. Today, there are many more exchanges, and many more cryptocurrencies. At the time of writing the crypto exchange has stopped all currency withdrawals, both crypto and fiat.

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

"Most people recommend, if they're owning a material amount of the crypto assets, put those in cold storage, which means just buy a wallet that you can take off the network and store in a safe place in your home". However, the exchange hasn't confirmed anything but the NEM theft.

Following the hack, the Coincheck exchange has hosted a press conference to provide the details of what has happened and what's coming next. Coincheck also apologized for abruptly shutting down its services. However, it is not absolutely certain that every account tagged contained stolen XEM, or that every stolen token has been tagged.

Many of these tokens are still down on the day, however, and it remains to be seen whether most of the coins listed on CoinMarketCap will move into the green.

The attack was reportedly only discovered at 1.30pm, at which time CoinCheck suspended trading.

NEM's XEM tokens notably began to recover after hitting a low of 76.5 cents per token - which is still higher than the 72.1 cents per token it traded at on January 17.