Another Cryptocurrency Exchange Hit – Coincheck Confirms Theft Bigger Than Mt Gox

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Jan 26, 2018
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Mt Gox may have been carrying the torch for suffering the biggest theft in the short history of cryptocurrency and the history of technology itself, there is already another contender. Coincheck, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange has confirmed it has suffered what could potentially be the biggest hack in the history.

In a press conference, president Wakata Koichi Yoshihiro, and chief operating officer of Coincheck, Yusuke Otsuka said that they are putting their losses at 58 billion yen (approx. $533 million at the time of theft). Hackers allegedly stole 500 million units of NEM, a newer cryptocurrency, leaving the Mt Gox (another Japanese exchange) hack of 2014 behind. Mt. Gox had seen $450 million worth of bitcoin gone missing. The full amount, however, may not be known until complete investigation is carried out by Coincheck and the investigators.

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The two announced the theft at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in a late-night press conference. Bloomberg, which was present during the conference, reported earlier today that NEM deposits were being suspended before the exchange stopped all NEM trading. The exchange posted several updates today in a blog post.

Depositing NEM on Coincheck is currently being restricted. Deposits made to your account will not be reflected in your balance, and we advise all users to refrain from making deposits until the restriction has been lifted.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused everyone. Please follow the official Coincheck blog and our official social media accounts for updates.

Coincheck said it didn’t know how the 500 million tokens went missing, but it is working to ensure the safety of all assets. Cryptocurrency exchanges are prime targets for criminal activity right now, especially since bitcoin rose to exponential heights at the end of last year.

After suspending withdrawals and then halting trading, the exchange said it has also stopped deposits into NEM coins. Japan’s Financial Services Agency said in its statement that it is “looking into the facts surrounding Coincheck.” Some reports suggest that NEM might not be the only currency missing. Kaspersky Lab’s Costin Raiu said there was a transfer of $110 million worth of Ripple out of Coincheck, adding “hacking suspected.” However, the exchange hasn’t confirmed anything but the NEM theft.

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The exchange has said it’s considering compensating clients.

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