Japan's Coincheck to reimburse $535M lost in cryptocurrency hacking

by Susie Olson January 28, 2018, 0:32
Japan's Coincheck to reimburse $535M lost in cryptocurrency hacking

One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in Tokyo, Coincheck was hacked and over $500m (£352m) worth of digital currency was stolen by hackers in what is now considered to be the biggest cryptocurrency heist to date.

At 12:38 PM local time, the exchange halted all purchases of NEM, a token on a distributed blockchain of the same name. Mt. Gox declared bankrupcy in what became one of the largest crypto scandals that shook the market in 2013-2014.

The Japanese exchange said it did not appear that hackers had stolen other digital currencies.

Coincheck says that it has restricted deposits and withdrawals for a cryptocurrency called NEM, and Bloomberg reports that 500 million NEM tokens have been sent from the company "illicitly", and that it's not sure how.

Coincheck said it had discovered the breach at 11.25 am and announced it had suspended trading for all cryptocurrencies apart from bitcoin in a series of tweets.

Ars attempted to reach representatives of Coincheck and the NEM Foundation without success.

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"By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in Bitcoin price mean that it's for the "wrong" amount", Stripe product manager Tom Karlo said in a statement. While this is the biggest theft in cryptocurrency history, it's certainly not the first and will not likely be the last.

A Japanese cryptocurrency exchange has claimed it lost more than $400 million in tokens following an alleged hack on its service. "Please accept our sincerest apologies for this inconvenience", the blog post reads.

The Saturday warning came after some 58 billion yen ($534 million) in customers' virtual currency holdings was stolen from Coincheck, a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange, on Friday.

This news comes as a bit of a shock to investors as CoinCheck is said to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan.

The cryptocurrencies have managed to recover some of its losses in more recent trading, but at the time of writing they are still down over the 24-hour period. Other estimates peg the loss a bit lower at around $420 million, and some have it as high as $600 million. Coincheck didn't use them, and that's why they could have been hacked.


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