Cryptocurrencies tumble after South Korea hack

Bitcoin (BTC) Nosedives Amid South Korea Exchange Heist

Bitcoin (BTC) Nosedives Amid South Korea Exchange Heist

The markets are down this morning in the wake of an alleged $40 Million hack of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Coinrail.

Coinrail confirmed in a statement on its website that some of the exchange's digital currency appears to have been stolen by hackers, but it did not quantify its value.

Although the exact amount of the coins stolen was not specified, local news outlet Yonhap has suggested that the total value of stolen cryptocurrencies is estimated at $37.1 million.

A statement on the exchange's site sought to reassure users - saying that the remainder of the coins were "safely stored" - but Reuters reports that the value of Bitcoin tumbled to two-month lows in the hack's aftermath.

South Korea is one of the world's major cryptocurrency trading centers, and is home to one of the most heavily trafficked virtual coin exchanges, Bithumb.

The hacking attack on Coinrail comes after Japan's cyrptocurrency exchange Coincheck was hacked earlier this year in a high-profile theft of its digital currency.

On the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp, bitcoin BTC=BTSP was last trading at $6,790.88, down a sharp 10.8 percent from Friday, having fallen roughly 65 percent from its all-time peak hit around mid-December 2017. South Korea has been the third largest market for Bitcoin trading in the world after Japan and the U.S. and has also suffered several major exchange hacks resulting in both fear driven activity on the trading side and calls for more stringent regulation from the government. Coinrail only said that it was cooperating with investigators and other exchanges to try and track down the perpetrators and recover the assets.

"The remaining one-third of coins are being investigated with investigators, relevant exchanges and coin developers."
The rest of the coins were then moved to a safe "cold valet", which is disconnected from the internet.

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

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