Japanese-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has confirmed a hacker broke through its security today and stole hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto. NEM worth $532 million and Ripple worth $123 million vanished. [Note: Subsequent reports suggest no other cryptocurrencies were stolen, including Ripple.] Coincheck has frozen all wallets as the Financial Services Authority and the Police investigate.
Because Japan recognizes Bitcoin as a currency, it is a major market maker in the cryptocurrency space. Coincheck’s freeze triggered a 16% drop in NEM’s price within hours. Ripple slid nearly 9% and Bitcoin dropped nearly 5%.
All withdrawals from the platform are currently restricted, including JPY. Thank you for your understanding. We are doing our utmost to resume normal operations as soon as possible. https://t.co/4OCB0LPDuz
— Coincheck (@coincheck_en) January 26, 2018
Coincheck is an unregulated, centralized exchange.
The breach highlights the problems of cryptocurrency exchanges where investors do not hold their actual deposits. Decentralized exchanges and wallets are proliferating, as traders try to secure and control their assets.