Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has confirmed that it has suffered what appears to be the biggest hack in history of the technology.
In a press conference at 23:30 JST (14:30 UST), the exchange’s president and chief operating officer confirmed that around 500 million NEM tokens then worth around 58 billion yen (approx. $533 million) were taken from Coincheck’s digital wallets on Friday, according to new source Asahi.
Coincheck is looking into compensating its customers, its executives also announced.
The dollar amount stolen from Coincheck is likely greater than the amount stolen from Mt. Gox in 2014, though the impact on the cryptocurrency market will be much smaller, given the immense increases in the overall market capitalization over the past year.
Rumors had been circulating about the theft since early this morning when Coincheck abruptly froze most of its services.
The firm announced on its website around 13:00 JST (04:00 UTC) that it had restricted deposits, trading and withdrawal of XEM, the token running on the NEM blockchain.
A wider suspension on withdrawals of all cryptocurrencies as well as Japanese yen was announced around 30 minutes later. In the following hour, trading of all cryptocurrencies was also restricted, except bitcoin. According to the latest update, other deposit methods including credit cards have also been stopped.
Prices of most of the top cryptocurrencies fell Friday morning, but only slightly, except for NEM, which was off about 11 percent as of 16:05 a.m. UTC, according to CoinMarketCap.
Image via Coincheck conference
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Coincheck Confirms Crypto Hack Loss Larger than Mt Gox