Coinrail, a small South Korean cryptocurrency exchange that disclosed over the weekend it was hacked, sent the price of bitcoin lower.
The Wall Street Journal, citing data from CoinDesk, reported that during the weekend the price of bitcoin fell more than 10 percent, hitting less than $6,700. So far this year bitcoin has lost more than half of its value and has declined close to two thirds from a high of around $20,000 late last year. In February it fell to under $6,000, noted the Wall Street Journal. Rival cryptocurrencies Ethereum, ripple and bitcoin cash also declined during the weekend by more than 11 percent, noted the report.
Coinrail disclosed that alt coins, which are a version of bitcoin, had been stolen — with 70 percent of the tokens being moved to a so-called cold wallet, which is storage that’s not connected to the Internet. The company said it is working with authorities to recover the tokens. The Wall Street Journal said it is possible that greater than $40 million worth of the alt coins were stolen. Coinrail didn’t disclose the value of the coins stolen. Coinrail is small in terms of the exchanges operating out of South Korea.
The hack comes at a time when regulators in South Korea have been acting tougher when it comes to overseeing the cryptocurrency market. South Korea is a hotbed of digital token trading and has some of the highest trading volumes in the market. It is also known for cyber attacks of these cryptocurrency exchanges. But it’s not just South Korea that is seeing cryptocurrency exchanges targeted in online hacks — The Wall Street Journal noted that it has become a worldwide problem in recent years, with exchanges around the world being hacked. In January, for example, Coincheck out of Japan was targeted, while BitGrail out of Italy was the victim of a hack in February.