Cryptocurrency exchange loses $400 million worth of coins in massive NEM hack

Bitcoin price plunges as Britain threatens to impose strict cryptocurrency laws

Bitcoin price plunges as Britain threatens to impose strict cryptocurrency laws

$400 million worth of cryptocurrency has disappeared from a Japanese exchange.

In a press conference at 23.30 Japan Standard Time (14:30 UST), Wakata Koichi Yoshihiro, the Coincheck exchange's president, and Yusuke Otsuka, the COO, announced that hackers have gained access to $533 million (58 billion yen) worth NEM (XEM) crypto coin.

At a press conference in Tokyo at midnight Friday, Coincheck Inc.

Following the breach, Coincheck put a halt on NEM trading, followed by a restriction on purchases and sales of all digital currencies, save for Bitcoin.

It's important to note that Coincheck is not registered with the Financial Services Authority of Japan which is the regulator that controls exchanges in the company.

In 2014 major Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange MtGox collapsed after admitting that 850,000 coins - worth around $480 million at the time - had disappeared from its vaults.

According to now available information, the hacker (s) stole only NEM tokens, a recently launched cryptocurrency, ranked the tenth digital currency in the world, based on market cap.

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Regarding the amount of compensation for affected customers, the company only said, "We'll do everything we can to not cause trouble [to our customers]".

The loss would be the biggest to affect a bitcoin exchange, exceeding the 46.5 billion yen that went missing from Mt. Gox, a now defunct virtual currency exchange.

The news had a negative impact on the entire cryptocurrency market, but Ripple and NEM suffered the heaviest blows. They were very relaxed with their security measures.

The trade freeze looks to be tied to NEM, which consequently saw the following message sent out to users on the exchange: "Depositing NEM on Coincheck is now being restricted".

Coincheck managed its NEM accounts on systems vulnerable to hacking via external networks. The combined 525.3 million NEM stolen, some 5.8 percent of the total circulating NEM supply, is valued at roughly $500 million.

Meanwhile, news of the hack has led to a drop in the value of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency exchanges are prime targets for criminal activity right now, especially since bitcoin rose to exponential heights at the end of past year.

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