Cryptocurrencies tumble after S. Korea hack

June 11, 2018
Bitcoin was among a number of cryptocurrencies that plunged in Asian trade following news of the hack on South Korean exchange Coinrail

Cryptocurrencies plunged in Asia on Monday after a hack on a South Korean exchange sparked fresh concerns about the safety of the digital units.

The attack on Coinrail comes months after Japanese firm Coincheck said it had lost more than $500 million in a January hack.

Coinrail did not specify the value of the currency that was taken in the attack at the weekend but said it was working with authorities and other coin developers to track down the culprits.

The firm, which trades more than 50 cryptocurrencies, added that it had frozen all exposed coins—Fundus X, Aston, and Enper—and other units had been taken offline in a "cold wallet".

The news sent cryptocurrencies tumbling, with bitcoin losing about 13 percent, ethereum down 12 percent and ripple almost 20 percent lower as traders fret over the safety of their investments.

"This is 'If it can happen to A, it can happen to B and it can happen to C,' then people panic because someone is selling," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA.

"The markets are so thinly traded, primarily by retail accounts, that these guys can get really scared out of positions," he said. "It actually doesn't take a lot of money to move the market significantly."

Cryptocurrencies have plunged since the end of 2017, when bitcoin hit a record high near $20,000, having surged from less than $1,000 just 11 months earlier. The unit is now worth around $6,780.

South Korea is one of the biggest markets for trading in digital currencies but the boom in their popularity has forced the government to tighten regulations, following similar moves in other countries.

Japan in February carried out raids on a number of exchanges following the Coinbase hack, which exceeded the $480 million in virtually currency stolen in 2014 from another Japanese exchange, MtGox.

Explore further: Cryptocurrencies fall after Japan's Coincheck halts withdrawals

Related Stories

S. Korea govt sends bitcoin on rollercoaster ride

January 11, 2018

Bitcoin and other virtual currencies were sent on rollercoaster rides in South Korea Thursday as the government said it was planning to ban cryptocurrency exchanges, before later backtracking.

Central banker takes stab at bitcoin 'bubble'

February 6, 2018

The head of the Bank of International Settlements, the central bank for central banks, on Tuesday lambasted bitcoin as a speculative bubble and said authorities need to be ready to protect public trust in the financial system.

Recommended for you

A novel approach of improving battery performance

September 18, 2018

New technological developments by UNIST researchers promise to significantly boost the performance of lithium metal batteries in promising research for the next-generation of rechargeable batteries. The study also validates ...

Germany rolls out world's first hydrogen train

September 17, 2018

Germany on Monday rolled out the world's first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.