Coincheck to refund 58bn yen lost in hacking attack

Coincheck to refund 58bn yen lost in hacking attack

Japan on Monday imposed administrative measures on virtual currency exchange Coincheck after hackers stole hundreds of millions of dollars in digital assets from the Tokyo-based firm in one of the biggest heists ever.

Coincheck will refund all of the roughly 260,000 NEM holders in yen, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), which rolled out a licensing requirement for the country's cryptocurrency exchanges a year ago, ordered Coincheck to investigate the incident on Friday that caused the loss of $523 million worth of NEM coins from investor wallets. So far, the FSA has registered 16 cryptocurrency exchanges, and an additional 16 are still anticipating approval while continuing to offer services.

Among the other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin dropped 3.4% and Ripple retreated 9.9% on Friday, according to prices seen by the agency.

The Mt. Gox case put many Japanese investors off bitcoin, at least for a time, and prompted authorities to impose more regulations.

The incident has been facilitated by the fact that the NEM coins were stored in a "hot wallet", i.e.an online deposit, as opposed to a "cold wallet" (which is a digital wallet operating without being connected to the web).

The agency issued the order on Monday after it questioned Coincheck officials about the theft and its security arrangements.

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And in spite of the recent and growing spate of attacks involving cryptocurrencies, Kolochenko says proper investigation of incidents is still nascent in most countries.

"It's worth 58bn yen based on the calculation at the rate when detected", he told reporters at the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Coincheck "did not store the important things separately", he said.

The watchdog said it will continue to raise awareness following the cyberheist, which has jolted the nation's cryptocurrency market, and that it has asked exchanges to review its security operations. NEM said it has already shown exchanges how to check if an account has been tagged.

Last Friday, it was reported that Coincheck had halted client withdrawals without any explanation, giving rise to speculation that the exchange had been hacked.

According to a report from the Nikkei, it was due to sloppy management at Coincheck, which left customers' money at risk. Such efforts however will not help identify hackers if they send crypto currencies to exchanges outside Korea that do not identify their users.

Coincheck promised to compensate the loss. The hack ranks among the largest of cryptocurrency since the launch of bitcoin.

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