Crypto Exchange Heist Sends Markets Tumbling-P.BCHAIN

Enthusiasm for virtual currencies has waned partly due to a string of cyber heists including the nearly $500 million theft from Japanese exchange Coincheck Inc. in late January

Bitcoin (BTC) Nosedives Amid South Korea Exchange Heist

While South Korea has become a hotbed of trading in cryptocurrencies, Coinrail is among South Korea's smaller trading platforms.

The world's best-known cryptocurrency lost $500 (£372) in an hour, dropping to $6,627 on the Luxembourg exchange Bitstamp, while most other digital currencies also recorded large losses.

The world's most valuable digital currency is now trading at $7,229 per coin, widening losses for the year to 48%.

When the bitcoin price fell more than $1,000 and the cryptocurrency market cap shed more than $40 billion on "Bloody Sunday", many media commentators attributed the decline to a security breach at a small cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea.

Bitcoin has dropped 11 per cent since 5 p.m. At the height of the global crypto-mania in early January, they were worth about $830 billion. The stolen coins that are now frozen were in the NPXS, NPER and ATX currencies, it said.

Bitcoin (BTC) Nosedives Amid South Korea Exchange Heist

"The markets are so thinly traded, primarily by retail accounts, that these guys can get really scared out of positions", he said.

Coinrail called the breach a "cyber intrusion" and said 70 percent of total coin and token reserves "have been confirmed to be safely stored and moved to a cold wallet", which is a file not connected to the Internet.

A tweet from Coinrail - a relatively small South Korean cryptocurrency exchange - confirmed the cyber-attack, The report nearly immdiately sent the price of bitcoin tumbling 10%, to two-month lows.

Before the attack, Coinrail ranked near the bottom of the 100 biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world by trading volume, according to data from coinmarketcap.com.

The statement also said the exchange is fully cooperating with a police investigation into the hacking, and that trading has been suspended for now. South Korea's Omnitel Inc. and Vidente Co. both retreated at least 4%, while Japan's Remixpoint Inc. slumped about 6%.

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