Major Japanese Exchange Freezes Withdrawals After $600M ‘Hack’

Japanese Bitcoin expert Koji Higashi is among those tweeting rumors major exchange Coincheck has “lost” up to $600 million in a hack.

Hack ‘Unconfirmed’ Amid Huge Funds Move

After social media announcements alerted users to a shutdown which first affected NEM’s XEM token and then all currencies, rumors soon followed that Coincheck had lost control of funds. Bitcoin prices began trending downwards Friday.

A transaction for 101,265,057 XRP ($123.5 million) reportedly left Coincheck’s wallet, while a much larger sum closer to $530 million in XEM may also have been sent unauthorized.

Higashi noted the situation was based on unconfirmed information.

Coincheck’s own warnings its books were on partial lockdown surfaced earlier Friday. XEM deposits were frozen, followed by XEM withdrawals and trading. A blanket withdrawal ban then came into force, the exchange updating an “urgent” blog post with sporadic information.

“All withdrawals from the platform are currently restricted, including JPY. Thank you for your understanding. We are doing our utmost to resume normal operations as soon as possible,” one of two most recent updates reads.

As of press time, the blog post includes advice that “Purchases and sales of cryptocurrencies other than BTC (altcoins) are currently restricted.”

Exchange Security Crackdown

Should Friday’s events be the result of a hack, the figures involved would mark a major blow to Japan’s fledgling regulated exchange sector.

The $600 million being floated dwarfs the amount claimed by attackers in any of 2017’s wallet compromises, including Parity’s much-publicized losses.

The news comes at a time when security robustness of Asian exchanges remains under the spotlight. In South Korea, regulators moved to fine exchanges for lax safety measures after an investigation revealed six out of ten major platforms were flouting laws.

At around $25,000 per offending exchange, criticism of laws continues to revolve around the fact that such violations deserve higher penalties due to the amounts of money at stake.

What do you think about the Coincheck rumors? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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