South Korean cryptocurrency community has been shaken by another hacking incident after UPbit, the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume acknowledged it had lost nearly $50 million worth of Etherium (ETH), one of the most bullish altcoins in the market.
The exchange announced some 342,000 ETHs were sent from its hot wallet to an Ethereum address that is unknown to the exchange at 1:06 pm on Wednesday. Upbit said it immediately suspended cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. It then transferred all cryptocurrencies from its hot wallet connected to the internet to an off-line cold wallet to prevent further losses.
It pledged to cover all the lost users’ funds with its own assets, adding deposit and withdrawal services may resume after two weeks.
The massive cryptocurrency theft, the biggest ever in South Korea so far, raised more questions about security reliability in local cryptocurrency exchanges. According to police data, there were eight cryptocurrency exchange hacks in Korea between July 2016 and March 2019, with losses amounting to nearly $140 million. In August 2018, Bithumb, another leading cryptocurrency exchange in Korea, suffered a hack, losing about $30 million in cryptocurrencies.
South Korean lawmakers are proposing a bill to mandate security regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges although the government has been passive in building a regulatory framework because it does not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender.
By Lee Sae-ha and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]