When a cryptocurrency neophyte gets into the market, the first piece of advice usually given is: be prepared to lose everything. Cryptocurrency is deregulated, and uninsured. Yes, people have become rich overnight thanks to holding onto their digital coins, but with their stashes comes great risk. Now we’re seeing one of the largest hacks of a cryptocurrency exchange yet, as Japan’s Coincheck exchange has lost 500 million coins of NEM valued at roughly $400 million at the time of the heist.
NEM is currently a top ten cryptocurrency, valued as of this writing at $1.05 per coin, up from the 80 cents it was hovering around just days ago (it’s also up 28 percent on the day). Bloomberg has reported that the coins were sent “illicitly” from Coincheck, and the company is still trying to determine how this was done. Co-founder Yusuke Otsuka spoke to the press at the Tokyo Stock Exchange about the incident:
“We know where the funds were sent. We are tracing them and if we’re able to continue tracking, it may be possible to recover them. But it is something we are investigating at the moment.”
Coincheck has since sent out a tweet, saying they’re considering refunding those affected, while also freezing their exchange for now.
Coincheck said on their website that the timeframe for when their exchange will be back up is unclear, but users will still be able to access their dashboards for the time being. Potentially to move whatever currency they have off the exchange and into a more secure wallet.