Bitcoin price drops again after yet another cryptocurrency exchange hack


What just happened? For the second time this month, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange has been hacked and suffered millions of dollars' worth of losses.

Bithumb is thought to be the sixth largest exchange in the world based on its trading volume of over $370m. Bitcoin was up 4 percent to 7.42 million won as of 2:20 p.m. while Etherum was up 5 percent to 591,500 won, according to Bithumb.

The minor correction was evidently triggered by the Bithumb hack, which immediately stopped the corrective rally of the cryptocurrency market and the short-term rally of Bitcoin from $6,300 to $6,700. At time of writing, cryptocurrency news service Coindesk recorded a almost 2 percent drop in Bitcoin value from Tuesday.

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Earlier this year, North Korea was linked to attacks on South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, and a previous report said North Korean hackers targeted four South Korean exchanges last summer.

Bithumb then moved to relocate most of its funds to a cold (offline) wallet for safe-keeping, until it audits, rebuilds, and roots out the hackers from its IT system.

South Korean policymakers are debating comprehensive regulations covering cryptocurrencies, with proposals ranging from shutting down local exchanges to allowing them to operate under increased supervision. Senior IEEE Member and Professor of Cybersecurity at Ulster University, Dr Kevin Curran, says that consumers are unlikely to have stolen cryptocurrency returned to them should say bye to stolen Bitcoin.

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In each of these hacks, the security shortcomings involve the exchanges' "hot wallets", or wallets that are stored and accessible online.

Over the past 14 months, the total amount of damages by hacking attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges stood at some 97.7 billion won, and few customers have received due compensation, according to the authorities. However, the effect of the Bithumb hack has seemingly sent Bitcoin's value into a downward slide to just $6,562 in the last 24 hours.

Some pundits blamed the Coinrail hack on the 11% "bloody Sunday" decline where hackers made off with around $40 million.

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Bithumb said that it reported the theft to the Korea Internet & Security Agency and that officials there are investigating.