Bitcoin plummets after South Korean exchange hack

Bitcoin (BTC) Nosedives Amid South Korea Exchange Heist

Bitcoin (BTC) Nosedives Amid South Korea Exchange Heist

The cryptocoin's value has reached a two-month low, losing $500 in just an hour, The Guardian reported.

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

There has been a sharp drop in the price of bitcoin and other virtual currencies after South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail was hacked over the weekend. It did not quantify its value, but in an unsourced report local news outlet Yonhap news estimated that about 40 billion won ($37.28 million) worth of virtual coins were stolen. It said it had frozen the tokens that were stolen and halted all trading across the exchange to help with a police investigation.

In a statement on its website on Monday, Coinrail said its system was under "cyber intrusion", causing a loss for about 30 per cent of the coins traded on the exchange.

A cryptocurrency exchange hack in South Korea jolted holders of digital assets, fueling a $46 billion selloff and extending this year's Bitcoin slump to more than 50 percent.

Coinrail said hackers stole cryptocurrencies including Pundi X, Aston and NPER. While the latest hacking target - a South Korean venue called Coinrail - is much smaller, the news triggered knee-jerk selling by investors, according to Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trading at Oanda Corp in Singapore.

In South Korea, 14 major local cryptocurrency exchanges adopted measures aimed at better protecting users in January this year, including restrictions on creating more than one account.

Coinrail claims 70 percent of its cryptocurrency reserves are safe and have been transferred to cold wallets for security reasons; their transactions and withdrawals will resume as usual once the exchange service is stabilized.

"We began the investigation immediately after receiving reports from the company. For the rest, we are investigating into it with an investigative agency, related exchanges and coin developers", it added.

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