Japan may witness World’s biggest ever digital currency ‘theft’

Coincheck, one of Japan’s largest digital currency exchanges says it has lost some $534m worth of virtual money in a hacking attack on its network.

Coincheck suspended deposits and withdrawals for all crypto-currencies except Bitcoin as it assessed its losses in NEM, a lesser-known coin.

If the theft is confirmed, it will be the largest involving digital currency.The stolen Coincheck money was said to be kept in a “hot wallet” – a part of the exchange connected to the internet. That contrasts with a cold wallet, where funds are stored securely offline.

Coincheck says it has the digital address of where the money was sent and is going to do what it can to compensate investors.

The statement released by the company said  that the hackers broke in at 02:57 (17:57 GMT) on Friday,but the breach was not discovered until 11:25, nearly eight and a half hours later.

Coincheck has reported the incident to the police and to Japan’s Financial Services Agency.

Company chief operating officer Yusuke Otsuka said 523m NEMs had been sent from Coincheck’s NEM address during the breach.

Otsuka added, “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.”