Bitcoin price plunges after cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail is hacked

Bitcoin price plunges after cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail is hacked

First and foremost is the news that another South Korean exchange has been hacked.

The frozen tokens are Pundi X (NPXS), Aston (ATX) and Nper (NPER), according to the local crypto exchange.

On the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp, bitcoin was last trading at $6,763.96, down a sharp 11.2 per cent from Friday, having fallen roughly 65 per cent from its all-time peak hit around mid-December 2017.

Bitcoin has dropped 11% since 5 pm NY time on Friday and was trading at $6,784.04 as of 10:21 Hong Kong on Monday, bringing its year-to-date loss to 53%.

"This is 'If it can happen to A, it can happen to B and it can happen to C, ' then people panic because someone is selling", said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA.

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The South Korean police began an investigation on Monday after Korea's seventh largest crypto exchange Coinrail lost more than 40 billion ($37 million) in altcoins in an apparent attack by hackers over the weekend.

Enthusiasm for virtual currencies has waned partly due to a string of cyber heists, including the almost $500 million theft from Japanese exchange Coincheck late January. "70% of total coin and token reserves have been confirmed to be safely stored and moved to a cold wallet [not directly connected to the internet]".

A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange says hackers have stolen about one-third of the coins traded on its market.

The largest cryptocurrency declined to $US6,749 as of 2 NY, the biggest drop since March 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from Bitstamp pricing. During the early morning hours, the father of cryptocurrencies was trading for as low as $7,200, though at the time of writing, bitcoin has dropped even further down to $6,700 - approximately $900 less than where it stood just 24 hours ago.

Some Asia-listed stocks with exposure to digital currencies fell on Monday.