Attackers have stolen over half a billion dollars worth of digital currency from Coincheck, a leading Tokyo cryptocurrency trading exchange. The exchange has responded by suspending the withdrawal of virtually all digital currency and has alerted Japan’s Financial Services Agency and the police.
This attack is not without precedent. Four years ago Mt Gox, the Japanese company that dealt with more than three quarters of all global bitcoin trading, was forced to close down after thieves raided its bank accounts; stealing 850,000 bitcoins (valued at the time at $500,000), as well as a cash sum of $28 million.
Last week at a world leaders meeting held in Davos, a strong warning was released regarding the dangers of cryptocurrencies and the concern of money being used for unlawful activities.
Bitcoin-based crime appears to be the current flavour of the month.