On Sunday, June 10, renowned South Korean-based cryptocurrency exchange, CoinRail, announced that they had been victims of a hacking attempt. According to the cryptocurrency exchange’s official website “70% of the coin rail total coin / token reserves are safely stored” and, “Two-thirds of the coins confirmed to have been leaked are covered by freezing / recalling through consultation with each coach and related exchanges. The remaining one-third of coins are being investigated with investigators, relevant exchanges, and coin developers.”
Following the cyber-attack and its subsequent announcement, the cryptocurrency market suffered a loss of a whopping $42 billion of its market value. The tweet that announced the hack also triggered a $500 drop in the crypto space in a little over an hour – bitcoin, for one, suffered a 10 percent drop to a two-month low. Many other digital currencies including Ethereum were dragged down as well.
The hack has further triggered a lot of debate regarding the safety of crypto as a whole. Global policymakers, for instance, have warned investors to be cautious in trading cryptocurrencies citing the lack of regulatory oversight.
“CoinRail is not a member of the group that promotes self-regulation to enhance security. It is a minor player in the market and I can see how such small exchanges with lower standards on security level can be exposed to more risks,” Kim Jin-Hwa, a representative at Korea Blockchain Industry Association pointed out recently.
Ideally, since the hack was on a relatively small crypto exchange, there is no reason for cryptocurrency holders, investors and even speculators to panic over such an occurrence. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Added to the fact that CoinRail is just one of the growing list of crypto-related companies that have been hacked in the past few years, the fact that many people are switching to crypto represents a much bigger concern.
The hack might not be the absolute cause of the plummeting price of digital currencies but it remains to be a key concern that should be addressed soon if the crypto future that we are hoping for will come to be.
Already, 14 major cryptocurrencies in South Korea have adopted necessary measures that are aimed at protecting crypto users – these include restrictions that allow the users to have no more than a single account. As for CoinRail, cryptocurrency trading has been suspended for now as the exchange collaborates with the local authorities as they investigate the hacking. Hopefully, once the CoinRail issuer is resolved, we will see a reversal in the downward trend in the prices of crypto – that is, if it indeed had something to do with the price drops.