Bitcoin Price Dropped below $7,000 as South Korea’s Upbit Exchange Confirms Hacker Attack

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by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
Bitcoin Price Dropped below $7,000 as South Korea’s Upbit Exchange Confirms Hacker Attack
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Upbit has lost 324,000 ETH to hackers, who transferred the funds to an unknown address. The exchange has taken a few temporary steps to ensure security, and has announced it will cover the loss to customers.

Earlier today, news of a possible hack on one of South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange platforms Upbit made the rounds. Reports had it that the exchange’s customers were confused because they noticed quite a few irregularities with their accounts including the inability to transfer funds. In a recent publication, Upbit has now confirmed that a large and unauthorized amount of funds was moved to an unknown wallet.

It’s also worth mentioning that this news has negatively influenced the price of Bitcoin which has fallen below $7000. However, now it’s gone slightly up since then.

According to a blog post, Lee Seok-woo who is the CEO of Upbit operator Doo-myeon, about 58 billion won ($49.2 million) worth of Ether (ETH), was transferred out of an Upbit Ethereum hot wallet to an unknown wallet. To keep funds safe, the exchange has taken a few measures.

Firstly, customers initially complained that apart from ETH, a few other cryptocurrencies including Tron (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT), were transferred as well. Whale Alert, a Twitter account dedicated to posting large crypto transactions, revealed that $3.5 million worth of BTT and $1.5 million worth of TRX were sent to unknown addresses. Seok-woo clarifies this saying that the fraudulent transfers only involved ETH and that all other transfers involving other assets were just the company’s precautions specifically moving funds in hot wallets to cold ones. 

Secondly, the company has disabled the function that allows users to make withdrawals and deposits just to be safe. The publication states that it might take up to two weeks before normalcy is returned. Also, Upbit has said that a total of 342,000 ETH was transferred at 4:00 UTC, but has assured all its users that everything will be covered with corporate funds, which is already being worked on.

 Furthermore, Whale Alert recorded more fund transfers including $8.7 million in Stellar (XLM), $22 million worth of EOS, $1.08 million worth of OmiseGo (OMG) and $3.4 million in Status (SNT). The blog post also asks customers to “prevent deposits from the Ethereum address where the abnormal withdrawal has occurred.”

Before now, Upbit was the only one of South Korea’s biggest crypto exchanges, that had never been hacked. The exchange offers more than 200 trading pairs and data from CoinMarketCap shows that Upbit is ranked at the 51st position by trading volume and has processed over $119 million in the last 24 hours.

In a recent tweet, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has said that Binance will work with Upbit and all other parties, to make sure that any part of the stolen ETH will be frozen if it ever enters the Binance platform.

As 2019 is coming to its end, we can already make some conclusions about “hack results” of this year.

As for South Korea itself, let us remind you that it was announced that the country had begun taken decisive steps to create better regulatory standards for its crypto clime as it’s National Assembly’s national policy committee has now passed a bill for this purpose. According to the new bill, crypto exchanges will have to be guided by the Financial Services Commission, with stricter laws regarding know-your-customer (KYC) requirements and anti-money laundering (AML).

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Tolu Ajiboye
Author Tolu Ajiboye

Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.

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