A few hours ago crypto markets plunged losing over 14 billion dollars in just a few hours. At the same time news emerged that South Korean crypto exchange Coinrail had suffered an incursion resulting in the theft of various altcoins.
According to twitter posts from the company there had been a ‘cyber intrusion’ with Pundi X (NPXS) suffering losses;
해킹공격시도로 인한 시스템 점검중입니다. 일부코인(펀디엑스,NPXS)이 확인되었으며 추가적인 코인피해가 있는지 여부를 확인중입니다. 추후 자세한 사항은 재공지하겠습니다 / There has been an cyber intrusion in our system. We're confirming it and some coins(Pundi X, NPXS) are confirmed.
— coinrail (@Coinrail_Korea) June 10, 2018
Coinrail is not one of the major exchanges; in fact it is relatively obscure ranked way down at 90th in terms of trade volume according to coinmarketcap.com. The exchange handles just under $2.7 million in volume per day. The majority of that is used to trade an equally obscure coin called Pundi X. The mission of Pundi X claims to “make buying cryptocurrency as easy as buying bottled water. As the Walmart and 7-Eleven of cryptocurrency, we want users to buy and use cryptocurrency anytime anywhere.”
Coinrail followed up with a post stating (translation);
“At 15:00 investigation, the other exchange, coin developers are working hard to recover the total amount of the leaked coins such as Ferndix, Enfer, and Aston in cooperation with two-thirds of the amount collected or recovered, as well as the cooperation of the investigation and related institutions for the remaining coins.”
Their website was down at the time of writing with the following message (translation);
“We are currently in the process of checking the server to provide a stable service environment. The system is being checked for hacking attempts. Some coins (Fund X, NPXS) have been identified and are being checked for additional coin damage. Currently, coins are under negotiation to prevent damage, and some coins may not be able to transmit to the network.”
It is unlikely that the hacking of an insignificant exchange trading a minor altcoin would cause Bitcoin and all other cryptos to slash billions of dollars from their market caps. But that is pretty much what has just happened over the past few hours.
Bitcoin fell from $7,620 to $7,320 in a quick dump that lasted 90 minutes. Ethereum did likewise shedding 5% in a similar timeframe. Markets have not moved much since the beginning of June but this latest fall has sent them back to a ten day low last seen at the end of May. At the time of writing crypto markets are worth $324 billion, down over 30% from May’s high of $470 billion.