Bithumb, a major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, confirmed it was the victim of a hack this week, raising concerns of the safety of crypto exchanges yet again.
Ranked the world’s seventh-largest exchange by trading volume, Bithumb said hackers had stolen approximately 35 billion won ($32 million) in coins including Ripple’s XRP token. As a consequence, the exchange operator halted cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals before insisting victims will be compensated. The exchange also said it will move investors’ assets to a ‘cold’ offline wallet, making it less vulnerable to theft.
South Korea’s policymakers are now debating ‘comprehensive regulations” for the sector, Bloomberg reports. A number of proposals are being discussed from overseeing exchanges with increased supervision to even shutting down exchanges completely.
Meanwhile, a government investigation into the hack is underway with authorities stating there will be a review of security systems at 21 domestic crypto exchanges.
The incident marks the latest cyberattack on crypto exchanges, with investor concerns showing no signs of abating. Earlier this year, another South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Coinrail, was also hacked and reported losses worth $37 million in crypto tokens.
Ramping up on cybersecurity safeguards will be a key objective for the industry which remains a hugely unregulated sector in Korea and much of the world despite its advent as a major investment area.
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