Cryptocurrencies Fall as Korean Exchange Says $32 Million of Coins Stolen

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Bithumb, ranked No. 7 globally by traded value on Coinmarketcap.com, said on Wednesday that hackers stole about 35 billion won (S$39.2 million) and that Ripple was among the coins taken.

The price of Bitcoin is on the slide today after the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb said $31.5 million worth of virtual coins were stolen by hackers. Bithumb said its cryptocurrency holdings were shifted to an offline "cold wallet", and any losses for traders would be covered.

The Coinrail hack coincided with a significant dip in the prices of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin losing $1,000 in a matter of hours.

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One of South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, is the latest cryptocurrency platform to be comprised by hackers. Global policymakers have warned investors to be cautious in trading the digital currency given the lack of broad regulatory oversight.

Bithumb did not immediately respond to Reuters" request for comments, and its statement did not say whether the stolen coins were stored in its "hot wallets'.

It has fallen roughly 70 percent from its all-time peak hit around mid-December 2017.

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Enthusiasm for virtual currencies has waned this year partly due to a string of cyber heists, including the almost $500 million theft from Japanese exchange Coincheck Inc.in late January.

Hyper-wired South Korea has emerged as a hotbed of trading in virtual units, at one point accounting for some 20 percent of global bitcoin transactions - about 10 times the country's share of the global economy.

What just happened? For the second time this month, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange has been hacked and suffered millions of dollars' worth of losses. But the government said it does not intend to go as far as shutting down domestic exchanges.

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