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Upbit admits 58 billion won of ethereum was stolen

Nov 29,2019
Upbit, one of Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, notified its clients that 58 billion won ($49.2 million) of ethereum was transferred from its ethereum wallet to an unknown wallet on Wednesday.

The exchange has now suspended deposits and withdrawals.

Lee Sir-goo, CEO of Dunamu, which owns the crypto trading platform, said late Wednesday that it will replace the lost tokens with its own assets.

“At approximately 1:06 p.m. on Nov. 27, 342,000 ethereum was sent from Upbit’s ethereum hot wallet to an anonymous wallet address - 0xa09871AEadF4994Ca12f5c0b6056BBd1d343c029,” Lee said in a statement. “We took immediate action to protect your assets, and no investors’ assets were lost.”

Following the incident, the operator transferred all of its virtual assets from hot wallets to cold wallets. A hot wallet is an online cryptocurrency storage system, as opposed to a cold wallet, which is offline.

It has also halted all deposits and withdrawals of all listed tokens, a measure that Upbit says will last around two weeks.

Trading is still permitted.

In the initial notice, Upbit did not say why it was suspending services since its own investigation is undergoing but later updated a subsequent post to explain the attack.

Following the incident, prices on Upbit fluctuated dramatically, prompting the exchange to issue a warning.

“We have noticed the price of some crypto assets is showing a gap from international market prices. This gap could lead to investment loss when we resume deposits and withdrawals,” it said. “Also, we will announce the crypto asset deposit and withdrawal schedule before we resume [services].”

The event barely affected the price of ethereum.

Ethereum currently maintains its bullish momentum, trading at 180,321 won as of 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.

The theft is the latest in a series of similar cases at other crypto exchanges overseas.

Japanese exchange Bitpoint lost $28 million in July, affecting some 50,000 clients, while Singapore’s Bitrue exchange lost $4.2 million of its users’ funds in June.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]