Japanese crypto exchange Bitpoint has become the latest exchange to suffer a major loss of funds. Its loss of $32 million—in five cryptocurrencies—was announced today.
The majority of the coins stolen were from customer funds, with just over a quarter belonging to the exchange itself. The funds stolen were in bitcoin, ethereum, XRP, litecoin and bitcoin cash.
Bitpoint has not yet said whether customer’s funds will be recouped. Hacked exchanges typically choose to pay back stolen funds, rather than declare bankruptcy, given that they can cover the costs.
This is not the first serious hack Japan has seen. The nation was an early adopter, and so suffered some of the earliest hacks, notably Mt. Gox—which lost $350 million back in 2014.
In a strange twist, Bitpoint may also be the same exchange that sold $318 million of Mt. Gox’s coins last year. These were sold by trustees on behalf of the exchange with the original intent of paying back creditors in the fiat equivalent of the bitcoin they lost. Many believed this helped to sink the prices of cryptocurrencies across the board, and was a harbinger for the long crypto winter.
According to bank documents revealed on a website called GoxDox, the trustee who sold the coins received millions in dollars from Bitpoint, implying that it was the exchange of choice for the sale of coins.
Because of high profile hacks such as Mt Gox and, more recently Coincheck, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) came down hard on cryptocurrency services, and especially exchanges throughout 2018. No news licenses were issued in that year. Instead, crypto companies, including the owners of Bitpoint, received business improvement orders to beef up security.
While putting such pressure on existing exchanges to keep funds secure, the Japanese authorities have been encouraging more exchanges to set up shop. However, the Bitpoint hack will give them cause to think again,
The hack also had a detrimental effect on the shares of Bitpoint parent company Remixpoint, which saw a 19 percent tumble.
But the cryptocurrency market, as a whole, was unaffected, with most of the top 20 coins showing a recovery following yesterday’s substantial fall in price.