Hackers have stolen £380m worth of a lesser-known cryptocurrency from one of Japan’s largest digital exchanges.
Coincheck, based in Tokyo, said around 523 million of the exchange’s NEM coins were sent to another account at around 3am local time on Friday morning.
The exchange has suspended deposits and withdrawals for all cryptocurrencies except Bitcoin. The stolen assets were reported to have been kept in a “hot wallet”, a digital storage option connected to the internet, as opposed to a “cold wallet”, where assets are kept offline.
Coincheck says it has the digital address of where the stolen cryptocurrency was sent and is looking into whether it is possible to recover the assets.
A representative of the exchange who was not named said Coincheck may not be able to refund the losses, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.
The company is examining how many customers may have been affected by the theft. Japanese broadcaster NHK said Coincheck has reported the incident to the police and to Japan’s Financial Service Agency.
Coincheck, which is headquartered in Shibuya, was founded in 2012 by Yusuke Otsuka and Koichiro Wada. The incident is believed to be the largest case of cryptocurrency theft.
Another exchange, MtGox, collapsed in 2014 following a theft of $460m.