A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Coinrail, said Monday its systems have been hacked, highlighting security concerns about virtual currency trading at small exchanges.
The hacking attack took place on Sunday and Coinrail reported the incident to the police, according to a statement posted on its website.
Coinrail said about 70 percent of its cryptocurrencies were moved to a more secure “cold wallet,” which can transfer coins into a platform that is not connected to the Internet.
Industry watchers believe that hackers stole about 40 billion won (US$37.2 million) worth of cryptocurrency from Coinrail, including 21 billion won worth of Pundi X and 14.9 billion won worth of Aston.
Trading has been suspended and Coinrail is fully cooperating with the probe into the hacking, the exchange said.
The hacking of Coinrail sent prices of cyrptocurrencies into a tailspin, with the price of bitcoin falling 6.22 percent to 7.5 million won on Monday afternoon, according to Bithumb, one of South Korea’s top three exchanges.
Last December, a local cryptocurrency exchange, YouBit, was forced to shut down after a hacking attack.
Cryptocurrencies plunged in Asia on Monday after a hack on a South Korean exchange sparked fresh concerns about the safety of the digital units.
The attack on Coinrail comes months after Japanese firm Coincheck said it had lost more than $500 million in a January hack.
Coinrail did not specify the value of the currency that was taken in the attack at the weekend but said it was working with authorities and other coin developers to track down the culprits.
The firm, which trades more than 50 cryptocurrencies, added that it had frozen all exposed coins — Fundus X, Aston, and Enper — and other units had been taken offline in a “cold wallet”.
The news sent cryptocurrencies tumbling, with bitcoin losing about 13 percent, ethereum down 12 percent and ripple almost 20 percent lower as traders fret over the safety of their investments.