Date
23 January 2018
Youbit said all customers’ cryptocurrency assets will be marked down to 75 percent of its value. Photo: AFP
Youbit said all customers’ cryptocurrency assets will be marked down to 75 percent of its value. Photo: AFP

S Korea bitcoin exchange to file for bankruptcy after hacking

A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange said it is shutting down and filing for bankruptcy after it was hacked for the second time this year, Reuters reports.

The exchange, called Youbit, had been hacked once before in April when nearly 4,000 bitcoins were stolen in a cyber attack that the country’s spy agency linked to North Korea, according to a South Korean newspaper report.

Youbit announced on its website that it had been hacked at 4:35 a.m. local time on Tuesday, causing a loss worth 17 percent of its total assets.

The hacking incidents highlight concerns about security as trade in bitcoin and other virtual currencies boom, the news agency said.

The company did not elaborate on the amount, but said all customers’ cryptocurrency assets will be marked down to 75 percent of its value, adding it has stopped trading and will work to minimize customer losses.

Youbit is a smaller player in South Korea’s cryptocurrency market, with the world’s busiest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb accounting for about 70 percent of the country’s market share.

An official at Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), the state agency that responds to cyberattacks, said the police and KISA officials were starting an investigation into the hacking.

Bitcoin exchanges and wallets have a history of being targeted, and security experts say they become more vulnerable to cyber-crime as valuations rise.

Bitcoin traded near record high at US$18,759.67 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday Hong Kong time.

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RC/CG

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