Date
19 June 2018
Bitcoin price has fallen more than 50 percent since the beginning of this year amid regulatory and security concerns. Photo: Reuters
Bitcoin price has fallen more than 50 percent since the beginning of this year amid regulatory and security concerns. Photo: Reuters

Bitcoin falls to two-month low after Coinrail hack

Bitcoin fell to a two-month low on Tuesday amid regulatory and security concerns after the weekend hacking of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail.

The virtual currency slid to a low of below US$6,500 on the Bitstamp platform before moving above that level.

Still, it was down more than 4.5 percent, nearing its lowest level of the year of just under US$6,000 after sliding in three of the last four sessions, Reuters reports.

So far in 2018, bitcoin is down nearly 53 percent, after soaring more than 1,300 percent last year.

On Sunday, Coinrail, a relatively small cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, said its system was hit by “cyber intrusion,” causing a loss of about 30 percent of the coins traded on the exchange.

The exchange did not quantify the value, but Yonhap news estimated in a report that about 40 billion won (US$37.28 million) worth of virtual coins were stolen.

The latest hacking wiped out more than US$40 billion in the market value of the cryptocurrency market on Sunday. Bitcoin itself declined by nearly US$1,000.

The virtual unit was able to recover after Sunday’s bloodbath on Monday, but it has since continued its downtrend.

“Bitcoin is in a liquidity vacuum at the moment. Volumes on the crypto exchanges are now below US$5 billion per day, their lowest levels since November 2017, before things got out of hand,” Reuters quoted Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at eToro, as saying.

“As the trading activity is very low, even a small amount of pressure can move the price quite drastically. Kind of like if you hit a baseball in outer space.” 

Other digital currencies also declined in sympathy with bitcoin.

Ethereum, the second-largest by market value, was down 5 percent over the past 24 hours, while the third-largest, Ripple, lost 4.3 percent.

Investors and regulators were jolted earlier this year after Japan’s cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck was hacked in a high-profile theft of over half a billion dollars worth of digital currency.

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RC

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