Coinrail said it had temporarily suspended trading in digital currencies and was fully cooperating with investigators to try to track down the missing funds. In January 2018 some $500-worth of cryptocurrency was stolen as a result of a hack on Japan-based exchange Coincheck, which led to a severe drop in market prices for various digital currencies and toughening of the country's policies towards cryptocurrency exchanges.
The South Korean police began an investigation on Monday after Korea's seventh largest crypto exchange Coinrail lost more than 40 billion ($37 million) in altcoins in an apparent attack by hackers over the weekend.
The price of bitcoin slumped more than 7% after South Korea's Coinrail announced that it had been targeted by cyberthieves. The theft was of less well-known cryptocurrencies rather than bitcoin itself. "It is a minor player in the market and I can see how such small exchanges with lower standards on security level can be exposed to more risks", Kim Jin-Hwa, a representative at Korea Blockchain Industry Association.
Not all those in the trader community are looking at the situation as an entirely negative one or a reason to remain bearish.
Still, the news sent shock waves through virtual currency markets.More news: Some Congressional Lawmakers Question Trump Trade War
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Bitcoin took a hit over the weekend.
Bitcoin was trading at around $6,750 in early afternoon trading in Asia. Bitcoin was one of those affected, falling 10 percent to its lowest price in two months.
Get exclusive fiat and cryptocurrency analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month. That prompted a Japanese authorities to step up scrutiny of exchanges.
"Though the CoinRail hack may have set us off-track, I don't think that this will have very significant ramifications in the long run", he said. The venues have come under growing scrutiny in South Korea, the United States and other large economies in recent months amid a range of issues including thefts, market manipulation and money laundering.