In yet another blow to the burgeoning cryptocurrency market, it has been reported that Zaif, a Japanese digital currency exchange, has had $60 million stolen.
Tech Bureau, the operator of Zaif exchange, said it was hacked on September 14. Thieves made off with assets worth ¥6.7 billion ($60 million), of which ¥4.5 billion was customer money. The attack suggests that digital currency exchanges are still vulnerable and have not learnt the lessons of a $500 million hack on Coincheck, another Japanese exchange, earlier this year.
It is a further blow to the reputation of Japan’s Financial Services Agency, which created a boom in cryptocurrency trading by authorising dozens of exchanges, but has failed to ensure their security. “We humbly apologise for betraying the trust of all our customers who have entrusted us with their precious assets,” said Tech Bureau in a statement.
Like Coincheck, Zaif is known as an aggressive exchange that offers trading in a wide range of cryptocurrencies and digital tokens. Zaif was one of seven exchanges sanctioned by the FSA earlier this year, making the subsequent hack even more embarrassing.
According to the exchange, the hackers made off with 5,966 bitcoins — worth $38.1 million at the current market price of $6,387 apiece — plus an unknown amount of bitcoin Cash and Monacoin.
The company said it detected an anomaly on September 17 and confirmed the hack the next day. Zaif has suspended deposits and withdrawals while it improves security. The funds were stolen from a so-called “hot wallet” that can be accessed through the internet. Cryptocurrency exchanges normally keep most of their assets in an offline “cold wallet”, which hackers cannot access.
Zaif says it intends to use its the funds to make good all customer losses.