According to a report from US-based cybersecurity firm CipherTrace, the first six months of this year experienced a huge surge in cryptocurrency exchange thefts.
The report released on Tuesday stated a total of $761 million was stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of 2018. The amount already exceeds the whole amount, $266 million, of 2017 by three times. The company also estimated the losses could rise to over 1.5 billion in the current year.
“Stolen cryptocurrencies are three times bigger this year than last year, so the trend is obviously not our friend here,” Dave Jevans, the chief executive officer of CipherTrace and the chairman of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, told in an interview with Reuters.
“The stolen virtual currencies end up being laundered to help criminals hide their true identities and avoid arrest, which has resulted in a three-fold rise in money laundering of cryptocurrencies,” he added.
On June 20, 2018, Bithumb, the world’s sixth-largest and South Korea’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, suffered a massive breach after hackers stole 35 billion won ($31 million) from the platform. The exchange immediately halted deposit and withdrawal services from its servers. The company has assured that it will cover all losses so that users will not be affected. Within an hour of information going public, the price of Bitcoin price dropped nearly $200, erasing much of the recovery that the markets had seen over the previous two days.
South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Coinrail, also suffered similar fate on June 10, 2018, after which the value of bitcoin dipped an all-time low of at $6,790.88, a 10.8 percent slump in a week and a massive dip from its December 2017 peak, where the coins recorded an all-time high of almost $20,000.