One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in Tokyo, Coincheck was hacked and over $500m (£352m) worth of digital currency was stolen by hackers in what is now considered to be the biggest cryptocurrency heist to date. Hackers reportedly stole NEM tokens, which is a recently launched digital currency that has already reportedly been ranked the 10th digital currency in the world.
Coincheck announced the hack in a press conference, adding that Japanese law enforcement as well as Japan's financial service agency have been alerted about the cryptocurrency heist, CoinTelegraph reported.
Hackers managed to get a hold of the private key of the hot wallet, which was being used to store the NEM tokens, which in turn allowed them to siphon off all the funds. Coincheck stored other cryptocurrencies in the more secure multisig wallets, however, the NEM tokens were stored in a hot wallet. CoinTelegraph reported that Coincheck insisted during the press conference that the security standards of hot wallets "were not low".
The cryptocurrency exchange also reportedly said that it used various types of wallets to store different cryptocurrencies. For instance, while Coincheck stores both Bitcoin and Ethereum in cold storage wallets, Bitcoin is stored in a multisig cold storage wallet. However, Ethereum, "given its nature" is not stored in a multisig wallet.
It is still unclear as to how many Coincheck users were impacted by the hack. However, Coincheck is reportedly considering a viable means by which to refund all the stolen money to its users. Bleeping Computer reported that the hackers may have stolen almost seven percent of all the NEM tokens currently in circulation.
Coincheck reportedly said that it is aware of the address where the stolen NEM tokens are currently being stored by hackers. This may help the cryptocurrency exchange in helping track the hackers and possibly help regain access to the stolen money. In a recent tweet, Coincheck said that the investigation into the hack is currently ongoing.
Meanwhile, news of the hack has led to a drop in the value of cryptocurrencies. The price of Bitcoin dropped by 6.41% and NEM's value dropped 18.74% in the past 24 hours, Ethereum World News reported. The value of other major cryptocurrencies also reportedly plunged into the red, trading lower than five to 13% than before.