FBI Arrests Exchange Operator for Lying About 6000 Bitcoin Hack

FBI Arrests Exchange Operator for Lying About 6000 Bitcoin Hack

Jon E. Montroll, a 37 year old from Texas, is now facing up to 30 years in jail for perjury and obstruction of justice. The operator of Weexchange and Bitfunder is accused of repeatedly lying to the SEC under testimony in an effort cover up massive client losses after being hacked. 

Also Read: US Federal Authorities Arrest Man for Selling 9.99 Bitcoin

Bitcoin Exchange Operator Arrested by FBI

US Authorities Arrest Bitcoin Exchange Operator for Lying About HackThe FBI announced on Wednesday that Jon E. Montroll (aka Ukyo) was taken into federal custody for giving false sworn testimony and false documentation to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). He operated two bitcoin services, Weexchange which functioned as a bitcoin depository and currency exchange service, and Bitfunder which facilitated the purchase and trading of shares of businesses that listed on the platform.

During the summer of 2013, hackers stole approximately 6,000 bitcoins from Weexchange, and, as a result, the two ventures lacked the bitcoin necessary to cover what was owed users. Montroll allegedly lied to both investors and investigators in an effort to hide this.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “SEC investigations rely on learning the full and accurate facts concerning financial markets and products. As alleged, the defendant repeatedly lied during sworn testimony and misled SEC staff to avoid taking personal responsibility for the loss of thousands of his customers’ bitcoins. These charges signify that we will use the full force of the federal criminal law to protect the integrity of the SEC’s investigative process.”

It’s Not the Crime, It’s the Cover-Up

US Authorities Arrest Bitcoin Exchange Operator for Lying About HackIn a November 2013 testimony to the SEC, Montroll denied that the hack had been successful, testifying that when the hackers went to withdraw, “the system stopped them because the amount was obviously causing issues with the system.” He later added that the issue “was corrected immediately, whenever the system started having the problems, and I caught on to what was happening I’d say within a few hours.”

Montroll also gave the SEC a screenshot supposedly showing the number of bitcoins available to Bitfunder users in the Weexchange Wallet as of October 13, 2013. This balance statement reflected 6,679.78 BTC as of that date. However, the investigators say that the evidence revealed that this was a misleading fabrication.

Three days into the incident, Montroll participated in a chat in which he sought help in tracking down “stolen coins.” When that did not work, he allegedly transferred some of his own bitcoin holdings into Weexchange to conceal the losses. The cyber theft, however, continued, and by the time of the balance statement it actually held thousands of bitcoins less than Montroll had asserted, the investigators found.

When confronted with that evidence, Montroll allegedly lied again. While he admitted that the balance statement was the product of his manual intervention in the Weexchange system, he claimed to have discovered the success of the hack only after the SEC had asked him about it during his first day of testimony, and to have no knowledge of the chat.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. commented: “As alleged, Montroll committed a serious crime when he lied to the SEC during sworn testimony. In an attempt to cover up the results of a hack that exploited weaknesses in the programming code of his company, he allegedly went to great lengths to prove the balance of bitcoins available to Bitfunder users in the Weexchange Wallet was sufficient to cover the money owed to investors. It’s said that honesty is always the best policy – this is yet another case in which this virtue holds true.”

Could other exchange operators be hiding similar issues from investors? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine Cryptocurrency

Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine Cryptocurrency

Elon Musk might be able to send his personal Tesla car into space, he might change the way humanity produces and stores energy, and he might even build a colony on Mars one day. However, even this real-life Iron Man apparently can’t escape the reach of crypto mining hackers.

Also Read: US Federal Authorities Arrest Man for Selling 9.99 Bitcoin

Tesla Cloud Mining

Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine CryptocurrencyTesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), the electric car manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California, is the latest corporation to fall victim to ‘cryptojacking’, according to newly released research from cyber security firm RedLock.

The researchers’ CSI team found that hackers had infiltrated Tesla’s Kubernetes console (a system for containerized apps that was originally designed by Google) which was not password protected. Within one pod, access credentials were exposed to Tesla’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) environment which contained an Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) bucket that had sensitive data such as telemetry. In addition to the data exposure, the hackers were mining for cryptocurrency from within one of Tesla’s Kubernetes pods.

The CSI team noted some sophisticated evasion measures that were employed in this attack. Unlike other crypto mining incidents, the hackers did not use a well known public mining pool in this attack. Instead, they installed mining pool software and configured the malicious script to connect to an unlisted or semi-public endpoint. This makes it difficult for standard IP/domain-based threat intelligence feeds to detect the malicious activity, they explain.

Don’t Panic

Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine Cryptocurrency
Tesla showroom, Silicon Valley, California

According to the research, the Tesla hackers also hid the true IP address of the mining pool server behind Cloudflare, a free content delivery network (CDN) service. The hackers can use a new IP address on-demand by registering for free CDN services. This makes IP address-based detection of crypto mining activity even more challenging.

Moreover, the mining software was configured to listen on a non-standard port which makes it hard to detect the activity based on port traffic. Lastly, the CSI team also observed on Tesla’s Kubernetes dashboard that CPU usage was not very high. The hackers had most likely configured the mining software to keep the usage low to evade detection, they explain.

Fortunately, Musk need not worry about his computing resources being diverted to crypto mining anymore. The RedLock CSI team immediately reported the incident to Tesla and the issue was quickly rectified they say.

How can companies and individuals protect their computer systems from crypto malware? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japan’s two cryptocurrency associations have reportedly decided to merge in order to restore trust in the industry and accelerate self-imposed rules. Once approved by the Japanese financial regulator, the new organization will have the power to set penalties for breaches of self-regulation.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Two Crypto Associations Merging

Japan currently has two cryptocurrency industry associations: the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA). The former is headed by Bitflyer CEO, Yuzo Kano, and has a total of 88 members, while the latter has a total of 154 members, according to Minkabu publication.

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe two organizations have reportedly been in talks to merge after the hack of one of the country’s largest exchanges, Coincheck, where 58 billion yen worth on the cryptocurrency NEM were stolen. They “are hurried to restore trust in the industry,” Forbes Japan reported.

They “will be integrated to establish a new self-regulating organization,” to focus on areas such as safety management system and compensation of customer assets, the news outlet added. In addition, the new entity will also focus on the reliability of crypto exchanges that have already been approved by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). Currently, there are 16 approved exchanges and 16 under review, including Coincheck.

On Thursday, Nikkei reported:

Two cryptocurrency industry groups in Japan [JBA and JCBA] have agreed to merge in an effort to accelerate the establishment of voluntary regulations and regain public trust in the aftermath of a massive virtual currency heist.

Set to launch on April 1, “The new organization’s chairman will likely be JCBA Chairman Taizen Okuyama, president of Money Partners Group,” the news outlet detailed, adding that Kano is “expected to become the self-regulatory body’s vice chairman.”

Commenting on the news of its merger with the JBA, the JCBA issued a statement on Thursday, stating that no details have been decided at this time.

Accelerating Self-Regulations

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe new entity will need the approval of the FSA. Under Japan’s revised payment services law which went into effect in April of last year, cryptocurrency operators are allowed to form a self-regulatory organization. They can “set industry rules, conduct investigations on members, and impose punishment,” the Japan Times elaborated.

However, the FSA previously “refused to allow two self-regulatory bodies, urging the industry to create a unified organization by merging the JBA and the JCBA,” Nikkei explained on Thursday, adding that:

Once the new body is approved by the agency, it will gain the power to set penalties for breaches of its self-imposed rules. This should also help address calls by banks and other businesses in the conventional financial industry for virtual currency businesses to establish a robust self-regulatory regime.

Do you think the merger will help the crypto industry gain more of the public’s trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw Funds

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw Funds

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has submitted a report to the country’s financial authority outlining measures it will take following the hack that lost 58 billion yen worth of the cryptocurrency NEM from its platform. However, customers rush to withdraw 40.1 billion yen of their funds so far as the exchange resumes yen withdrawal service.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Coincheck’s Improvement Plans

Coincheck has submitted a report to the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) as mandated under the Order to Improve Business Operations. The order was handed to the exchange by the FSA following the hack that resulted in the loss of 58 billion yen (~USD$544 million) worth of NEM from its platform.

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw FundsIn its report, Coincheck explains key areas of improvement to the agency. Specifically, the exchange detailed four of its plans: “1) investigating the facts and causes surrounding this case, 2) [providing] proper support for our customers, 3) strengthening current measures to manage system risk, 4) creating new measures for system risk management and preventing similar events in the future in addition to making it clear where the responsibility lies for different risks.”

“We plan to continue making meaningful improvements to our system,” the exchange noted, adding:

We are continuing to confirm and improve the security of our systems in order to resume transfers of other cryptocurrencies and begin reparation payments as soon as possible.

Coincheck already provided a preliminary report to the FSA immediately following the hack. The agency then conducted an on-site inspection of the exchange as well as extended the inspections to all other exchanges in Japan.

Customers Rush to Withdraw Funds

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw FundsOn February 13, Coincheck resumed Japanese yen withdrawals as previously promised and successfully processed 40.1 billion yen (~$376 million), the exchange confirmed.

Yusuke Otsuka, Coincheck COO, said at a news conference that “the exchange would be able to meet future withdrawal requests,” but “declined to comment on the total amount of customers’ yen still stored at the exchange,” Reuters reported. He insisted:

We have the funds, but we are making individual checks so there are no problems (with repayments).

The exchange has also promised to repay its 260,000 affected customers but has yet to decide on the timeframe. The FSA also has not confirmed that the exchange possesses enough funds to make the repayments.

Meanwhile, seven cryptocurrency traders filed a lawsuit against Coincheck on Thursday at the Tokyo District Court. The plaintiff’s lawyer Hiromu Mochizuki told Reuters that the suit seeks “to allow withdrawals to private wallets…outside the hacked exchange.” He was further quoted by AFP that “Plaintiffs are demanding Coincheck return their cryptocurrencies – 13 different kinds including NEM.”

Do you think Coincheck will be able to repay its customers and regain their trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cnet, and Coincheck.


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Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

Cryptocurrency can be lost in a variety of ways, from hacking to forgotten passwords and failed flash drives. But in dollar terms, one of the biggest causes of crypto losses is bad code, and it’s not usually the fault of the coin’s developers. Instead, third parties, including shoddy smart contract developers and shady exchanges, are to blame for losses that have reached half a billion dollars in the last seven months.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Suspends Operations After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

Bitgrail Gets Railed for Dodgy Code

Last week, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the demise of Bitgrail, which contrived to lose $170 million of nano cryptocurrency. While the precise sequence of events that caused the catastrophic collapse of the exchange with the assets of thousands of customers is still being confirmed, poor code is being blamed. As reported at the time:

There are rumors that Bitgrail became insolvent following a withdrawal bug that was discovered by some users and then shared in Discord and other chat groups, causing the wallet balance to gradually diminish. One user explained: “There was a bug on Bitgrail where if you placed two orders you got double balance added to your account. You could then withdraw while the orders were up and steal the coins. You had negative balance in the end but you could just make a new account.”

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

In the aftermath of the incident, this theory has been bolstered by allegations that a bug was indeed responsible, and not in nano’s code, but in Bitgrail’s. One source asserted: “There was a bug, on the withdraw page. But this check was only on java-script client side, you find the js which is sending the request, then you inspect element – console, and run the java-script manually, to send a request for withdrawal of a higher amount than in your balance. Bitgrail delivered this withdrawal. How many people did this? Who knows.”

There was another bug, you could request a withdrawal to your address – from another user-id, from another user-account. That would cause the other users balance to have “missing funds” or “negative balance”. Bitgrail bomber solved this bug by manually entering the “correct” numbers in his database. This is what you get for using a PHP website coded by same skill-level as CfB of IDIOTA.

Even the Best Cryptocurrencies Aren’t Immune to Poor Code

The cryptocurrency most commonly associated with catastrophic bugs is ethereum. That’s not due to its underlying code, but on account of the smart contracts that can be built on top of the ethereum framework. First there was the DAO, which led to ethereum being forked right out the gate, and then there was the Parity bug that caused 150,000 ETH to be stolen, followed by the other Parity bug that caused $168 million of ETH to be locked up.

In the past couple of weeks, ethereum bugs have surfaced once more, albeit on a smaller scale. Proof of Weak Hands (PoWH) was a joke scamcoin which turned into an actual scamcoin after a bug led to the loss of 900 ether worth $1 million that had been sent to the contract address. The developer then disappeared after receiving death threats from investors aggrieved to discover that the joke Ponzi they were buying into was even less legitimate than it had seemed.

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year
After a smart contract bug led to the loss of 900 ETH, the PoWH website looked like this in the days afterwards

PoWH has since spawned a new scamcoin called ethpyramid which is for “strong hands only”. To the question “Is Ethpyramid secure?” the site responds “Yes. Our dev team put a lot of time into refining and testing this contract to make sure your tokens are safe. Internal functions of the contract are not accessible to the end user.” There’s also PoWH420, “the world’s dank autonomous and self-sustaining 420 pyramid scheme”.

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year
PoWH 420

Even if joke coins and their joke developers are taken out of the equation, it’s evident that cryptocurrencies are only as strong as their weakest link. While altcoins such as ethereum and nano have undoubted potential, like every other crypto they’re hostage to bugs lurking in wallets, smart contracts, and exchanges. One bad line of code is all it takes.

Do you think Bitgrail was brought down by a withdrawal bug or is there more to this story? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and PoWH420. Katie Webster assisted with this article. 


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Japan Cracks Down on Foreign ICO Agency Operating Without License

Japan Cracks Down on Overseas ICO Agency Operating Without a License

The Japanese financial regulator will be issuing its first warning since the legalization of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment in Japan. An overseas initial coin offering agency has reportedly been attracting Japanese investors without a license, repeatedly ignoring the agency’s advice to cease operating in the country.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

FSA’s Warning

Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA) will issue a warning to an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) agency, which has been conducting business in Japan without a license, Nikkei reported. The news outlet elaborated:

The warning will be issued to Blockchain Laboratory, based in Macau. The agency has decided the company’s activities could cause investors to incur losses. The FSA will work with the police and the Consumer Affairs Agency to bring criminal charges if the company fails to respond to the warning.

Japan Cracks Down on Overseas ICO Agency Operating Without a LicenseHeadquartered in Macau, “Blockchain Laboratory operates as an initial coin offering agency to raise funds using cryptocurrencies,” the publication described. The company’s activities include cryptocurrency and ICO consulting services and conducting seminars to attract investors.

The FSA has repeatedly advised the company to “halt its business activities in Japan, without success,” the publication detailed. According to the officials of the agency, the FSA “will warn the company directly, and name it on the FSA’s home page.” If the operator still fails to comply, criminal charges will be filed.

License Needed to Operate in Japan

Japan Cracks Down on Overseas ICO Agency Operating Without a LicenseSince the revised payment services law went into effect in April of last year, Japan has recognized cryptocurrencies as a legal method of payment. The law also requires crypto exchanges to register with the FSA. It “allows only registered operators, or those that have applied for registration, to operate in Japan,” Nikkei emphasized.

The warning to Blockchain Laboratory will be the FSA’s first under the revised payment services law. “The move is part of the FSA’s more aggressive scrutiny of the activities of unregistered operators in Japan,” the news outlet conveyed, adding that:

The revised law prohibits such unregistered exchanges from operating and soliciting in the country.

Currently, there are 16 cryptocurrency exchanges with a license to operate in Japan and another 16 are under review, including Coincheck which suffered a loss of 58 billion yen (~USD$533 million) in a recent hack.

In a recent interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Bitflyer CFO Midori Kanemitsu said:

Now people understand that they need to use safe exchanges, which are registered with FSA and have a high standard of security.

What do you think of the FSA’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSA.


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Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Suspends Operations After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Closes After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

Bitgrail, an exchange whose primary purpose was to facilitate the trading of nano, has folded after ‘losing’ 17 million XRB, valued at around $170 million. The Italian exchange had been offline for weeks, and its customers feared the worst. Today, its operator “Francesco The Bomber” confirmed the bad news, which gained short shrift from the Nano community. Many believe Bitgrail’s owner to have exit scammed, taking with him almost 13% of the total circulating supply.

Also read: Russia’s Largest Bank Caught Employees Mining For Crypto

A Big Heist for Tiny Nano

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Closes After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of NanoUp until December of last year, nano – then going under the name of raiblocks – was little more than another aspiring altcoin hoping to make it to the big league. Its promise of fast transactions and zero fees had some of the more diligent Twitter traders interested, but even they were astonished by the moon mission XRB suddenly embarked on. At the start of December, 1 XRB could be bought for $0.20. One month later, 1 XRB had soared to $35 after gaining 17,500%, making it 2017’s biggest gainer and putting the likes of bitcoin, litecoin and ripple in the shade.

For most of last year, Bitgrail – the ‘rai’ in its name derived from raiblocks – was one of the only places where XRB could be bought. The exchange was clunky and erratic, like most small crypto exchanges, but it worked. Most of the time. It also supported other cryptocurrencies, but the volume was laughably low. Bitgrail was the place to go for raiblocks and nothing else. 99% of the time, altcoins that begin life on micro-exchanges stay there. But every once in a while, an outlier makes it to the big league. Raiblocks did just that in December, gravitating to larger exchanges and rocketing in price.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Closes After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano
The above tweet is meant to say “XRB”

Bitgrail, previously just another minnow in a sea of competing exchanges, suddenly found itself in the custody of assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The temptation to take the money and run may have been too much for the site’s operator to take. It’s unclear at this stage exactly what happened. On January 28, the exchange tweeted: “XRB deposits and withdrawals currently suspended for internal system optimization. Thanks for understanding.” Then, on February 9, it posted the following notice:

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Closes After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

Hack or Exit Scam?

While many users are adamant that Bitgrail has exit scammed, Francesco maintains the site was hacked. It has been alleged that the stolen XRB has been gradually transferred from this Bitgrail wallet to Mercatox and getting dumped for months. There are also rumors that Bitgrail became insolvent following a withdrawal bug that was discovered by some users and then shared in Discord and other chat groups, causing the wallet balance to gradually diminish. One user explained: “There was a bug on Bitgrail where if you placed two orders you got double balance added to your account. You could then withdraw while the orders were up and steal the coins. You had negative balance in the end but you could just make a new account.”

In a statement published on February 9, the Nano team wrote: “We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.” Whatever the truth, Bitgrail users have zero chance of getting their crypto back.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Closes After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

It’s a suckerpunch for hodlers who’d had the acuity to buy raiblocks when it was dirt cheap and had then seen their little turned into a lot. By mid-December they should have taken their coins off Bitgrail and into a personal wallet, or at least to a more reputable exchange, but that’s easy to say in hindsight. The Nano team have sensibly refused Bitgrail’s entreaties to alter its code to isolate the stolen XRB.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Closes After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

Only a week ago, Binance added nano to its exchange. In the wake of the Bitgrail incident, Binance’s CEO tweeted “We are in contact with Nano team (re: Bitgrail) and will freeze deposits from identified addresses as we receive them. This is one reason we require coin CEO/founder to submit listing requests. Binance will assist where we can. We need to work together to protect users.” In monetary terms, the $170 million hack is less than half the previous record, set just a fortnight ago, when $400 million of NEM were stolen from Coincheck. But at 12.7% of the total supply, the XRB theft is bigger than NEM and bigger than the the 800,000 BTC that caused the collapse of Mt Gox.

Do you think Bitgrail was hacked or exit scammed? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, and Bitgrail.


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Coincheck Announces JPY Withdrawals Will Resume Next Week

Coincheck Announces JPY Withdrawals Will Resume Next Week

This Friday the Japanese exchange Coincheck has announced the resumption of yen (JPY) withdrawals will begin next week. The news follows the trading platform halting operations on the 26th of January. That day Coincheck was hacked and lost a total of 523,000,000 XEM, but the exchange promised to pay back the 260,000 customer accounts that were compromised. JPY withdrawals will be enabled for the trading platforms users beginning February 13, 2018.

Also Read: Japanese Crypto Exchanges Strengthen Self-Regulation Following Coincheck Hack

Coincheck Plans to Resume JPY Withdrawals Next Week

Coincheck Announces JPY Withdrawals Will Resume Next WeekAccording to the Japanese exchange Coincheck, the platform will resume yen withdrawals next week. The exchange says that a temporary suspension of JPY operations was put in place to protect the assets of Coincheck customers. The company says that “outside experts” are working with the trading platform to ensure withdrawals are ready for February 13th. Right now Coincheck reveals customer assets are being held by another party.

“Currently, all customer JPY assets are being stored in a customer-specific account in a major financial institution,” explains the Japanese exchange.  

We plan to resume normal operations for JPY withdrawals from the following date and will process customer requests in the order in which they come in.         

The Resumption of JPY Withdrawals Is Unrelated to XEM Reparation Payments

Coincheck Announces JPY Withdrawals Will Resume Next Week
Coincheck says the JPY withdrawals are unrelated to the NEM/XEM restitution.

Coincheck also notes that the withdrawals of JPY and the date mentioned is completely “unrelated to reparation payments for the XEM.” Just before the first of February Coincheck had announced that approximately 260,000 affected accounts ($423Mn USD) would be reimbursed. Balances will be repaid in JPY via the Coincheck Wallet the firm has stated and will be valued at approximately $0.81 USD per token. At the moment that price is much more than the current rate XEM tokens are being sold for as the spot price is $0.56 per coin.   

Withdrawal requests will be initiated on a first come — first serve basis, and Coincheck says the company may contact certain customers separately in order to confirm withdrawal details. As far as cryptocurrencies operations are concerned the exchange plans to lift withdrawal restrictions as soon as the company feels they are “able to guarantee the secure resumption of operations for each feature.”     

“If further complications preventing the safe resumption of withdrawals are discovered, the resumption date may be extended in order to guarantee customer asset security,” Coincheck concludes.

What do you think about Coincheck preparing to resume operations after the recent hack? Do you think the exchange will fulfill its promise to pay back the XEM at $0.81 per coin? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.


Images Shutterstock, Coincheck and the NEM/XEM logo. 


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Größter Krypto-Hack aller Zeiten: Bitcoin nicht beteiligt.

Vor kurzem wurde die japanische Börse Coincheck gehackt. Dabei wurden XEM im Wert von 400 bis 500 Millionen Dollar gestohlen. Nun versucht die NEM-Foundation, zu verhindern, dass der Hacker die Coins ausgibt, während die Börse verspricht, den Schaden vollständig zu ersetzen. Die japanische Finanzaufsicht kündigt derweil an, den Börsen künftig genauer auf die Finger zu schauen.

Die japanische Börse hat kürzlich bekanntgegeben, dass bei einem Hack Kryptocoins im Wert von bis zu 500 Millionen Dollar gestohlen worden sind. Dies ist mehr, als bei den bisherigen Top-Hack, einschließlich Mt. Gox, abhanden gekommen ist. Am verrücktesten ist nun das, was nicht passiert.

Wir haben kürzlich den größten Hack in der Geschichte der Kryptowährungen erlebt, und es hat keinen so richtig interessiert. Es gab keinen Aufschrei, keine Woge der erschütterten Tweets, keine Panik-Verkäufe, keine Einbrüche. Nichts. Nicht minder verrückt ist, dass im größten Hack in der Geschichte der Kryptowährungen weder Bitcoins, noch andere Top-Währungen wie Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash oder Cardano gestohlen wurden, sondern lediglich Einheiten einer Kryptowährung namens NEM, die, zumindest hierzulande, relativ unbekannt ist. Im Ranking der Coins steht NEM auf Rang 10. Die Token der Währung laufen unter dem Ticker XEM.

Auch Coincheck ist kein so großes Schwergewicht, wie man es beim größten Kryptohack aller Zeiten vermuten würde. Die Börse ist die Nummer zwei in Japan und steht im Ranking der Börsen bei exchangewar.info auf Rang 15, mit einem täglichen Handelsvolumen von gut 10.000 Bitcoin. Die Börse hat letzten Freitag in einer Pressekonferenz erklärt, was mit NEM passiert ist: Man habe am späten Vormittag entdeckt, dass es in der Nacht einen Hack gegeben hat. Betroffen waren nur die rund 523 Millionen XEM, die die Börse vollständig auf einem Hot-Wallet gespeichert hat. Hot Wallet bedeutet, dass die Wallets in Kontakt mit dem Internet stehen. Die meisten Börsen bewahren den absolut größten Anteil der Coins auf sogenannten Cold Wallets auf, die keinen Kontakt zum Internet haben. Coincheck hingegen hat weder Cold Wallets noch Multisig-Verfahren benutzt. Wie der Hack genau zustande kam, erklärt die Börse bislang nicht.

Der Preis von XEM ist umgehend abgestürzt. Er fiel von knapp einem Dollar auf rund 77 cent. Dann erholte er sich aber wieder zügig, kletterte sogar auf 1,04 Dollar, fiel dann jedoch auf unter 90 cent. Insgesamt jedoch scheint der Hack einen bemerkenswert geringen Einfluss auf den Preis von XEM zu haben, der seit der Spitze von 2 Dollar am 5. Januar ohnehin in einem bisher ungebrochenen Abwärtskanal zu stecken scheint.

Wenn der Hack überhaupt einen Einfluss auf den Preis hat, dann ist dieser positiv. Denn NEM erlaubt es irgendwie, ein sogenanntes Mosaic in die Blockchain zu drücken, durch das man bestimmte Coins markieren kann. Gewöhnlich wird dies verwendet, um Token auf die Blockchain zu bringen. Im Fall des Hacks erlaubt es aber, die Coins, die der Hacker erbeutet hat, öffentlich zu markieren. Die NEM-Foundation und Coincheck arbeiten bereits zusammen daran, die Coins des Hackers zu markieren. Es soll eine Blacklist geben, die in der API von NEM selbst verfügbar ist, und die Börsen unkompliziert aktivieren können. Dies macht es praktisch unmöglich, die Coins aus dem Hack auszugeben, was bedeutet, dass der Hack lediglich gut 500 Millionen NEM aus dem Verkehr gezogen hat, was rund 5 Prozent der gesamten Geldmenge entspricht. Und das ist eigentlich eine gute Nachricht für den Preis.

Eine Hardfork, um die Coins wiederherzustellen – wie es Ethereum beim DAO-Hack vorgeführt hat – steht für die Foundation nicht zur Debatte. Die einzige Hoffnung, die sich Coincheck machen darf, um die XEMwieder zu sehen, ist, dass der Hacker sie gegen ein Lösegeld freigibt. Was angesichts des Blacklistings für beide Seiten ein gutes Geschäft wäre.

Ohnehin scheint Coincheck über die Resourcen zu verfügen, um diesen Hack hinzunehmen. Dies ist vielleicht die nächste Überraschung in dieser Hack-Geschichte. Das Krypto-Ökosystem ist so liquide, dass der größte Kryptohack aller Zeiten nicht nur keine ökosystemweiten Schockwellen aussendet, sondern nicht einmal eine einzige Börse umnietet. Nur einen Tag nach dem Hack hat Coincheck angekündigt, die Kunden vollständig zu entschädigen, jedoch nicht in NEM, sondern in Yen. Sprich – die Kunden werden den Wert in Yen erhalten, den die XEM zum Zeitpunkt der Ankündigung wert waren. Dass der Gesamtwert der gestohlenen XEM zu diesem Zeitpunkt von mehr als 500 Millionen Dollar auf nur noch 400 gefallen ist, dürfte eine Erleichterung für die Börse sein, stößt aber manchen Kunden übel auf.

Die japanische Finanzaufsicht FSA nimmt den Fall derweil zum Anlass, um Coincheck aufzufordern, bessere Sicherheitsmaßnahmen zu implementieren. Die Börse solle gemeinsam mit der Aufsicht herausfinden, was die Ursache des Vorfalls war, und die notwendigen Maßnahmen ergreifen, um zu verhindern, dass sich dies wiederholt. Die Community dürfte hier, ausnahmsweise, der Aufsicht zu 100 Prozent zustimmen.

NEM ist die Kurzform für New Economy Movement und eine bereits seit Anfang 2014 existierende Blockchain-basierende Kryptowährung. Mit dem “Proof of Importance” hat NEM einen eigenen Konsens-Algorithmus entwickelt. Weiter wurden in NEM Supernodes eingerichtet, die spezielle Funktionen im Netzwerk erfüllen. Die NEM-Blockchain ermöglicht zudem Smart Contracts, Smart Assets und Namespaces, also Domains, und vieles mehr. Trotz des relativ hohen Alters, dieser Fülle an Funktionen sowie einem dauerhaft relativ hohen Platz im Ranking der Coins ist NEM außerhalb von den Schwerpunkten in Japan und Malaysia relativ unbekannt.