UPDATED 21:21 EST / NOVEMBER 27 2019


$52M in Ethereum stolen from Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit has been hacked and the equivalent of about $52 million in cryptocurrency stolen.

The hack, which involved the theft of 342,000 Ethereum, took place earlier today and involved those behind the hack transferring the ETH from a hot wallet to an unknown external wallet. Lee Seok-woo, the chief executive officer of the exchange, run by Danamu Inc., confirmed the hack in a notice to users.

Noting that the lost ETH will be covered in full by the company using existing assets, Lee added that all cryptocurrencies held by the exchange currently in hot wallets had been transferred to cold wallets as a precaution. A hot wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that is online and connected to the internet, whereas a cold wallet is offline storage not connected to the internet.

Although some reports initially implied that other cryptocurrencies may have also been stolen, Lee said that other bulk trades were in fact the company moving various cryptocurrency holdings from hot to cold wallets.

All deposits and withdrawals have been suspended by Upbit for about two weeks while the exchange investigates what happened. Some are speculating that it may have been an inside job.

Upbit is not the first South Korea exchange to have been hacked. Coinrail was hacked in June 2018 and Bithumb in July 2017. Youbit, an exchange hacked in December 2017, was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Usually, exchanges being hacked would result in spooked markets and downward price pressure on cryptocurrencies, but though there was a small dip initially, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have instead surged.

Having fallen to its lowest level since May following an ongoing bear market, bitcoin finally turned a corner. Bitcoin was trading at $7,517.63 as of 9:15 p.m. EST, up 5% of the last 24 hours. Bitcoin had fallen to a low of $6,559.97 on Tuesday.

Image: Upbit

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