$150M in cryptocurrency stolen in hack of KuCoin exchange

By September 28, 2020 No Comments

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin has been hacked and about $150 million in various types of cryptocurrency stolen.

The hack was first detected Saturday morning, Sept. 26, in Singapore. Those behind the attack gained access to investor funds in cryptocurrency hot wallets, those connected to the internet so crypto can be traded, then transferred balances out of the exchange. Stolen cryptocurrency holdings included bitcoin, bitcoin SV, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, Stellar Lumens, Tron, Tether and Ocean.

Exactly how the attack took place has not yet been detailed, though KuCoin Chief Executive Officer Johnny Lyu hosted a livestream on Saturday providing more details about the incident, including that cold wallets, those not connected to the internet, were safe and had not been affected. For users of KuCoin, the most important takeaway is that Lyu committed to KuCoin and its insurance fund covering any funds stolen from customers.

Perhaps showing a sign of maturity across the cryptocurrency business that has not been seen in the past, other exchanges and cryptocurrency providers moved quickly to attempt to stop those behind the theft in their tracks. Bitfinex and Tether Chief Technology Officer Paolo Ardoino said on Twitter that the company had frozen $13 million worth of Tether USDT on the EOS blockchain and $20 million more in USDT on the Ethereum blockchain related to the hack.

The Ocean Protocol Foundation, the group behind Ocean and one of the small cryptocurrencies stolen in the hack, also acted quickly. It said in a statement that it was initiating a “hard fork” of the Ocean Token contract that will have the effect of reversing the stolen Ocean tokens.

Lyu also noted that KuCoin is now in contact with other leading cryptocurrency exchanges, including Huobi, Binance, OKEx, BitMax and ByBit, in an attempt to have the stolen funds frozen. The company is also in contact with law enforcement and relevant blockchain projects.

According to Cointelegraph, the person or group of people behind the hack has already tried to offload some Tether USDT on Binance without having covered their tracks, suggesting that they may not be highly sophisticated.

Unlike with previous hacks in the crypto industry, the price of major cryptocurrencies was not affected. KuCoin’s own cryptocurrency, KCS, dropped 14% on the news.

Image: KuCoin

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