The CEO of Upbit, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, confirmed that it has been hacked and robbed for nearly $51 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency. All transactions on the exchange have been suspended.
Upbit lost $51 million
The largest South Korean cryptocurrency exchange and one of the largest in the world, Upbit, notified users about a hacker attack and theft of 342,000 Ethereum tokens (ETH) from its hot wallet to an unknown address. At the current rate, the stolen tokens were worth about $50.9 million. The incident was confirmed on the 27th of November in an official statement by Lee Seok-woo, the CEO of Upbit's operator, Dunamu.
The transaction was registered by a Whale Alert dealing with tracking transactions in blockchains:
Whale Alert observed as well that from around 5:00 UTC time, a great number of other cryptocurrencies worth several dozen million dollars were sent from Upbit. Among others were the Tron (TRX), BitTorrent (BTT), Stellar (XLM), OmiseGo (OMG), EOS and Status (SNT) coins. As reports show, these are payments from the cryptocurrency exchange, which wanted to secure the remaining funds by transferring them from hot to cold wallets.
In his statement, Lee Seok-woo revealed that:
At approximately 13:06 on November 27th, 2019 (KST), 342,000 ETH was sent from UPbit’s Ethereum hot wallet to an anonymous wallet address – 0xa09871AEadF4994Ca12f5c0b6056BBd1d343c029.
The cryptocurrency exchange will return the stolen funds to the customers
By apologizing to users for any experienced "inconveniences", Lee outlined the measures the exchange took after detecting the incident. He did not name it a "hack", though. According to local media, however, Upbit may have been the victim of a hacker attack.
Currently, Upbit does not allow for any withdrawals or deposits. It was originally reported that withdrawals and deposits were suspended due to "server maintenance". Currently, though, the company explains this with security issues and as a countermeasure to more hacker activities. Lee Seok-woo claims that it will take at least two weeks to resume deposits and withdrawals. The exchange has also transferred all cryptocurrencies stored in a hot wallet to a cold wallet so as to prevent further losses.
It has also pledged to protect user assets, stating that the stolen funds (that is nearly $51 million in ETH) will be covered from the corporate fund. If the exchange's announcement proves to be true, it looks like it will fully cover the losses of the customers, then. They will have to wait a bit, unfortunately. About two weeks, perhaps.
Ethereum Rate (ETH)
The hacking attack on the Upbit cryptocurrency exchange and the theft of Ethereum did not affect the price of the token, or at least it is not noticeable. Currently, the ETH exchange rate is $152.4, which means a 1.4% increase in 24 hours.