Cyberattack brings a cryptocurrency exchange to its knees

Patrick Lux/ Getty Images.
  • South Korea-based Youbit, a cryptocurrency exchange, was hacked on Tuesday.
  • 17% of its digital holdings were stolen, causing the exchange to file for bankruptcy.

A South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange was brought to its knees by a cybersecurity attack.

Yapian, the operator of crypto-exchange Youbit, halted trading of cryptocurrencies on its venue Tuesday and filed for bankruptcy after a hack, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported the exchange had 17% of its digital currency holdings stolen. The company witnessed a similar attack in April.

The crypto world has seen its fair share of hacks and cyber issues. Most notably, Mt. Gox, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2014 after a hacker moved hundreds of thousands of bitcoin from the exchange to his own account.

And earlier this year, an estimated $US280 million worth of the cryptocurrency ether was locked up by crypto-wallet company Parity because of one person’s mistake. An unidentified user accidentally deleted the code library required to use recently created digital wallets within Parity,according to a security alert posted on the company’s blog in November.

Still, the cryptocurrency market has marched onwards to incredible heights. Bitcoin, for instance, has soared 1,700% this year to more than $US18,000 a coin, according to data from Markets Insider. The entire market for digital coins now stands above $US600 billion. At the same time, Wall Street is paying more attention to the nascent market.

An estimated $US2 billion has been invested with specialist hedge funds focusing on cryptocurrencies in 2017, according to estimates from Morgan Stanley. And two established exchanges have launched bitcoin futures, which allow investors to bet on the future price of the digital currency.

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