The Asian crypto-world was shocked this Wednesday when it was revealed that the exchange platform Zaif suffered a hacking attack that reported losses of 6.7 billion yen, or the equivalent of $59.67 million, according to Reuters. Zaif belongs to a Japanese startup, Tech Bureau Corp, and the company itself broke the news as soon as it happened. The hackers focused on Bitcoin assets, as well as 2 other cryptocurrencies.

After the attack, it was revealed that the Japanese startup in question had reached an agreement with JASDAQ-listed Fisco Ltd to get a 5 billion yen investment for the majority of ownership. The cybercrime lasted, according to the Tech Bureau Corp, two full hours on September 14. However, the process extended for the next few days, as the site noted servers issues on September 17 and confirmed the event on the 18th, the same day it let the authorities know.

After reviewing the damages done by the hackers, the Tech Bureau Corp announced that among the assets stolen were 2.2 billion yen belonging to the firm, and the rest of the funds, a sum nearing 4.5 billion yen, belonged to users of the platform. This is not the first time that Zaif has made global news because of system imperfections and issues. In February, the exchange conceded that a glitch let users trade yen for digital assets at a rate of 0 yen per coin. 16 users took advantage of the temporary site problem and acquired trillions of dollars worth of Bitcoin.

The Frightening Details

Tech Bureau operates Zaif, which is a cryptocurrency exchange site based in Japan. After detecting the server problems on September 17, Zaif decided to suspend deposits and withdrawals until further notice. The day after that, Zaif realized that the “server error” it had experienced for a couple of hours on September 17 was indeed a hack, reporting the crime to the Japanese financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

The damage done was substantial: the report read that the hackers had stolen a total of 5,966 bitcoins (BTC) in addition to some Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA,) which were the other two digital coins involved in the robbery. As part of Zaif’s agreements with Fisco, the latter will help the former cover the lost customer tokens by giving up to 5 billion yen, or the equivalent amount to $44.5 million. In exchange, Tech Bureau will dismiss the majority of its directors and auditors on top of Fisco becoming the majority owners.

While Zaif was nowhere near the top 10 or even top 20 of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the planet, it was prominent nonetheless, occupying the 101st spot in daily trading volume according to the site CoinMarketCap.

The Zaif disaster hasn’t been the only hacking attack related to cryptocurrency exchanges in 2018. Some of the most notable events have been the Bancor exchange hack (July,) the Bithumb exchange hack (June,) the Coinsecure theft (April,) and the Coinrail exchange hack (June.)

By Andrés Chávez

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