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Breaking: South Korean Crypto Exchange Bithumb Hacked, Thieves Steal $30 Million

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:09 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:09 PM

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has suspended deposits and withdrawals after losing $30 million worth of cryptocurrencies as the result of an apparent hack.

The Seoul-based company, once the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, on Wednesday announced that $30 million worth of undisclosed cryptocurrencies had been stolen from the platform.

It is not clear at what time the theft occurred, but Bithumb suspended deposits at approximately 00:53 UTC and immediately began transferring all of its assets to cold wallets to prevent further losses.

“We checked that some of cryptocurrencies valued about $30,000,000 was stolen,” Bithumb said on Twitter. “Those stolen cryptocurrencies will be covered from Bithumb and all of assets are being transferring to cold wallet.”


The theft presumably occurred as the result of a hack, though the exchange has not formally confirmed this. Given the relatively small size of the theft, it’s likely that a hacker managed to gain access to an internet-connected “hot wallet” for one of the more thinly-traded assets listed on the platform.

Bithumb said that the company will cover all losses so that users will not be affected, other than by the temporary inability to move their assets. Deposits and withdrawals were suspended as of the time of writing at 1:58 UTC.

Bithumb currently ranks as the world’s sixth-largest and South Korea’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, with a daily trading volume of just over $330 million, according to CoinMarketCap.

The incident marked the second time a South Korean exchange had been hacked this month. Less than two weeks ago, little-known bourse Coinrail lost approximately $37.2 million worth of coins, including a variety of ERC-20 tokens.

The bitcoin price dropped nearly $200 in the hour following the hack, erasing much of the recovery that the markets had seen over the previous 48 hours.