After losing about ¥3 billion ($32 million) to cyber criminals last week, it now appears that hackers not only targeted the Japanese operations of Bitpoint but also other overseas exchanges running the firm’s cryptocurrency trading system.
According to The Japan Times, cryptocurrencies worth $2.3 million were stolen in an earlier attack which targeted Bitpoint’s subsidiaries. The Japanese cryptocurrency exchange did not, however, disclose which subsidiary or subsidiaries were affected.
Currently, Bitpoint Japan operates subsidiaries in Asia, South America and North America. Some of these subsidiaries are BITPoint Malaysia, BITPoint Hong Kong, BITPoint Peru and BITPoint Panama. In Thailand Bitpoint, in a joint venture with a local corporation, was earlier this year granted a license to operate as BiTherb.
Theft sends parent company's stock crashing
In last week’s hack where cryptocurrencies worth $32 million were stolen, more than 70 percent of the affected funds - $23 million – belonged to customers. The funds were held in a hot wallet.
The hackers stole the funds in five cryptocurrencies namely Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. The cryptocurrency exchange subsequently halted trading after discovering the security breach. Bitpoint also instructed its customers not to send funds to its receiving until further notice.
After the theft Bitpoint’s parent company Remixpoint Inc fell by over 18 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Top country for crypto, top target for thieves
Coming around 18 months since one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchange thefts in Japan and the world stern measures were taken by the country’s Financial Services Agency with a view of preventing similar security breaches.
However, it seems the Fast East country still has a long way to go before thefts from crypto exchanges become a thing of the past. Just last year Bitpoint had been issued with a business improvement order alongside other exchanges such as Tech Bureau, BTC Box, Bit Bank and QUOINE. This seems not to have helped.
Will Bitpoint Survive?
Some cryptocurrency exchange hacks have proved fatal. Earlier this year, for instance, New Zealand’s digital asset exchange Cryptopia suffered an attack in which millions of dollars of customer funds were lost.
A few months ago the exchange indicated that it would go into liquidation as the hack had bankrupted the business. One advantage that Bitpoint might have over Cryptopia is that its parent company is relatively diversified. Specifically, the 15-year old Remixpoint operates in sectors such as technology, energy and used cars besides running cryptocurrency exchanges. The cryptocurrency theft could, however, strain an already delicate situation.
Two months ago, Remixpoint reported an operating loss of ¥1.71 billion ($15.9 million) for the year ended March 31. This was in comparison to an operating profit of ¥3.62 billion ($33.56 million) made in the financial year that ended March 31, 2018.