Coincheck, a trading exchange in Tokyo, is said to have lost a massive 58 billion yen ($534 million) in the virtual heist, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK reported on Friday
On its website, Coincheck said had suspended withdrawals of almost all cryptocurrencies. The exchange has already reported the incident to the police and to Japan’s Financial Services Agency
It’s believed the collapse of the exchange prompted Bitcoin’s price to slide by about 10 percent early this morning. The cryptocurrency’s value dropped from a high of about $11,600 to a low of just over $10,500, while the price of Ripple, Ethereum and hundreds of other cryptocurrencies also nosedived. Yesterday, Britain’s Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer called for new laws and regulations to control cryptocurrency trading.
The cryptocurrency markets are famously volatile and tend to react very badly when governments propose new laws. In the past month, there have been two separate ‘bloodbaths’ in which the price of thousands of cryptocurrencies plummeted. Both of these slumps were triggered by news that countries including France, Germany, South Korea were considering introducing new laws to control the trading of digital dosh.