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In another attestation to the growing phenomenon of crypto scams all around the world, Japanese police has disclosed that in the first six months of 2018, cryptocurrency frauds have tripled. And if that wasn’t enough, coincidentally, a Japan-based crypto exchange was recently hacked and lost dozens of millions of dollars.
Ever since the end of World War II, Japan has always been one of the leading countries on the planet in technological innovation – and as a top innovative nation, it also attracts the more nefarious aspects of success. Japan’s National Police Agency reports that just in the first half a year of 2018, cyber criminals have managed to steal a mind-boggling sum of $540 million in cryptocurrency (about 60.5 billion yen); this amount is three times as much as in the parallel period in 2017.
The lion’s share of this amount – $500 million dollar or 58 billion yen – was stolen after a hack to the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. The police also points out that in over 60% of the cases, the victims were using the same usernames and passwords for multiple accounts, including for their emails and for their crypto transactions and dealings; objectively, this is quite a silly vulnerability, which could have been easily avoided as one would expect to act more securely when dealing with sensitive financial information.
In terms of cases, the top filched cryptocurrency is, not surprisingly, Bitcoin (BTC) with 860 million yen worth of stolen digital currency in 94 cases; second is Ripple (XRP) with 1.52 billion yen in 42 cases; third is NEM (XEM) with about 58 billion yen in 36 cases (including the Coincheck hack); and fourth is Ethereum (ETH) with about 61 million yen in 14 cases.
Incidentally, and as if to demonstrate the police’s report on crypto crime, in the last few days the Japanese crypto exchange Zaif was hacked and nearly $60 million (or 6.7 billion yen) in cryptocurrency was stolen. It appears that the breach took place on September 14, and the cyber criminals virtually escaped with 4.5 billion yen from the clients’ hot wallets and additional 2.2 billion yen from the company’s own digital assets. Most of the plundered cryptocurrency was in Bitcoin (5,966 BTC) and the rest was in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).
According to CoinMarketCap, in the past 24 hours (September 20) Zaif is ranked as the 35th largest cryptocurrency with a trading volume of approximately $67 million, primarily in the pair BTC/JPY which is responsible for around 92% ($61.5 million) of the entire exchange’s volume.