UPbit, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges based in South Korea, confirmed that it was hacked after rumors were mounting. In a statement, the platform announced that all trading activities, deposits, and withdrawals were temporarily suspended until further notice.
On Nov. 27, Naver, South Korea’s most popular news site, reported a suspicious activity happening at UPbit. According to the news outlet, a significant amount of Ethereum was transferred out of the exchange before it announced a temporary suspension of cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals.
Naver affirmed that the way services were suspended led them to believe that UPbit was hacked since the exchange usually notifies its users before any bulk transfer of cryptocurrencies are made.
An industry official told Naver:
“There is a disagreement as to whether it is currently hacked or moved from the exchange side to the cold wallet. The rational suspicion of hacking is because the exchange side usually informs users in advance when the cryptocurrency is transferred to the cold wallet.”
Dovey Wan, a founding partner at Primitive Ventures, took it upon Twitter to ask followers to confirm whether the news was legit or not since she had multiple sources with different views on the matter.
342,000 ETH are gone
Following numerous reports about the number one South Korean cryptocurrency exchange being hacked, Lee Seok-woo, the CEO of Dunamu, which is the firm behind UPbit, released an official statement. Lee confirmed that 342,000 ETH were transferred from the exchange’s hot wallet to an unknown wallet.
In the statement, Lee said:
“At 1:06 PM on November 27, 2019, 342,000 ETH (approximately 58 billion won) were transferred from the Upbeat Ethereum Hot Wallet to an unknown wallet. Unknown wallet address is 0xa09871AEadF4994Ca12f5c0b6056BBd1d343c029”
This coincides with a tweet sent by Whale Alert, a bot that tracks large crypto transactions from and to exchange, stating that nearly $50 million worth of Ethereum were transferred from UPbit to an unknown wallet.
Although UPbit’s announcement came after several users reported the incident, Lee apologized to all customers for any “inconvenience” caused. He also promised to cover all the losses with corporate assets and ensured that deposits and withdrawals would resume in the next couple of weeks.
Lastly, Dunamu’s CEO indicated that UPbit performed several large-scale transfers into its cold wallets after the hack, which were made to protect the funds remaining in hot wallets.
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