Italian crypto exchange BitGrail hacked for US$170 million
Cryptocurrency tech has been making the headlines almost each and every day in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, most of these headlines are tied to negative aspects that contribute to the depreciation of all important cryptocoins. A few weeks ago, hackers managed to steal more than US$500 million worth of NEM coins from Japanese-based CoinCheck exchange, and it seems cybercriminals are on a roll, as another exchange got hacked just a few days ago. BitGrail exchange is based in Italy, and the company announced its customers on February 9 that US$170 million worth of Nano coins were stolen, whereas the incident was reported to the local police, pending investigation.
BitGrail also suspended all transactions, including withdrawals and deposits, but the company will not be able to completely refund its customers. Things tend to get rather complicated when taking into account the fact that BitGrail tried to tighten the account verification process in mid December 2017, yet all the currencies transacted on the exchange were deposited in a hot wallet that was always connected to the internet, just like in the CoinCheck case. The developers behind the Nano coin even claim that they have sufficient reason to believe that the persons running BitGrail have “been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the […] exchange for a significant period of time.” On the other hand, the BitGrail staff accuses the Nano team of compromising the undergoing police investigation by revealing their private conversations.
This would be the third significant hack in 4 months, after the Coincheck and NiceHash debacle. All three affected companies were holding the crypto in hot wallets and it seems that hackers could have been working with insiders from each hacked exchange. There is also the possibility that some exchanges could try to pull a stunt and run away with the funds while claiming they were hacked from the outside. Bad news like this can always influence the price of all major cryptocoins and it only takes a few extra security measures to avoid such repercussions, but, apparently, this is too much for some companies.