Cryptopia, the New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange, has been awarded the dubious honor of becoming the first exchange in 2019 to be hacked. The site had been in “unscheduled maintenance” since on Monday 14th, before an official announcement made the following day reported that the site had been hacked and that “significant losses” had been suffered.
— Cryptopia Exchange (@Cryptopia_NZ) January 15, 2019
Suspicions were raised when Cryptopia issued a series of tweets on Monday announcing that unscheduled maintenance was taking place, with unhappy users quick to respond with worries about the safety of their coins. The standard replies from Cryptopia didn’t do much to ease concerns, with an announcement finally coming early on Tuesday that they had indeed been the victims of a hack. Claims of an exit scam were predictably quick to surface, particularly when amateur sleuths uncovered a number of withdrawals from the Cryptopia wallets in the lead up to the unscheduled maintenance:
#Cryptopia has announced that they have faced #security #breach, with rumours circulating that a large amount of #ERC20 assets have been lost. Which seem to be true when we look to their hot wallet; https://t.co/JiwfNz0Xhw pic.twitter.com/lni0yl0jxk
— Samuel JJ Gosling (@xGozzy) January 15, 2019
Estimates of losses currently range from $3.6 million to $11 million, and the question of whether Cryptopia will be able to honor this figure will be of primary importance to those who have lost funds as a result. The hack has led for more calls for crypto users to keep the majority of their funds off exchanges, and comes less than two weeks after the Proof of Keys event which advocates direct ownership of a holder’s assets. Sadly, it often takes being directly affected by an event like this for users to realize the importance of this message.
My 2btc is in #cryptopia is my btc safe? Unscheduled maintenance for close to 24 hours.
— FoShizzle (@ojialo1) January 15, 2019
No doubt the fallout from this hack will continue over the coming days and weeks, as the method of the hackers and any question of negligence on the part of Cryptopia becomes clearer.