The cryptocurrency market has tanked today, with prices of all the top coins dropping by as much as 10.56 percent.
This coincides with three recent news items – a CFTC investigation into Bitcoin futures price manipulation, as we covered earlier today, a big sale from a Bitcoin whale, and a hack at a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange.
As we have written about in the past, there a small number of Bitcoin wallets which hold massive fortunes. Movements of large amounts of money from these wallets can have a drastic effect on the Bitcoin market.
Writing in Medium, Marko Vidrih writes that one such wallet has just sent 8,000 bitcoins, well over $50 million at current prices, to a wallet belonging to a major cryptocurrency exchange, Huobi.
This particular whale has a current fortune of 85,000 bitcoins, which equals approximately $600 million at the current price. His/her identity is not known.
The US Commodity and Futures Trading Commission suspects several major US Bitcoin exchanges of price manipulation; what is worse, these prices are the basis upon which a major traditional exchange’s Bitcoin futures contracts are based.
Another event that occurred is a hack attack on a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange.
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The exchange in question is called Coinrail. It is a small-scale operation which handles $2.6 million worth of trading a day, according to coinmarketcap.com. The Coinrail website is currently down for maintenance, displaying a message apologising for the inconvenience and saying that it will be back up tomorrow.
Coinrail lists approximately 50 cryptocurrencies but mainly deals in a small-scale cryptocurrency called Pundi X (NPXS) according to Ethereum World News. The hack affected a few altcoins, but this one was the hardest hit.
This coin has a circulation of $9.4 million. According to its website, it is designed to be used in physical stores for everyday purchases. To this end, it has its own operating system called Pundi XPOS.
It is based in London but plans to open offices in Tokyo and Seoul in the second quarter of 2018 and North and South American in the third quarter.
The Pundi X team posted in Medium today that 2,619,542,080 NPXS (approximately $19.6 million) were transferred to an exchange called IDEX, and has confirmed with Coinrail that this was the result of what the exchange calls a “cyber intrusion”. The number equals roughly three percent of all the tokens in circulation. According to the post, IDEX was contacted and has agreed to freeze the suspicious account, meaning that all of the stolen tokens can be tracked.
The cryptocurrency market has lost over 14 billion dollars in just a few hours. Bitcoin specifically saw a drastic drop today, shaving $400 from its value, or 6 percent. This is a continuation of a bear run which has lasted for three days. Ethereum and Ripple have experienced similar losses.
According to Bloomberg, Bitcoin has lost 48 percent of its value since the beginning of the year.