The ever-volatile market for cryptocurrency has taken another hit after a prominent South Korean cryptocurrency exchange got hacked. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and EOS are among the many cryptocurrencies that have dropped 10% or more in value as a result of the hack. According to the Wall Street Journal, the person behind the hack got away with cryptocurrency worth $40 million.
As a result of the hack Coinrail has been taken offline. According to Coinrail’s website, the team running the exchange managed to secure 70% of all the cryptocurrency tokens that were stored there. They managed to secure them by using a cold wallet, which is a hard drive not connected to the Internet. In the digital world, hackers are far from uncommon. The remaining 30% of the cryptocurrency tokens have been leaked.
Why is this interesting?
The interesting this about this case is the massive impact it had on the value of cryptocurrencies that were not even affected by the hack. Bitcoin, for example, was not affected by it, and yet the value dropped by a tenth. The only reason why the value of the otherwise unaffected cryptocurrencies has dropped is because investors decided to sell their tokens after hearing about the hack.
The reason why investors have decided to back off of cryptocurrency after the hack remains unclear. Had one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges been hacked, their decision would perhaps have been more obvious. However, Coinrail is not one of the major exchanges. According to the Wall Street Journal, they come in as number 100 on the list of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Why did the investors back off?
Some have speculated that the reason could be the unpredictable environment in the cryptocurrency space. Because many find the technology is difficult to understand and the governments have yet to solidify their regulations, cryptocurrency traders are looking at any other warning signs to guide their investment decisions.
Many media outlets have attempted to do the calculations on exactly how much this hack has cost the cryptocurrency market. Bloomberg, among others, have come to the conclusion that up to $42 million has been lost as a result of the hack. This is more than what was lost during the hack itself. What this indicates is that investor temperament can be just as, if not more, damaging than a cyber attack.
Maybe it has nothing to do with the hack
Experts, however, are of a different opinion., Some point to the fact that, according to CoinDesk, Bitcoin was already on its way down prior to the hack. After the all-time high of December 2017, Bitcoin has had a hard time recovering its value in 2018. As a matter of fact, the first quarter of 2018 has been the worst yet for Bitcoin.
The same can be said for the other cryptocurrencies that were apparently affected by the hack of Coinrail. Looking at Ethereum and Ripple shows a similar pattern. Ethereum lost almost half of its value by dropping 47.7%, and Ripple lost the majority of its value when it lost 77% of it. This could indicate that the hack was actually not the reason for the drop in cryptocurrency value. Rather, 2018 has just not been a great year for the big cryptocurrencies.