Seoul: News of the hacking of a small South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Coinrail, on Monday sent prices of cryptocurrencies into a tailspin, wiping out an estimated $30 billion in virtual wealth in a matter of a few hours, the media reported.
Industry watchers believe that hackers stole about $37.2 million worth of cryptocurrency from Coinrail, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday.
But the news of the hack led to a drastic fall in the prices of cryptocurrencies, with the price of bitcoin falling 6.22 per cent on Monday afternoon, according to Bithumb, one of South Korea's top three exchanges.
As well as bitcoin, prices for other commonly traded digital currencies like ethereum also plunged, CNNMoney reported.
Nearly $30 billion in cryptocurrency wealth was wiped out in about seven hours of trading, said the report citing data provider Coinmarketcap.com.
The Coinrail hacking attack took place on Sunday and it reported the incident to the police, according to a statement posted on its website, the Yonhap report said.
Coinrail said about 70 percent of its cryptocurrencies were moved to a more secure "cold wallet," which can transfer coins into a platform that is not connected to the Internet.
Trading has been suspended and Coinrail is fully cooperating with the probe into the hacking, the exchange said.
Last December, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, YouBit, was forced to shut down after a hacking attack.