In this Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, photo, Coincheck President Koichiro Wada, left, bows in apology at the beginning of a news conference in Tokyo. Japanese media say the Coincheck exchange has lost 58 billion yen ($530 million) in cryptocurrency because of hacking. (Takuya Inaba/Kyodo News via AP)
An incredible financial robbery of the century happened in Tokyo, Japan. Almost 58 million yen or approximately $534 million were stolen from the accounts of Coincheck, one of the main Japanese cryptocurrency trading exchanges. At first, it was reported by NHK broadcaster and after that by Reuters. Practically, all Japanese cryptocurrency outlets, including Coincheck, stopped its functioning. Those people who want to withdraw various types of cryptocurrency are in despair. The whole system is just blocked. Thousands of Coincheck users get together at the headquarters of this company. Despite the cold weather, they try to catch the latest news about the crash of their financial hopes. Millions of Oriental businessmen with virtual assets are still in a panic now. Nobody knows what to do.
The financial tragedy happened at 11:25 a.m. on Friday. One of the senior executive offices of Coincheck noticed a nose-diving drop in the balance of its NEM cryptocurrency. NEM is an option of cryptocurrency created in March 2015. Now it costs ¥93 per coin. Emergency measures were taken, but it was in vain. The track of a half a billion money flow had already disappeared. At 12:03 p.m. all NEM deposits were frozen. As for yen transactions, they were stopped at 4:33 p.m. A number of financial experts consider such actions of Coincheck as too sluggish. They needed 38 minutes to take a decision to stop their cryptocurrency operations. 38 minutes! That is too much.
In spite of titanic security measures taken by Tokyo bank structures and law enforcement forces, nothing has changed since 2014. That year, Mt.Gox, the Tokyo-based financial company, reported on an awful loss of 850,000 bitcoins, equaled $500 million, at that time, and $28 million in cash from its deposits. Surely, Mt.Gox filed for its bankruptcy. A state-supported investigation was launched, hundreds of detectives and programmers were engaged, the legislation was tightened, but nowadays, like four years ago, the criminals just beat the rap and fled with heavy loot jackpot leaving no finger and footprints.
Nobody knows exactly why it happened. One of the possible reasons is the young age of its directors; I mean Coincheck CEO Koichero Wada and his top aide Yusuke Otsuka. At the press conference, conducted on Friday, these bitcoin captains looked like confused 30-old whizz kids without sufficient experience. They acknowledged open-heartedly that they did not have a slightest idea how the virtual assets had been hacked and how many their customers had been robbed. They did not know either they manage to compensate their clients or not. They did not know the total amount of Coincheck cash. At their press conference, they were apologizing for more than an hour, but no one heard, at least, one constructive idea aimed at the way-out from this financial fiasco. Big money prefers wise bosses. It is obvious, Coincheck made a mistake with their appointment.
Nevertheless, the life of the Japanese society goes on, and the wheel of financial services keeps on rolling. The only question arises if it is still worth investing in cryptocurrency or it is better not to do it.