A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange said on Monday that hackers had stolen about one-third of the coins traded on its market, an announcement that sent bitcoin prices tumbling to a two-month low.

Coinrail said hackers stole cryptocurrencies over the weekend including Pundi X, Aston and NPER. It did not give a value but Yonhap News agency cited unnamed industry sources saying coins worth about 40 billion won (£27.7 million) were lost.

If true, that would make it the biggest cryptocurrency theft reported to date in South Korea. 

Bitcoin was trading at $6,780 (£5,050) on Monday, down from more than $7,500 (£5,586) before the weekend, according to Coindesk, which monitors prices.

Coinrail said it was cooperating with police and suspended trading. News reports said Coinrail, launched in September, was the seventh-largest exchange in South Korea by trading volume.

South Korea has seen a craze over bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, prompting authorities to try to rein in speculative investment this year by tightening regulations. Cryptocurrencies are still popular, especially with young investors.

AP

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