The Intersection: Crypto & Wall Street This Week

As bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies get increasing attention from investors, Wall Street and its traditional banks continue to adjust to the shift. 

$50M IN ETHER STOLEN FROM EXCHANGE: South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit revealed that 342,000 ether coins worth roughly $49.2M were sent to an unidentified wallet on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal’s Eun-Young Jeong and Steven Russolillo reported Thursday. The company disclosed the wallet address where the coins were sent and reported the theft to authorities who are investigating the incident. The exchange said it has barred all withdrawals and deposits since the loss, which could last at least two weeks. An official at the Korea Internet & Security Agency said that the situation at Upbit has been registered as “an irregular withdrawal” and that it isn’t clear whether the exchange was hacked.

CRYPTO CRIME RISES: According to a report from blockchain forensics firm CipherTrace, losses from cryptocurrency crime rose to $4.4B in the first nine months of the year, up over 150% from $1.7B in all of 2018, Reuters’ Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss reported Wednesday. “The 150% increase in crypto theft and fraud reflects how criminals are adapting for bigger and better scores,” CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans said. “Criminals chase money and the money is right here and ripe for the taking. Little attacks are often easy to defend against, but targeted attacks are far more lucrative.” The firm said two big thefts were the main drivers for the increase this year with the loss of $2.9B from an alleged Ponzi scheme involving PlusToken and a $195M loss from crypto exchange QuadrigaCX. “Even without the two biggest thefts and scams, we are still witnessing many multi-million dollar crimes,” Jevans said. “There is a relatively consistent increase in criminal activity year over year and we don’t expect that to change overnight.”

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