Business 19 March 2018

Jasmine Solana

Coincheck, Bittrex weed out anonymous, low-liquidity altcoins

Spring (cleaning) came early for cryptocurrency exchanges Coincheck and Bittrex.

Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck will reportedly stop handling three anonymity-focused cryptocurrencies—Monero, Dash, and Zcash—as it “now recognizes the high risk” posed by these virtual currencies when used in money laundering activities, sources told the Japan Times.

Coincheck’s application for a cryptocurrency exchange license has been pending with the Financial Services Agency (FSA) in September, partly because most of its customers are anonymous, according to the report.

The news comes on the heels of a cyber-attack in January, which saw hackers getting ahold of $534 million worth of NEXM tokens from Coincheck’s hot wallet. Executives at Coincheck hinted that the theft was caused by a possible malware-related incident, but police investigators discovered “multiple suspicious transmissions” were made from Coincheck’s intracompany network to Europe and U.S.-based servers around Jan. 23, three days before the theft occurred.

Cybersecurity experts believe that half of the missing NEM tokens have already been converted into other types of cryptocurrency for money laundering purpose, making it even harder to track.

All kinds of transactions on the Coincheck platform were immediately halted after the hack, but the company has since resumed activities, albeit of certain currencies—on March 12, following its promise to pay the 260,000 users affected in what was considered as the biggest theft in world history, effectively dethroning the infamous Mt. Gox hack.

Meanwhile, Coincheck is eyeing the possibility of buying Monero, Dash and Zcash from its customers at a fixed price. According to sources, the embattled company has begun accepting transfers from verified accounts.

Bittrex de-lists 82 altcoins

Bittrex, once considered to be a safe haven for many altcoins, is bidding 82 of them goodbye.

Effective March 30, 82 token wallets will be removed from the cryptocurrency exchange’s system, according to an announcement on Bittrex website. These include altcoins who have low liquidity or do not have “a properly functioning blockchain and wallet.”

Of the 82 tokens, 26 currencies suffered from blockchain issues, such as not having a working blockchain, according to the exchange. Bittrex urged its customers to withdraw their coins before March 30, because “once these wallets are removed, we will no longer be able to recover these coins.”

The list of soon-to-be-removed altcoins can be found here.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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