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Hacked New Zealand-based Crypto Exchange's Loss 'more Than Estimated'

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The actual amount of loss that a New Zealand-based crypto-currency trading company suffered from hacking earlier this month is far bigger than what was initially estimated, according to data company Elementus.

Cryptopia, based in Christchurch, announced on Twitter that on January 14, it suffered a security breach that resulted in significant losses. "Once identified, the exchange was put into maintenance while we assessed damages," it added.

The exchange has not disclosed the value of the losses, the tokens and currencies affected or any measures to refund users.

Whale Alert, which tracks large crypto transactions, reported that 19,391 ether (ETH) tokens worth nearly $2.44 million, and around 48 million centrality (CENNZ) tokens worth about $1.18 million were transferred from Cryptopia to unknown wallets by hackers.

But after decoding data stored on the Ethereum blockchain public database, Elementus said that the hack was different from previous attacks of this nature - and the amount stolen is much higher than originally thought.

According to data sourced by Elementus query engine, funds began moving out of Cryptopia's two core hot wallets on January 13, and within four days, Cryptopia's funds were drained.

The total value of the stolen-Ether and ERC20 tokens at January 19 market prices is estimated at about $16 million. This number includes only what is on the Ethereum blockchain. "We have not examined the Bitcoin blockchain or other blockchains to see if funds were stolen there as well," Elementus said in a statement.

For the last few days, the hackers have been shuffling the funds around in small pieces and gradually moving them into crypto currency exchanges to cash out, it added.

They attempted to cash-out stolen crypto assets at exchanges such as Binance, Huobi, Bibox, HitBTC, and CionExchange.

However, of the $16 million that was stolen, the vast majority remains in two wallets controlled by the thieves.

Bitcoin.com quoted Elementus co-founder Nuria Gutierrez as saying that this hack was particularly unusual as the attacker stole tokens in small amounts and with many wallets so as to avoid detection and being traced.

The New Zealand police and the High-Tech Crimes Unit were "jointly and actively investigating the matter as a major crime," but no more details were provided and the amount lost has not been made public so far.

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