Japan’s National Police Agency has reportedly revealed that cryptocurrency thefts have tripled in the half of this year, and have seen a whopping 60 billion yen ($540 million) worth of crypto get stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges and individuals.
According to a report published by Asahi Shimbun, the biggest crypto theft the country has seen this year was that of cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, which lost 58 billion yen worth of mostly NEM tokens in January. As CryptoGlobe covered, the exchange was later on sold to Monex for $34 million.
Per the news outlet, there have been 158 cryptocurrency theft incidents in the first half of the year, and in 149 cases a total of 662.4 million yen ($5.8 million) were stolen. The remaining 2.5 billion yen ($22 million) didn’t involve exchanges, but were mostly stolen from individual accounts.
The report reads:
More than 60 percent of all cases, or 102 incidents, involved individuals who used the same ID and password for their e-mail account and other Internet services, such as online shopping, for cryptocurrency dealings.
Notably, the National Police Agency claims the Coincheck hack “triggered consumer awareness” as the number of incidents “decreased dramatically” after the incident, as between April and June only 38 crypto theft cases were reported. Between January and March, 120 were reported.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has also intensified its efforts to oversee the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges, which likely contributed to the reduction. Asashi Shimbun’s report further notes the most targeted cryptocurrency was bitcoin, as about 860 million yen ($7.6 million) were stolen in 96 cases.
After BTC, the most sought cryptocurrency was XRP, with over 1.52 billion yen ($13.5 million) being stolen in 42 cases. NEM came after as it was involved in 36 cases. A total of $58 billion yen ($515 million) were stolen due to the Coincheck incident.
The report comes shortly after Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif revealed it was the victim of a security breach, in which about 6.7 billion yen ($59.7 million) worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from its coffers. Most of the funds were stolen from users’ balances.
The country’s FSA had back in March issued a business improvement order to the exchange’s owner, Tech Bureau, telling it to improve its security measures. The regulator has earlier this year formed a new division to keep up with crypto, and is set to increase the size of the crypto-focused team.