Nearly 438 bitcoins worth over Rs 20 crore were reported stolen from Coinsecure, a Delhi-based cryptocurrency exchange. This is being reported as the biggest cryptocurrency theft in the country so far.
Coinsecure has filed an FIR with the cyber cell accusing its Chief Security Officer, Amitabh Saxena, of stealing the money from the firm’s bitcoin wallet. The company reportedly has urged the government to seize Saxena’s passport, fearing that he may leave the country. A case has been registered under IPC sections and Section 66 of the IT Act.
“Our Bitcoin funds have been exposed and seemed to have been siphoned out to an address that is outside our control,” the company said in a statement on its website. The firm is working toward recovering the money and “we reassure all our customers that you will be indemnified from our personal funds,” it said
According to a report on the Economic Times, the exchange, which has over two lakh users across the country, found that all the bitcoins that were stored offline had vanished. It was later found that the private keys, used to safeguard the bitcoin wallet were leaked online, leading to the theft. The company reportedly tried to trace the perpetrators but found that all the data logs of the affected wallets had been erased, leaving no trace of where the bitcoins were transferred. The website of the company now redirects to the statement regarding the theft.
RBI regulations may further worsen things
Coinsecure’s efforts to recover the lost amoung may be hampered by the Reserve Bank of India’s regulations on cryptocurrencies even as global prices rebound. The RBI last week banned regulated entities like banks from providing services to users, holders and traders of cryptocurrencies.
While the RBI has stopped short of banning cryptocurrencies entirely, this move will severely restrict consumers’ ability to either purchase or sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins.
According to the Central bank, the decision comes into effect immediately. Regulated entities which already are dealing with virtual currency shall exit the relationship within a specified time. RBI said that it will issue detailed guidelines in a separate circular soon.
In a statement on various regulatory policies, the RBI conceded that “technological innovations, including those underlying virtual currencies, have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system.” It goes on to say that cryptocurrencies “raise concerns of consumer protection, market integrity and money laundering, among others.”
What about those who have bought or dealt in cryptocurrencies? The RBI said it has “repeatedly cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins, regarding various risks associated in dealing with such virtual currencies.”