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Bitcoin exchange Coincheck will refund customers after massive a hack

A bitcoin exchange which suffered a massive hack, thought to..

A bitcoin exchange which suffered a massive hack, thought to be the biggest in the world, has promised to refund customers.

Coincheck, a Japan-based exchange for buying and selling bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, has said it will reimburse anyone who lost digital cash as the result of the $534m (£380m) theft.

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News of the heist first emerged on Friday when Coincheck halted withdrawals, a move which sent the price of bitcoin lower. Japan is the largest bitcoin market in the world.

The firm then disclosed that it had been targeted late on Thursday evening by hackers who stole NEM, the 10th biggest cryptocurrency in the world in terms of market cap.

More than a quarter of a million users are affected, the company said. They will be reimbursed out of Coincheck's own funds.

"We realise that this illicit transfer of funds from our platform and the resulting suspension in services has caused immense distress to our customers, other exchanges, and people throughout the cryptocurrency industry, and we would like to offer our deepest and humblest apologies to all of those involved," the company said in a statement.

Read more: More than half of people say bitcoin will drop or collapse in six months

"In moving towards reopening our services, we are putting all of our efforts towards discovering the cause of the illicit transfer and overhauling and strengthening our security measures while simultaneously continuing in our efforts to register with the Financial Services Agency as a Virtual Currency Exchange Service Provider."

More than $400m was stolen from Mt Gox leading to its collapse in 2014. It was the biggest ever theft of cryptocurrency at the time. It took some time for the reputation of cryptocurrencies to recover, but spurred Japan to introduce specific rules aimed at cryptocurrencies, the first government to do so.

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