February 3, 2018 6:53 am JST

Coincheck hackers sent stolen NEM coins to Philippine ICO

Plundered cryptocurrency also deposited in Czech, U.S. and NZ exchanges

Nikkei staff writers

A man takes a picture of a NEM logo at nem bar in Tokyo, where customers can pay with NEM coins. © Reuters

TOKYO -- Hackers who stole more than $500 million worth of the NEM cryptocurrency from Japanese virtual currency exchange Coincheck last week may have successfully spent a small portion of their ill-gotten gains.

On Thursday, Philippine blockchain technology company Appsolutely received about 2,000 NEM coins in its initial coin offering. The payment, worth about $2,000 at the time of the theft, came from one of numerous accounts across which the stolen coins have been dispersed. Whether the account holder has received ICO tokens in exchange for the payment is unconfirmed.

On Friday, 1,100 of the stolen NEM were sent to a Czech cryptocurrency exchange. Some other stolen coins have also been sent to exchanges in the U.S. and New Zealand as well, according to an official of the NEM.io Foundation, which has devised software to track movements of the stolen cryptocurrency.  

The foundation has asked crypto exchanges around the world to refuse service when wrongfully obtained NEM is deposited. But if the stolen coins keep spreading across more accounts, some of them may be converted into other cryptocurrencies or cash.

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