Following recent unexpected maintenance by crypto exchange Coinbene, many began to question if the exchange had been hacked. Coinbene responded to the allegations claiming the exchange was simply undergoing an upgrade, but a report from blockchain query engine Elementus reveals that large amounts of Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies have been transferred from the exchange this week.
The transactions, amounting to $105 million worth of crypto, began soon after the exchange went into maintenance on Monday. Coinbene announced the following day that the platform was undergoing maintenance and then further assured users that all asset were safe. The exchange even went to lengths to assure users that in the event of any lost assets, user funds would be fully compensated.
The alleged maintenance has been attributed to a required wallet upgrade that was necessary to “protect the rights of global users and partners.”
In its report, Elementus clarifies that the company does not intend to refute Coinbene’s assertions but to simply provide transparency on what is happening. While it’s possible that the crypto transfers are perfectly legitimate, the fact that the event was not announced beforehand made users suspicious. Funds have been found to be moving via major crypto exchanges including Binance, Bittrex, and Huobi.
The Elementus report further reveals that the transferred funds are now being sold on various exchanges around the world. Out of 110 identified cryptocurrencies, MaxiMine (MXM) was the largest moved asset, accounting for $70 million worth of the total amount. In what appears to be a result of the transfer, MXM coin gained over 700 percent in value on Monday, with 99 percent of the gains originating from Coinbene. A large percentage of the funds, some of which were converted to Ethereum tokens via Etherdelta, are still in transit.
Certain characteristics regarding the way in which the funds are being transferred make the event seem far more similar to a theft than a common cold and hot wallet transfer. The Elementus report explains: “Transfers of this size are not unheard-of when an exchange is moving funds between hot and cold wallets, but that is clearly not what’s happening here.”
At the time of writing Coinbene maintains its position that the activity is planned maintenance, but it’s clear the crypto community remains skeptical. Coinbene responded to the allegations with the following tweet:
“Somebody doubt CoinBene was attacked by hacker recently because our maintenance.
We CoinBene are so sorry that made everyone worried for this problem.”
The tweet includes an image going into further detail regarding the planned maintenance.
Singaporean cryptocurrency exchange DragonEx was also subject to a hack recently, resulting in an undisclosed amount of cryptocurrency being stolen. The exchange announced the hack via its Telegram channel following a similar announcement regarding maintenance. The exchange claims to have since managed to retrieve some of the stolen assets.