• Kyodo


Dozens of victims of a massive cryptocurrency theft from the virtual currency exchange Coincheck launched an association Saturday to jointly negotiate reimbursement and consider filing a lawsuit against the Tokyo-based company.

Around 30 Coincheck Inc. account holders and three lawyers got together in Tokyo after the bourse lost NEM digital currency worth ¥58 billion ($534 million) to hackers on Jan. 26.

Coincheck has said it would compensate some 260,000 holders of the NEM currency who have fallen victim to the theft to the tune of ¥46 billion, but it remains unclear how and when it will make the payments.

Some Coincheck users with investments in cryptocurrencies other than NEM also joined the association, as the exchange has halted the withdrawal of NEM and other digital coins as well as Japanese yen.

The association plans to launch a website in the near future to seek the participation of more victims.

“We urge (Coincheck) to enable us to withdraw money soon,” said a 42-year-old man who heads the association, adding that the group also wants the company to make public its financial data the verify claims that it can pay compensation.

Among participants, a woman in her 20s said she invested around ¥2 million ($18,000) in cryptocurrencies to make money for a vacation overseas but now faces a loss of over ¥1 million after the NEM heist and a drop in other cryptocurrencies’ value.

“I wasn’t worried (before the incident) considering its high trading volume and TV commercials,” said the woman, who described herself as a professional game player.

A 35-year-old man from Tokyo who works in the logistics industry said, “The company’s management might run off. This is a race against time.”

A 25-year-old man also from Tokyo said, “I was aware of the risks. There may be little we can do about the lost currency.”

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