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Police identify possible cryptocurrency thief

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press)—Tokyo police have sent to prosecutors documents on an 18-year-old boy in Utsunomiya, for allegedly stealing about ¥15 million worth of cryptocurrency monacoin from a related website.

It is the first time that Japanese authorities have identified and taken action against a person suspected of illegally withdrawing virtual currency, according to the cybercrime division of the Metropolitan Police Department, which arrested the boy on Thursday.

The boy allegedly caused the system for the Monappy cryptocurrency storage service website to function improperly and stole some ¥15 million worth of monacoin in August-September last year. He is suspected of concealing the cyber money in an anonymous account overseas.

He has admitted to the charges, investigative sources said.

On Sept. 1 last year, the Monappy operator noticed that the balance of monacoin was decreasing, and launched an investigation. The probe found that monacoin assets of some 7,700 clients that had been kept in a system connected to an outside network were illegally withdrawn.

On the Monappy site, the boy applied for monacoin remittances about 8,200 times using alphanumeric “gift codes.” As a result, erroneous transfers occurred about 640 times, and some 97,000 monacoin was illegally withdrawn, according to the sources.

The boy told the police that he has been aware that very frequent monacoin transfer applications will cause the system to function improperly, according to the sources.

The sources quoted the boy as saying: “I felt like I’ve found a trick that no one else knows. I’ve been aware that what I was doing was wrong, but it was fun to see my account balance continue increasing.”

The boy said he committed the crime as if he was playing a game, according to the sources.

In Japan, ¥58 billion worth of cryptocurrency NEM was stolen from the virtual currency exchange run by Coincheck Inc. in January 2018. In September the same year, ¥6.7 billion worth of bitcoin and two other virtual currencies was stolen from the Zaif cryptocurrency exchange. Suspects have not been identified in both cases.Speech

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