Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Hackers Break Away With $70 Million Worth Of Bitcoin

Hackers Break Away With $70 Million Worth Of Bitcoin

CoinDesk, a site specializing in cryptocurrency news and data, reported that NiceHash users were circulating a link to a bitcoin account that suggested as many as 4,736 bitcoins had been stolen, an amount worth roughly $71 million at current prices.

The digital currency began the year below $1,000 and its gains have accelerated as investor interest grows. On Thursday afternoon the ASX 200 was 0.54 percent higher while the Shanghai Composite and South Korea's Kospi were both lower.

The second-best performing asset during the trading period (trailing only the largely unknown crypto asset TRON), bitcoin's strong upward move caps 24 hours in which its price climbed by over 20 percent across global exchanges, rising $2,000 in the process according to CoinMarketCap. The dollar was trading at $1.3365, a 0.20 percent decline.

The concerns about its volatility have led some Wall Street banks and trade groups to raise concerns about the potential implications of trading bitcoin.

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There was no immediate response from NiceHash to an emailed request for more details.

NiceHash, a website which offers Bitcoin in exchanges customer's computing power to mine other cryptocurrencies, confirmed that it had suffered a security breach early this morning.

And then there are concerns about security. Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange, at one point tweeted that record-high traffic had caused interruptions to its service.

The hack took place as Bitcoin hit new record highs, despite many analysts having publicly dismissed the phenomenon as no more than a speculative bubble which was ready to burst at any time. They are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they are traded. Others say they can be helpful methods of payment, such as in crisis situations where national currencies have collapsed. That prevents cheaters from spending the same digital coin twice. Mt. Gox shut down in February 2014, saying it lost about 850,000 bitcoins, possibly to hackers. Laws were enacted to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies following that incident.

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