The extraordinary surge of Bitcoin means its current market capitalization is now more than the annual output of entire economies, and what is estimated to be the worth of some of the top billionaires in the world today.
NiceHash the bitcoin miner based in Slovenia said it was investigating a breach and possible theft of bitcoins worth tens of millions of dollars, while the virtual currency continues to soar to new record highs.
On Thursday, NiceHash in a prepared statement it posted on its own website said it stopped its operations for a period of 24 hours and was verifying the number of bitcoins that were stolen.
Unconfirmed reports have said that over 4,000 bitcoins had gone missing valued at over $60 million.
The statement by NiceHash added that the incident was reported to all relevant authorities including law enforcement and the company is cooperating with all of them. The company’s statement urged all its users to change their passwords.
Troubles on the website during the last couple of days drew both complaints and alarm, with several owners of bitcoins posting comments of concerns and worry on the social media accounts of NiceHash.
The bitcoin price has soared to more than $14,100 gaining over $1,000 over the last 24 hours, according website coindesk that monitors its price. That is in comparison with a value of less than $1,000 at the start of 2017.
Bitcoin is the most popular of the world’s digital currencies. These currencies are not tied to any government or bank and allow the user to spend money completely anonymously.
They are in simple terms lines of computer code digitally signed each time they get traded. Bitcoins miners as well as other virtual currencies help maintain honesty in the systems by placing computer power in a blockchain, a running tally globally of all transactions that prevents any cheaters from spending the same digitalized coin twice.
NiceHash is a mining application that lends computer power in order to verify the transactions of bitcoin users. A vital concern in such dealings is online security.
In Japan, after the failure of one bitcoin exchange that was called Mt. Gox, new legislation was passed to regulate the bitcoin as well as other types of cryptocurrencies.
The shutdown of Mt. Gox was in February of 2014 after the exchange said it had lost over 850,000 bitcoins to a possible security breach by hackers.