A Bitcoin mining company in Slovenia, NiceHash, has reported a heist of tens of millions of dollars. The incident has happened just days before the virtual currency starts trading on major U.S. exchanges.
The Slovenian crypto currency mining marketplace said that they are looking into the security breach and have stopped operations for 24 hours while they verify how many Bitcoins have been taken.
Coindesk, a research firm, has said that a wallet address referred to by NiceHash users shows about 4,700 Bitcoins have been stolen. At the time of the heist, the price of a Bitcoin was nearly $15,000 which puts the cumulative value of steal at over $70 million.
According to NiceHash spokesperson Bostjan Lindav, the incident has been reported to the investigation authorities and law enforcement. The Slovenian police is looking into the case together with the authorities in other states. He did not quote a figure of Bitcoins stolen or revealed any other detail.
The hack has put a spotlight on the security of the most sought-after crypto currency as its trading is about to begin on two established U.S. exchanges. The Chicago Board Options Exchange will start trading futures for Bitcoin on Sunday evening while CME Group's platforms would do so later in the month.
The price of Bitcoin has skyrocketed this year, particularly in the recent weeks. According to Coindesk.com, the cryptocurrency has soared about 70% this week. On Friday, it surged to over $17,000 setting a new all time high. At the start of the year, the value of one Bitcoin was around $1,000.
The crypto currency has become most popular virtual currency and a hot trading commodity. Bitcoin has not just gained traction but has become more mainstream financial asset in recent weeks.
As it continues to break records, the debate over its credibility has raged as well. It has been called as a means to facilitate money laundering and illicit activities by some, while many others see no harm from the currency.
Critics have been arguing over the future of Bitcoin. It is compared to a bubble similar to the dotcom boom, but others argue on the flexibility and ease that makes it an asset for the future.
The crypto trend continues to grow despite speculation. While billions of dollars have been invested in digital currency, the total market value of crypto assets has reached a record peak of $423 billion.
Back in February 2014, a similar incident of Bitcoin hack was reported by a Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox in Japan. The crypto currency exchange had to shut down saying it lost about 850,000 Bitcoins to hackers.