Bitcoin miner NiceHash loses $60M after security breach

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After touching $14,000 mark and creating a frenzy of sorts for past few days, Bitcoin brought in some trouble for users when Slovenian-based bitcoin miner NiceHash reported a cyber-breach on Wednesday.


"Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours," the marketplace said in a statement late on Wednesday. "Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken," it added.

The announcement followed hours-long outage and reports from a multitude of users that their NiceHash-associated wallets had been emptied. NiceHash lets people offer computing capacity for bitcoin miners to mine digital currencies. Cryptocurrency miners work out complex mathematical equations to add cryptocurrency transactions to decentralized public ledgers called blockchains.

While NiceHash was unable to specify how much bitcoin had been stolen, Coindesk estimates that the loss is about 4,736.42 Bitcoins, worth more than $60 million. The company is recommending that its users change their passwords — both on NiceHash and other services — following the breach.

This isn't the first time people have lost millions in cryptocurrency. In November, millions of dollars worth of Ethereum were "accidentally" frozen on the cryptocurrency wallet provider Parity after a user "suicided" the wallet, deleting its code and freezing all ether tokens contained within.

In India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) this week cautioned the "users, holders and traders" of Bitcoins about the security-related risks associated with dealing with such virtual currencies (VCs). The apex bank reiterated its stand that "it has not given any licence or authorization to any entity or company to operate such schemes or deal with Bitcoin or any VC."

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