Hackers steal nearly $70B in bitcoins as currency hits $15,000

By Sara Shayanian  |  Dec. 7, 2017 at 9:26 AM
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Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Nearly $70 billion worth of bitcoins were stolen from a service called NiceHash as the cryptocurrency's value skyrocketed to $15,000.

NiceHash, a cryptocurrency mining service, was forced to shut down its operations for 24 hours following the security breach.

"Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days," NiceHash said in a statement on Facebook. "We are fully committed to restoring the NiceHash service with the highest security measures at the earliest opportunity."

NiceHash recommended its users change their passwords while an investigation continues.

About 4,700 bitcoins were stolen, according to Andrej P. Škraba, head of marketing at NiceHash, who called the breach "a professional attack."

The hack comes as bitcoin hit a new record on Wednesday, with its value crossing the $15,000 threshold.

As bitcoin's value continues to skyrocket, financial experts are struggling to make sense of the rapid rise in value while others say its value will likely decrease dramatically soon.

"It's one of the greatest shorting opportunities ever," Lou Kerner, a partner at VC Flight told Bloomberg earlier this week.

"You have a lot of zealotry, and a lot of people, including me, who think it's the greatest thing to ever happen in the history of mankind. You have a lot of people who think it's a bubble and a Ponzi scheme. It turns out both of them can't be right."

JPMorgan and Chase CEO Jaime Dimon has called bitcoin a "fraud" that would "eventually blow up."

Bitcoin started 2017 with a value of just $1,000.

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