£52m in Bitcoin stolen after 'sophisticated' hack at mining website

£52m in Bitcoin stolen after 'sophisticated' hack at mining website

"The contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen".

Cryptocurrency website NiceHash said in a press release on Wednesday evening it has suffered a security breach that compromised its digital wallet, believed to be holding millions of dollars worth of bitcoins.

He said the company was co-operating with local authorities but declined to give more information.

The swings in price occurred as the trading community prepares for bitcoin to start trading on two established USA exchanges.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the world's largest exchange for futures and options on futures, will begin trading the bitcoin futures from the 18th.

That has increased the sense among some investors that bitcoin is gaining in mainstream legitimacy after several countries, like China, tried to stifle the virtual currency.

At 3:25 p.m. EST, bitcoin was valued at $15,930, according to Coinbase, after briefly surging above $19,000 Thursday morning.

Bitcoin climbed as much as 7.9% on Thursday as it surged above $14 000, extending this month's advance to more than 40%.

Bitfinex, a Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange, was briefly shut down past year after hackers stole almost 120,000 bitcoins - worth more than $65 million at the time. Some say they serve merely to facilitate money laundering and illicit, anonymous payments.

Miners of bitcoins and other virtual currencies help keep the systems honest by having their computers keep a global running tally of transactions.

Online security is a vital concern for such dealings. Mt. Gox shut down in February 2014, saying it lost about 850,000 bitcoins, possibly to hackers.

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