NiceHash suffers security breach, around $70 million in Bitcoin stolen

Cryptocurrency website Nice Hash said on Wednesday it has been hacked with an unconfirmed number of Bitcoins it held stolen

NiceHash paused operations for 24 hours to determine how many bitcoins were stolen and how.

NiceHash allowed users to mine for other cryptocurrencies and paid them in bitcoin.

The Slovenian-based bitcoin miner NiceHash says it is investigating a security breach and the possible theft of tens of millions of dollars' worth of bitcoins, as meanwhile the value of the virtual currency has soared to a new record high.

The announcement came a day after the marketplace first asked NiceHash users to be patient while the service undergoes maintenance, and then, a few hours later, said again that the maintenance would take longer than expected. We are now investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours.

Speaking to Reuters, Andrej P. Škraba, head of marketing, NiceHash, said, "The hack was a highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering and about 4,700 bitcoin, worth about $63.92 million at current prices, were lost". However, as this incident demonstrates, cloud mining services subject users to additional risks versus operating one's own hardware.

Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days.

Users that mined to an external wallet for an additional fee are out unpaid balances less than 0.01 BTC, but sadly users that mined to an internal wallet have potentially losts hundreds or thousands of mined bitcoin. In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.

We would not exist without our devoted buyers and miners all around the globe.

"While the full scope of what happened is not yet known, we recommend, as a precaution, that you change your online passwords", they wrote in the statement.

CNBC reached out to NiceHash Chief Executive Marko Kobal for comment but he was not available at the time of publication. We will endeavour to update you at regular intervals.

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