NiceHash diced up by hackers, thousands of Bitcoin pilfered

Bitcoin chart

NiceHash diced up by hackers, thousands of Bitcoin pilfered

The hack will put a spotlight on the security of bitcoin just as the trading community prepares for the currency 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.

The futures signal more mainstream acceptance of the currency, but also open up bitcoin to additional market forces. Read here how bitcoins became bigger than the New Zealand economy.

Bitcoin opponents have voiced concerns about security and the potential for bitcoins to be stolen.

The frenzy of interest and the rapid rise in the price of bitcoin has put significant strain on the major bitcoin exchanges. Last Friday, the company tweeted about a 1,000 bitcoin payout worth $10 million "at this moment".

Bitcoin climbed as much as 7.9% on Thursday as it surged above $14 000, extending this month's advance to more than 40%. They are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they are traded. Others say they can be helpful methods of payment, such as in crisis situations where national currencies have collapsed.

In Japan, following the failure of a bitcoin exchange called Mt. Gox, new laws were enacted to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

A bitcoin mining company in Slovenia has been hacked for the possible theft of tens of millions of dollars, just days before the virtual currency, which hit a record above US$15,000 on Thursday, is due to start trading on major USA exchanges.

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