CBS Local — Bitcoin, the digital currency that has captivated investors who believe it’s the future of money, has been skyrocketing in value over the last two days. The cryptocurrency has soared to a price of over $16,000 per share on Dec. 7; a jump of over $4,000 in just 36 hours of trading.
The jump in Bitcoin’s price has sent the entire cryptocurrency market to a sky-high value of more than $400 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com.
The most popular version of digital currency was created to be used without involving banks or governments. Bitcoin transactions reportedly allow for anonymity, which made it popular with people who want to keep their finances and identities private. The digital coins are created by “miners,” who operate computer farms that verify users’ transactions by solving complex math puzzles. Bitcoin can then be converted to cash by depositing them into accounts that have their price set by online trading.
While the value continues to rise, the digital money has run into problems from hackers who have reportedly stolen millions in cryptocurrency. CBS News reports that bitcoin miners in Slovenia were hacked, with tens of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin possibly taken. The December hack took place just days before the virtual money will begin being traded on major U.S. exchanges.
“The incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are cooperating with them as a matter of urgency,” Slovenian mining company NiceHash said in a statement.
The hack wasn’t the first incident to derail the cryptocurrency. In 2014, Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox reportedly lost around 850,000 Bitcoins to hackers. The theft pushed Japan to enact new laws to regulate the use and trading of cryptocurrencies within the country.