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Bitcoin marketplace NiceHash hacked, over $60 mn lost

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Bit Coin

San Francisco, Dec 7: In a warning for those who wish to invest in Bitcoins to make some big bucks, the cryptocurrency mining market NiceHash has revealed hackers wiped out its entire Bitcoin wallet, resulting in over $60 million loss.

“Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours,” the marketplace said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken,” it added.

Coindesk reported on Thursday that the loss is about 4,736.42 Bitcoins, worth more than $60 million.

“Are we going to get our btc? or might as well just forget it. Your press release said nothing about sending us what you owe. I have 4000$ stuck in your wallet which is now almost 4300$,” tweeted a user named Lohit.

Another NiceHash user Philip Richardson tweeted: “If I dont get my btc back i will never use your service again”.

Earlier in the day, the value of one Bitcoin had crossed $14,000, a new record high for the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoins are created through a complex computer process known as mining, and then monitored by a network of computers across the world.

A steady stream of about 3,600 new bitcoins are created a day – with about 16.5 million now in circulation from a maximum limit of 21 million, BBC reported.

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

The company recommends users to change their passwords – both on NiceHash and other services.

The incident brings back the memories of the 2014 implosion of the “mtGox” Bitcoin marketplace which lead to losses of millions of dollars.

In India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) this week cautioned the “users, holders and traders” of Bitcoins about the security related risks associated in dealing with such virtual currencies (VCs).

The apex bank reiterated its stand that “it has not given any licence or authorisation to any entity or company to operate such schemes or deal with Bitcoin or any VC”.

“In the wake of significant spurt in the valuation of many VCs and rapid growth in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), RBI reiterates the concerns,” the central bank said in a statement.

IANS

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Key Indian equity indices open on negative note

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Mumbai, Feb 22: Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened lower ahead of futures and options (F&O) expiry.

The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 33,844.86 points on Wednesday, opened lower at 33,817.09 points.

Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 33,726.79 points, down by 118.07 points, or 0.35 per cent.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 51-scrip Nifty, which had closed at 10,397.45 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 10,341.60 points, down by 55.85 points or 0.54 per cent.

On Wednesday, bargain hunting by investors lifted the key Indian equity indices ahead of the F&O expiry, snapping a three-day losing streak.

According to market observers, healthy buying in IT, technology, media and entertainment and banking stocks added to the upward trajectory of the benchmark indices.

The Sensex was up by 141.27 points or 0.42 per cent at the Wednesday’s closing. In the day’s trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 33,911.36 points and a low of 33,702.50 points.

The Nifty too, was up by 37.05 points or 0.36 per cent.

On Thursday, Asian indices were mostly showing a negative trend.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was trading in red, down by 0.91 per cent, Hang Seng down by 0.97 per cent while South Korea’s Kospi was also down by 0.49 per cent.

China’s Shanghai Composite index was the only quoting in green, up by 1.91 per cent.

Nasdaq closed in red, down by 0.22 per cent while FTSE 100 was up by 0.48 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.

IANS

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Jio to invest Rs 10,000 crore in 3 years in UP: Mukesh Ambani

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Lucknow, Feb 21: Reliance Jio will invest another Rs 10,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh over the next three years, Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani said here on Wednesday.

“Today I am happy to inform this audience that Jio is one of the largest investors in Uttar Pradesh with investments of over Rs 20,000 crore. Jio is providing the highest quality data at the lowest price in the world to over 2 crore citizens of Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani said while addressing the Uc.

“I have come to Lucknow to assure the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister that Jio’s Digital Revolution is here to make the maximum contribution to UP’s development revolution,” he added.

While talking about affordable handsets, JioPhone, Ambani said: “Jio will make available over two crore JioPhones in UP within the next two months on a priority basis.”

He mentioned that Jio has already created over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

“Jio will establish a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the campus of a reputed university in Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani added.

IANS

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Moody’s places PNB’s ratings under review for downgrade

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New Delhi, Feb 20: Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday placed under review for downgrade Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) local and foreign currency deposit rating of Baa3/P-3 and foreign currency issuer rating Baa3, an official statement said here.

It said “likely financial impact of the fraudulent transactions is the key driver for the review for downgrade.”

At the same time, Moody’s has placed the bank’s Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA of ba3 and the Counterparty Risk Assessment (CRA) of Baa3(cr)/P-3(cr) under review for downgrade.

PNB, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches in Mumbai, which is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate. The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

“The primary driver for today’s rating action is the risk of weakening of the bank’s standalone credit profile, as a result of the discovery of a number of fraudulent transactions. On February 14, 2018, PNB announced to the Indian stock exchanges that the bank had discovered some fraudulent and unauthorized transactions amounting to Rs 113.9 billion ($1.8 billion),” Moody’s said.

The credit rating agency said the fraudulent transactions represent a contingent liability and the financial impact would be determined by the relevant law in India.

“Nevertheless, Moody’s expects that PNB will need to provide for at least a substantial portion of the exposure. As a result, the bank’s profitability will likely come under pressure, although the actual impact will depend on the timing and quantum of provisions that need to be made, as well as any prospects for recovery,” the statement said.

“The fraudulent transactions represent about 230 basis points of the bank’s risk-weighted assets as of 31 December 2017. As such, PNB’s capital position would deteriorate markedly, and fall below minimum regulatory requirements, if the bank is required to provide for the entire exposure. Consequently, PNB may need to raise capital externally – mainly from the government – to comply with the minimum Basel III capital requirement of an 8 per cent common equity tier 1 (CET1) ratio by March 31, 2019,” Moody’s said.

Moody’s said the review for downgrade will focus on: the timing and quantum of the financial impact of the fraudulent transactions; any management actions taken to improve the capitalisation profile of the bank, and any punitive actions taken by the regulator on the bank.

“Moody’s assumes a very high probability of government support for PNB in times of need, resulting in a three-notch uplift to its deposit and issuer ratings from its BCA. In the review for downgrade, Moody’s will also assess government support for the bank’s deposits and senior unsecured debt.”

Given the review for downgrade, Moody’s said it is unlikely to upgrade PNB’s ratings over the next 12-18 months.

“Nevertheless, Moody’s could affirm the ratings, if the financial impact of the fraudulent transactions is much smaller than what Moody’s anticipates in this rating action, and/or if the bank manages to strengthen its capital position to a level above the minimum regulatory requirements — including the capital conservation buffer — under Basel III standards, and/or the bank returns to profitability on a sustainable basis,” the statement added.

IANS

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