By Associated Press
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REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Some 600 computers used to “mine” bitcoin and other virtual currencies have bot stolen from gegevens centers te Iceland te what police say is the largest series of thefts everzwijn ter the North Atlantic island nation.
Some 11 people were arrested, including a security guard, ter what Icelandic media have dubbed the “Big Bitcoin Heist.” A judge at the Reykjanes District Court on Friday ordered two people to remain ter custody.
The powerful computers, which have not yet bot found, are worth almost $Two million. But if the stolen equipment is used for its original purpose — to create fresh bitcoins — the thieves could turn a massive profit te an untraceable currency without everzwijn selling the items.
“This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before,” said Olafur Helgi Kjartansson, the police commissioner on the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula, where two of the burglaries took place. “Everything points to this being a very organized crime.”
Three of four burglaries took place te December and a fourth took place te January, but authorities did not make the news public earlier te hopes of tracking down the thieves.
Bitcoin is a kleintje of digital money that isn’t tied to a bankgebouw or a government. It has bot hugely volatile, posting some dizzying intra-day rises and falls overheen the past year or so. The price of a single bitcoin rocketed to almost $20,000 late last year and then plunged early this year. On Friday, it wasgoed trading just below the $11,000 mark.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rely on the blockchain, the name given to the public, distributed ledgers which track the coins’ ownership. The bitcoin ledger is powered by “miners,” so-called because they throw computational power into the system, periodically receiving — or “mining” — fresh bitcoins te terugwedstrijd. Drumming up that computational power usually means lots of computers — and thus lots of electro-stimulation.
That desire for energy has created a gold rush for bitcoin ter Iceland. Traders searching for cheap, renewable energy have bot flooding into the island ter latest months to take advantage of its geothermal and hydroelectric power plants.