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Bitcoin value plummets after hackers steal millions from exchange

A hacker stole 119,756 bitcoins from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, halting the firm's business operations.

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Samantha Rhodes is an editorial intern for CNET. She currently attends Georgetown University, studying English and digital art. Samantha loves all things tech, plus logic puzzles, Lord of the Rings and podcasts of every variety. She is based in New York City.
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One Bitcoin is worth $572 as of this post.

Oscar Gutierrez/CNET

It's not the best time to be a Bitcoin owner.

The value of the digital currency fell 20 percent after a hacker made off with 119,756 bitcoins (or roughly $68 million, worth more prior to the hack) from Bitfinex, a Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange. Zane Tackett, the company's director of community and product development, confirmed the breach.

The theft called into the question the stability of the currency. A single bitcoin dropped down from $650 to $480 just after the hack. It has since bounced back up to $550. Bitfinex confirmed the hack and promised in a press release to repay its customers at "current market prices as of 18:00 UTC."

"We are investigating the breach to determine what happened, but we know that some of our users have had their bitcoins stolen," the company said. "While we conduct this initial investigation and secure our environment, bitfinex.com will be taken down and the maintenance page will be left up."

This is the latest in a series Bitcoin blunders. The digital cryptocurrency exchange crashed in 2013 and the market lost half its value in just six hours. Notorious hacker Phineas Phisher allegedly stole $11,000 worth of Bitcoin to donate to Kurdish forces fighting ISIS.