- The cryptocurrency mining startup NiceHash has replaced its CEO just weeks after a hacker stole $US63 million worth of bitcoin from the company.
- Marko Kobal, the company’s ousted CEO, will sell his stake in NiceHash to an outside investor.
- Investor funds will also be used to reimburse NiceHash users for any bitcoin that they lost during the hack.
Just weeks after NiceHash lost $US63 million worth of bitcoin in a high-profile hack, the Slovenian cryptocurrency mining startup has replaced its CEO.
Marko Kobal, who cofounded NiceHash, stepped down last week from his role as its CEO after the company scrambled to respond to the hack. Kobal confirmed the resignation in a post on LinkedIn, saying he thought it was time for “new management to lead the organisation through its next, exciting period of growth.”
“I have been incredibly privileged to share in the excitement of growing NiceHash since its earliest days,” Kobal said in the post. “I have every confidence in the ability of our extraordinary team to develop the service, and I expect to see the company prosper in the coming years.”
Kobal and NiceHash did not respond to requests for comment.
NiceHash replaced Kobal with Zdravko Poljašević, who didn’t previously have a position at the company, according to Delo, a Slovenian newspaper.
The Slovenian startup offers an online marketplace that allows users to offer up their extra computer processing power for the high-energy calculations typically used to create – or mine – new bitcoin or other cybercurrencies. Users can also buy computer processing power from other NiceHash customers.
The company used a single digital wallet to store both all of its own bitcoin and that held by its users. All the contents of the wallet – around 4,700 bitcoins – was stolen December 6 and hasn’t been recovered.
Kobal co-founded the company in 2014 with Matjaž Škorjanc, a well-known hacker who was charged in 2013 for his role in developing a harmful computer virus called Mariposa in 2008. Škorjanc will remain NiceHash’s chief technology officer.
As part of his resignation, Kobal agreed to sell his 45% stake in the company, according to Delo. Part of that stake will be acquired by an outside minority investor, while the rest will be purchased by NiceHash’s majority owner, H-Bit, which is owned by Škorjanc’s father, Martin Škorjanc.
Despite users’ fears that such a large hack would send NiceHash to the blockchain graveyard, Kobal said in his post he believes that the company can move forward.
The first step for NiceHash will be making good with its miners.The company announced last week it will use investor money to reimburse customers for any bitcoins they had stored on NiceHash at the time of the hack. Exactly when users will be reimbursed won’t be announced until January 31, the company said in its post.