Dogecoin users are in a minor panic after a popular coin storage service, Dogewallet, was apparently hacked. So far about 30 million coins seem to have been lost, together worth between $10,000 and $20,000.
Dogecoin, a new cryptocurrency based on Bitcoin and the popular "doge" meme, was initially created as a joke, according to its creators, "without much real thought." But it is functional, and thousands of people have invested small amounts of money in it. And while the minuscule value of each coin has fluctuated wildly in recent weeks, the 14 billion coins that have already been mined are, on paper, worth millions of dollars.
Rumors of a hack first surfaced on the Doges.org forum, where a user posted: "Looks like somebody hacked and cleared my Dogewallet some minutes ago with a single transaction, I lost more than 1M!" Gradually, more users chimed in, most reporting small amounts lost — hundreds of thousands of coins — and all pointing to the same anonymous address as the culprit.
Dogewallet's creators shut down the site and promptly posted an explanation. "We're currently looking at logs and have found thousands of attempts to hack our systems," the post says. "All invested user balances will be fully compensated." The site previously offered an simple way to store Dogecoin wallets online, as opposed to locally on a hard drive. Digital currency wallets are unique files that contain actual digital coins — as with a physical wallet, if your Dogecoin (or Bitcoin) wallet is lost, your money is gone with it.
This type of hack is not unprecedented in the world of cryptocurrency. In November, a Bitcoin storage service called Inputs.io was hacked, resulting in losses equivalent to millions of dollars.
With the largely satirical Dogecoin, stakes are considerably lower. Nonetheless, users are angry, suspicious of Dogewallet's explanation, and responding with uncharacteristic seriousness. "In order for you guys to regain your credibility you're going to need to post a detailed explanation of EXACTLY what happened including how they gained access to your filesystem," one Reddit users writes. "Why are you using a new account [to refund coins]? Why are your old accounts deleted? Why was your fb delete? This is mucho fishy," writes one of the co-founders of the currency, also on Reddit. While other Dogecoin enthusiasts are sharing Dogewallet conspiracy theories, a fundraiser to reimburse affected users has already passed a million coins.
"I lost everything please help," wrote another Dogecoin user, at 9:36 p.m. on Christmas Day. Just above that post, a user expressed his sorrow in the native dialect: "such sad :'( much lost."