2013 Bitcoin and Altcoin Hacks [Part 5]

This article is part of our complete guide to Bitcoin and altcoin hacks. Here we cover Bitcoin and altcoin security incidents from the year 2013.


Such hack. Many coin. Very disappear.

Christmas of 2013 wasn’t a good time for Dogecoin investors.

The recently created half-joke-half-serious cryptocurrency had just suffered its first major heist.

Although it was a low value hack at just around U$ 13,000, it was relevant because most DOGE users were social media savvy and got the word out to thousands of readers.

A lot of social media users were first introduced to cryptocurrencies through the viral Dogecoin phenomenon.

DOGE users were also usually just having fun with the coins, tipping others, giving them away and such. So discovering that it could be the target of thieves was a shock for many Shibes (as DOGE enthusiasts call each other on social media).


GBL was a virtual cryptocurrency exchange based in China which operated at the domain.

In October of 2013 the exchange simply vanished and was never heard of again.

When the exchange ran off with users’ funds, a major investigation began which led to Hong Kong. Checking the alleged HK address it was discovered that it’d been a fake address and no such business ever existed there. Further investigation led sleuths to China where it really operated.

The Chinese operation was also illegal as the exchange had none of the required permits.

There were many signs that things weren’t going well at GBL, including problems during withdrawals, hard withdrawal limits imposed in ad-hoc fashion, among others.

As far as I know, no one was ever brought to justice for the GBL hack. Over 1000 customers were scammed in the process.

Silk Road

Silk Road was raided by the FBI in 2013 and 172,000 BTC were seized.

At today’s prices this represents a U$ 1.8 billion value which is quite impressive.

The real hack in this case was how the authorities were able to track down Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht.

Ulbricht set several footprints and made some really trivial opsec mistakes were made.

In one occasion, Ulbricht was attempting to recruit virtual assistants for his darknet marketplace and gave his personal Gmail address for contact.

Several such clues led the FBI to his name.

It is truly unfortunate that such a young and talented person must serve prison time for the rest of his life with no possibility of redemption.


The details of the Silk Road raid are beyond the scope of this article, but you can read more about it on Wikipedia.

List of Bitcoin Scams at Bitcointalk

November 2013: A Bitcoin Exchange Holding $4.1 Million For 1,000 Customers Has Simply Vanished

December 2013: Online black market members hunt down $100 million in bitcoins, blame site owners for theft

Man charged for running $4.5 million Bitcoin Ponzi scheme

Return to the main article: The complete guide to Bitcoin and altcoin hacks

About the Author
Published by Crypto Bill - Bill is a writer, geek, crypto-curious polyheurist, a dog's best friend and coffee addict. Information security expert, encryption software with interests in P2P networking, decentralized applications (dApps), smart contracts and crypto based payment solutions. Learn More About Us