On Christmas day, hackers wiped out a number of online wallets used to store Dogecoin, the new and popular digital currency, stealing millions of Dogecoins from tens of thousands of users. But the uniquely generous and upbeat Dogecoin community has launched a variety of efforts to help reimburse victims of the wallet heists.
“As stupid as it is, ‘doge’ has an ideology, and that ideology is relentless, over-the-top optimism and friendliness.”
The most prominent site hit by the digital bank robbery was Dogewallet, which has since shut down. On Reddit, the Dogewallet team explained that it would attempt to refund those who lost their Dogecoin. Users who invested Dogecoin through Dogewallet – meaning their Dogecoin would be used for day trading by the Dogewallet team – will all be reimbursed, while as many “non-invested” users as possible will also be compensated for their lost Dogecoin, according to the Dogewallet team. It is not clear who is providing the refunded Dogecoins to affected users.
Dogewallet hackers reportedly made off with an estimated 21 million Dogecoins worth approximately $12,000, at current exchange rates. (Full disclosure: Your author was one of the Dogewallet victims, having lost 10,000 Dogecoins worth about $7.) Another online Dogecoin wallet, Instadoge, was also apparently hacked, but has since been restored.
A hacker group known as #team-ooga was apparently behind both the Dogewallet and Instadoge attacks, according to the Dogewallet team.
This is far from the first time a digital currency community has suffered at the hands of hackers – it’s a problem Bitcoin has dealt with for years. But, most of the time, this is where the story ends: Users get robbed, everyone moves on. Not with Dogecoin.
A group of Dogecoin users, led by digital rights activist and cryptocurrency enthusiast Ben Doernberg and co-founders Diego Perini and Brian Worley, has donated more than 1.1 million Dogecoin to help set things right for robbed Dogewallet users. Dubbed “Save Dogemas,” the group plans to hold a meeting Friday afternoon to set up a website, and figure out the logistics of re-upping wallets to pre-hacked levels.
“When people make a claim that ‘I lost X amount,’ we’re working on a way to verify that,” says Doernberg. “So we need a front-end system to take those submissions, and then a back-end system to automate the reimbursements.”
Doernberg, who personally donated 500,000 Dogecoins to his cause, says the Save Dogemas team has been in contact with the people behind Dogewallet, and expects to work together to help reimburse all affected users.
So far, around 20 Dogecoin users have offered to donate funds in to the Save Dogemas reimbursement pool, bringing the total number of donated Dogecoins to 1,109,000. A Dogecoin mining pool has also chipped in to cover the 1 percent fee. Considering Save Dogemas “hasn’t even launched yet,” says Doernberg, we should expect even more of a response from the Dogecoin community in the following days.
Since its inception early this month, Dogecoin – which is based on the ‘doge’ meme and started as a joke – has differentiated itself from the plethora of other digital currencies thanks to its generous, fun-loving community.
On Reddit, which has become a central hub in the world of Dogecoin, users regularly “tip” fellow users with Dogecoin for making insightful, helpful, or funny comments through a Dogecoin tipbot. Some users say the kindness of Dogecoin users is what made them interested in cryptocurrencies in the first place.
“I joined Reddit specifically to be a part of this community,” wrote one user about /r/Dogecoin. “I love it here and I thank you all for the awesome vibes you bring!”
In other words, what makes Dogecoin different than all other cryptocurrencies is the vibe – a vibe that is endlessly welcoming to newcomers, a vibe that many believe will help boost Dogecoin’s value in the long run.
Hackers reportedly made off with an estimated 21 million Dogecoins worth approximately $12,000.
Doernberg says he has long been involved in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but has never witnessed the lightheartedness and charity exhibited by the Dogecoin community. “I’ve been absolutely blow away by the positivity,” he says. “It’s just an amazing community, unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” This positivity, he says, it what defines the Dogecoin “ideology.”
“As stupid as it is, ‘doge’ has an ideology, and that ideology is relentless, over-the-top optimism and friendliness,” says Doernberg. “And that’s a pretty awesome ideology” – one that runs counter to the cynicism you find on so many other online communities, including much of Reddit.
“That’s not really the culture of Reddit. That’s not really the culture of most of the Internet,” Doernberg adds. “But for some reason, it seems to be working.”
We will update this space with more information about Save Dogemas once it become available.
[Image via Reddit user j79]