bitcoin gold hack
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ether, litecoin and bitcoin gold have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. Bitcoin gold in particular has suffered several security breaches just weeks after it first launched. Dan Kitwood/Getty

Cryptocurrencies are skyrocketing this week. But even though CoinMarketCap estimates bitcoin gold reached a global market cap above $5.6 billion, the relatively new cryptocurrency is still struggling to gain a foothold. Few exchanges support it so far. The token’s website issued a security warning on Sunday because hackers put malicious software on bitcoin gold’s Github page to steal both cryptocurrency and users’ information.

This hack happened just days after another attack, a costly phishing scam that targeted users through bitcoin gold’s official website. CoinDesk reported a bitcoin gold wallet scam stole $3.3 million worth of cryptocurrency from bitcoin gold’s users, including stashes of bitcoin, litecoin, ether.

"I reached this site by following the link at [the] official website so I trusted it,” hacking victim Mikel Martin told CoinDesk. “Yesterday afternoon I noticed both my BTC and BTG stored in that wallet were gone." The security breach attracted waves of criticism, so bitcoin gold’s team responded by promising to review all community pools and active exchanges. It's not clear if that includes increased security on the token's official sites and platforms.

Some cryptocurrency experts see this as a sign of immaturity, at least in terms of the new token’s infrastructure. The full roster of contributors still hasn’t been made public since the token launched in October, forking from the original bitcoin network with the goal of reducing corporate dominance in cryptocurrency mining. “They haven’t been very transparent and there are questions about their coding capabilities,” Austin Kimm, co-founder of the cryptocurrency banking startup Crypterium, told International Business Times. “Overall, what they’re trying to do is a great idea. They just could have done it a little bit better.”

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Kimm said the team may have launched bitcoin gold too soon. Plus, he believes the project would have benefitted from more transparency. Listing experienced, active advisors can often give the broader community more confidence in a project as it works out the technical kinks. Yet despite repetitive hacks, bitcoin gold hasn’t suffered any sudden drops in price or support. “Although they’ve had a terrible week, people are still pumping a lot of money into it,” Kimm said. “I personally wouldn’t want too many more forks.”

Many bitcoin users share the same sentiment. They are weary of network forks and the chaos they bring to the space. “As for Bitcoin Gold, it's a shitcoin through and through. Another simple minded project ripping off the bitcoin name,” cryptocurrency enthusiast and Crypto Roundtable chat founder Pamela Paige told IBT. “If I want to GPU mine something, I will mine VTC [ Vertcoin ].” Regardless of criticism, bitcoin gold is a young token. It is too soon to say what the future may hold for this fledgling community devoted to equitable mining.