Biggest Crypto Fails of 2023: Market Crashes, Hacks & Tech Failures

Key takeaways:

Being well-informed can make all the difference in avoiding market losses and security breaches. In 2023, ApeCoin was among the top cryptos to suffer heavy losses due to the fading NFT hype. Mixin was one of the biggest crypto hacks of the year, where hackers stole $200 million after hacking a cloud based service provider. Meanwhile, technical failure were common even among prominent protocols like Ethereum and Arbitrum.

As expected, 2023 was an eventful year for cryptocurrencies — full of market crashes, hacks, and failures.

To help you learn from past events, we have listed the biggest crypto fails that the blockchain world experienced this year.

In a market that takes no prisoners, being well-informed can make all the difference in avoiding market losses and security breaches.

Major Crypto Crashes of 2023: Apecoin, Huobi and More

1. ApeCoin (APE)

2023 was not a good year for non-fungible tokens (NFT), and nothing summed up the situation better than the crash of Bored Ape Yacht Club’s ApeCoin (APE) to an all-time low of about $1. As of 12 December 2023, APE was down over 50% year-to-date (YTD).

Back in March 2022, ApeCoin made a blistering debut as the token soared to a record high of $39.4 within the first two months. But the story has gone from riches-to-rags completely in 2023.

APE endured a miserable year as the token posted eight straight months of losses between February and September. The fall in interest and hype around Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs was the main reason for the price drop.

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Developers Yuga Labs and ApeCoin investors are counting on the success of the BAYC ecosystem’s gamified metaverse called Otherside to spur APE coin prices higher. ApeCoin will be used as the native currency in Otherside.

2. Huobi Token (HT)

Huobi Global is a cryptocurrency exchange headed by Tron (TRX) founder Justin Sun. The exchange has a native token called Huobi token (HT), mainly used for customer rewards and discounts. As of 12 December 2023, HT had lost nearly 50% year-to-date due to hacks, regulatory troubles, and insolvency rumors about the crypto exchange.

Back in March 2023, HT token flash-crashed over 90%, only to recover within minutes due to higher-than-average HT token sales triggered by leveraged liquidations. Later in May 2023, Huobi was ordered to cease operations and disable its website and applications by regulatory authorities in Malaysia.

Huobi’s year became even more turbulent as the exchange was accused of being an insolvency risk by popular crypto analyst Adam Cochran on X (formerly Twitter), which triggered HT token sales.

Troubles for Huobi continued as the crypto exchange was hacked for nearly $8 million in September 2023.

3. HEX

HEX is an Ethereum-based crypto designed to replicate the functions of a certificate of deposit or fixed deposits. HEX incentivizes holders to deposit and lock their tokens for more extended periods of time.

The crypto project is marred with controversy. Many crypto community members have condemned HEX for marketing returns as high as 38%, while some have accused HEX of being a Ponzi scheme designed by founder Richard Heart.

In July 2023, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Heart with misappropriating at least $12 million. As of 12 December 2023, HEX has crashed nearly 75% YTD.

4. Dash (DASH)

Dash is a Bitcoin fork created in 2014. Its native cryptocurrency, DASH, currently sits at the 123rd rank in the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization as of 12 December 2023. The decade-old crypto could have placed higher if not for the six straight months of losses posted between March and August 2023.

In April 2023, DASH was identified by the U.S. SEC as a security and not a crypto. The SEC statement triggered the popular crypto exchange eToro to delist DASH from its platform.

Technical issues further soured investor sentiment after the Dash blockchain stalled and stopped producing blocks momentarily following a network upgrade in May 2023.

DASH token has recovered over 10% of its price in the last six months, as of 12 December 2023. Despite the rally, DASH is down 22% in YTD terms.

5. Secret Network (SCRT)

Privacy-focused Secret Network is a popular Cosmos-based layer one blockchain with a native cryptocurrency called SCRT. 2023 was a turbulent year for SCRT investors as the token exhibited wild price swings throughout the year.

Much of the high price volatility in SCRT can be traced to technical problems and internal conflicts. In late January 2023, Secret Network co-founder Guy Zyskind alleged that Secret Foundation’s founder Tor Bair sold foundation funds and pocketed some of the proceeds as a dividend payment.

The internal turmoil resulted in several prominent network validators halting services and exiting the network. A major validator named Smart Stake also cited “complex/stressful validator operations” and high operational costs on Secret Network as their reason for shutting down their validator nodes.

SCRT token fell to an over 3-year low of $0.2399 in October 2023. The token has bounced back strongly to gain 78% in the last 60 days, as of 12 December 2023, to trim its YTD losses to about 30%.

Notable Tech Failures and Glitches in 2023

Let’s briefly go through the significant technical failures and glitches that the crypto world witnessed in 2023.

  1. Ethereum – In May 2023, the Ethereum blockchain suffered two brief periods of technical issues where the blockchain was unable to finalize blocks. According to experts, the effects of the technical snag were not widely felt by the end users, and node operators were quick to release patches.
  2. Arbitrum – On 7 June 2023, Ethereum layer-two network Arbitrum stopped processing transactions for nearly an hour due to a bug faced by network sequencers. Later, on 17 August 2023, Arbitrum faced problems processing transactions after its batch poster stopped functioning for an hour.
  3. Ripple – On 11 August 2023, XRP tokens surged from about $0.63 to $50 for a few minutes on the Gemini crypto exchange due to a technical glitch. The reason remains unclear, with many blaming low liquidity and others speculating a fat finger error.

Hacks and Security Breaches of 2023

Unfortunately, hacks and security breaches are common within the crypto industry. Let’s delve into the most expensive crypto hacks of 2023.

  1. Mixin Network – In late September 2023, blockchain scaling solution Mixin was hacked for nearly $200 million, making it one of the biggest crypto hacks of 2023. Mixin said that the hackers attacked their cloud service provider’s database, resulting in the loss of funds.
  2. Euler Finance – In March 2023, decentralized finance protocol Euler Finance lost $197 million in crypto funds in a hack. According to blockchain research firm Chainylsis, Euler Finance fell victim to a flash loan attack. Luckily, the hacker returned “all of the recoverable funds,” Euler said on 4 April 2023.
  3. Multichain – On 7 July 2023, customer assets worth about $130 million were sent from cross-chain protocol Multichain’s account to an unknown wallet. The Multichain team later disclosed that the CEO Zhaojun was under the custody of the Chinese police since late May 2023. According to the team, the authorities confiscated all of Zhaojun’s computers, phones, hardware wallets, and mnemonic phrases. Multichain stopped its services on 7 July 2023 and gave no resumption estimates.
  4. Poloniex – Crypto exchange Poloniex saw around $114-$126 million drained from its hot wallets on 10 November 2023. According to Poloniex, their team has identified and frozen a portion of the assets associated with the hacker’s addresses.
  5. KyberSwap – In late November 2023, a hacker allegedly stole about $ 47 million from multi-chain decentralized exchange aggregator KyberSwap after exploiting a smart contract vulnerability. 

The Bottom Line

The cryptocurrency industry can be an unforgiving experience for those who take things for granted.

As a crypto market participant, it is essential to be aware of notable crypto crashes, hacks, and technical failures that have occurred in the past. This knowledge could be the fine line that saves you from FOMOing into an over-hyped crypto or using an unfamiliar protocol.

Always remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard your assets and investments, and always do your own research before investing.

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Mensholong Lepcha

Mensholong is an experienced crypto and blockchain journalist, now a full-time writer at Techopedia. He has previously contributed news coverage and in-depth market analysis to Capital.com, StockTwits, XBO, and other publications. He started his writing career at Reuters in 2017, covering global equity markets. In his free time, Mensholong loves watching football, finding new music, and buying BTC and ETH for his crypto portfolio.