Elon Musk's new, favorite pastime on Twitter (and on Saturday Night Live) is also one of Reddit’s hottest topics – what started off as a joke has grown enormously in value in less than ten years. By now you must have guessed it… today’s second deep dive in our series covering cryptocurrencies is none other than dogecoin (*queue the bells and whistles*)!
Based on a mere meme, the digital currency has continued to capture public attention in the past months, surging over 600% this year and hitting a record high value of $0.72. At least before a huge crash last month after it was called “a hustle” by you-know-who on a live show (probably just another casual day for uncle Musk moving markets with jokes).
Anyway, according to CoinMarketCap, dogecoin (DOGE) still ranks as one of the top 10 digital coins by market value, a triumph most definitely driven by the flurry of tweets and the Reddit-mania that surrounds it (GameStop deja vu, anyone?).
Let's have a deeper look at how a Japanese dog made it to the crypto world, gained popularity, and inspired a whole movement.
The birth of the meme-currency
The year was 2013, and Jackson Palmer, a product manager at the Sydney office of Adobe Inc (ADBE), just wanted to fool a bunch of crypto-heads. And so, he shot a couple of tongue-in-cheek tweets, and after getting positive feedback, he created dogecoin with the help of his sidekick software engineer Billy Markus.
The coin, which featured the face of the Shiba Inu dog from the "Doge" meme as its logo and namesake, was born to create a payment system free from traditional banking fees, addressed to a broader (and with a greater sense of humor) demographic compared to other digital currencies.
While it was created seemingly as a joke, dogecoin's blockchain still has merit. It's based on a technology derived from Litecoin (the early bitcoin spin-off), uses a scrypt algorithm, trades at a low price, and has an unlimited supply. All these attributes quickly turned it into a faster, more adaptable, and friendlier version of bitcoin.
Dogecoin’s crazy boom
Only about a week after its official launch in December 2013, dogecoin had become the second-most-tipped currency (for those who don't know, "tipping" is internet slang for repaying people on the web). Within the first 30 days of launching, the website Dogecoin.com logged over a million visitors, officially kicking off the Doge-mania.
In January 2014, dogecoin's trading volume briefly surpassed that of bitcoin and all the other crypto-currencies combined (correct, Shiba's not afraid of the big guys). By the end of 2017, the currency was already part of the cryptocurrency bubble, which first sent its value significantly up, but then burst – leaving dogecoin reduced in value (but backed by a core of loyal supporters).
Dogecoin developed its own culture of sorts, as it intentionally set a lower barrier for entry than bitcoin – a real ambassador of more inclusive-cryptos, we'd say! This contributed to "bully" big hedge funds and institutions like Wall Street, an attitude that (not surprisingly) became quickly acclaimed among Reddit users.
Also, apparently, we can expect it to win new galaxies – as Musk reported, he plans to put a "literal Dogecoin on the literal moon" early next year with his SpaceX DOGE-1 mission to the moon, which is now accepting DOGE as a form of payment.
A crypto for charitable endeavors
Fond of a sturdy community and often used as a currency to pay back good deeds, Dogecoin also started taking on charitable endeavors. Its founders created the Dogecoin Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at spreading the use of the currency through goodwill.
Among the most remarkable actions worth mentioning is that time when hundreds of users of the virtual currency donated 27m DOGE (worth approximately $30,000) to fund the Jamaican bobsled team's trip to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, and that other time when they raised $55,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver Josh Wise (and covered his car in Shiba Inu stickers to show extra support LOL).
Also, in 2014, on the occasion of World Water Day, the foundation raised and donated $11,000 worth of DOGE to build a well in Kenya as part of its larger commitment to funding water supply facilities in cooperation with the NGO Charity:Water.