What Is Dogecoin?
Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency created in 2013 as a fork from the Litecoin blockchain. The name derives from a popular meme, the Shiba Inu doge (pronounced doh-zhe). It was initially intended to be a gentle parody used for tipping content creators, but the DOGE token became a top 20 cryptocurrency valued at over a billion dollars in 2018.
Introduction To Dogecoin
If there’s anything the Internet loves more than cryptocurrencies and blockchain news, it’s memes. One of the most popular memes in Internet history is the doge, which peaked in 2013 but remains a staple (albeit in different forms now) as the popularity of the Shiba Inu dog breed steadily increases.
The meme also inspired Dogecoin, a currency initially intended as a parody, that’s being taken more and more seriously as the popularity of crypto increases.
When Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer created Dogecoin in 2013, it was meant as somewhat of a meme itself. Much like memes, Dogecoin gained popularity on social platforms like Reddit and Twitter, with tipbots like Doger and Sodogetip letting people tip each other in Dogecoin for providing entertaining or informative content.
This usage of Dogecoin allowed it to briefly surpass the trading volume of Bitcoin (and all other cryptos combined) back in early 2014, although DOGE can’t match the Bitcoin price. It also became a bit of a mascot for what crypto should be, getting involved in charity and so many good things. As Altcoin news goes, the Dogecoin DOGE was a big deal.
Before explaining memes and how the Dogecoin project became one of the top cryptos on the market and a breakout star in the blockchain news, let’s look at its coin performance in terms of the market cap.
Breakdown of DOGE
Dogecoin has an unlimited coin supply. As of July 11, 2018, there was a circulating supply of 115,239,765,321 DOGE. By April 19, 2019, the supply reached 119,115,609,784 DOGE. Its peak price was $0.017741 on January 7, 2018, at which time it had a market cap of nearly $2 billion.
Dogecoin and Litecoin merged mining in late 2014, creating a hard fork. Another hard fork called Dogethereum was announced on Bitcointalk forums in February 2018 with a late 2018 release date. Although details are murky, Dogethereum represents one of the first real-world tests of TrueBit on the Ethereum network.
Exchanges that support Dogecoin include Yobit, fex, HitBTC, Poloniex, and Bittrex, and over $20 million worth of DOGE is traded on a daily basis. Like most altcoins, it’s typically paired with BTC, although trading pairs also include USDT, ETH, and fiat currencies on some exchanges.
How a Meme Became a Coin
The idea of a meme was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in 1976 to describe how cultural information spreads. It was applied to the Internet in the June 1993 issue of Wired. What separates Internet memes is their traceability, due to the nature of online content.
Memes generally consist of a picture or gif with text at the top and/or bottom that applies the situation depicted to other scenarios.
As they gain popularity, they are often morphed to fit even more situations, such as this Michael Jackson meme from his Thriller video that was commonly used to denote an entertaining comment section and was updated to reflect the Tide Pod Challenge craze. There’s probably a joke about Bitcoin Cash, but we’re better than that.
Memes typically feature pop culture characters like MJ and Kermit the Frog, but cute/crazy animals are also popular.
The term doge originated in an episode of Homestar Runner’s puppet show. The doge meme, however, is based on a 2010 photograph of a female Shiba Inu puppy named Kabosu. Over time, other Shiba Inu dogs were used, and the term doge became synonymous with the entire breed.
The standard dogecoin DOGE meme involved lolspeak written in comic sans for comments like “Wow. Such meme. Very crypto.”
As the most popular meme of 2013, it wasn’t long before Jackson Palmer and Markus met over the idea. Markus had created a cryptocurrency and was seeking a way to make it more fun and accessible to the non-crypto community. Palmer had the domain dogecoin.com and was looking to make the project a reality. The two merged their assets, and the Dogecoin was born.
Users of Internet forums like Reddit, Twitch, and Twitter immediately adopted it and started using the coin to tip content creators. Within the first month of its release, the Dogecoin price experienced huge gains (nearly 300 percent) and losses. Its wallet was hacked, and the community rallied to donate to those who experienced losses.
This volatility caused the coin to briefly surpass the trading volume of all other cryptocurrencies combined. Suddenly, the Dogecoin DOGE was a hotter property than Ethereum Classic and the Dogecoin price rocketed, but still the Bitcoin price was safe from the meme brigade.
The Rise and Fall of the Dogecoin Community
The general premise behind Dogecoin was always community, not just the money: and the community has come out in force on several notable occasions. In January 2014, the Dogecoin community raised $50,000 to send the Jamaican bobsled team to the Sochi Winter Olympics. Then in March of that year, they partnered with I Can Has Cheezburger? co-founder Eric Nakagawa and Charity: Water to raise $30,000 to build a well in Kenya.
Also in March 2014, the community raised $55,000 in Dogecoin (67.8 million at the time) to sponsor NASCAR driver Josh Wise. They also raised $25,000 for 4 Paws for Ability, a UK-based charity that trains service dogs for disabled children. These efforts helped forge the Dogecoin Foundation, a Colorado-based non-profit aimed at helping charitable causes through Dogecoin.
Of course, with any community comes bad apples. Dogecoin’s most infamous bad actor was Ryan Kennedy, founder of defunct currency exchange Moolah. The project infamously fleeced over $300,000 from the community.
Both Palmer and Markus eventually walked away from the Dogecoin project, and Palmer became a very vocal critic of cryptocurrencies. The co-founders were stunned at how a jokecoin could attract so many speculative investors and believe crypto has a toxic “bro” atmosphere. Palmer even started a Twitter bot called Blockshade, which mocks both blockchains and Fifty Shades of Gray.
Development was handed over to community members and has stalled quite a bit since 2015. Even the Dogethereum fork seems to be dead in the water. The new developers admit its little more than a hobby.
With so many new ICOs launched on a seemingly daily basis, the industry is continuously evolving, but Dogecoin has remained static. What fuels its market cap isn’t so much the coin’s value as it is the sheer amount of coins. Only Kin, Dentacoin, and Bytecoin currently have more coins in existence than Dogecoin, and the number will only continue to grow, as there’s no limit.
Meanwhile, popularity of both the doge meme and Dogecoin continues to wane. Usage is still high, but it’s also competing with other blockchain-based memes like the Rare Pepe, cryptocollectibles similar to cryptokitties. Most news surrounding Dogecoin centers around its unlikely existence or oddities of the crypto world.
And there are unrelated competitive projects popping up all the time, like DogeCash. This is the internet, after all.
The Dogecoin community does its best to keep the spirit alive though, even holding parody conferences and continuing to tip content creators in DOGE. Like any other meme, Dogecoin’s continued success seems to rely solely on how much longer the community finds it funny.
Dogecoin was created as a parody, and it’s still largely seen and used as such within the crypto community. While its value followed the trend of the rest of the crypto industry, its development remains stagnant, and it’s unlikely to find widespread adoption. Still, it’s one of the most valuable altcoins on the market and worth keeping an eye on, as you may one day be gifted some.
- Dogecoin uses the same Scrypt-based algorithm as Litecoin, which it is based on.
- There’s no limit to the amount of Dogecoin that can be released into the wild. The sheer number of coins on the market keeps it high on the list of most valuable cryptocurrencies.
- Dogecoin’s founders left the project, and its development is continued by the community on a volunteer basis.
With these pieces in place, Dogecoin is one of the most easily accessible cryptocurrencies on the market. It may be a jokecoin, but humor transcends geographic borders and time. In fact, the earliest identified joke was a fart joke from the Sumerian civilization around 1900 BC, a whimsical treat still enjoyed today.
Dogecoin may not be around 4,000 years from now, but farts probably will. That should, truly, be your takeaway from this entire article. Mention it at dinner tonight, ideally with the in-laws.