By William Cao. Edited by Arjun Chandrasekar
Taking a Step Back into History
If you have been on the internet throughout the last decade, then you have probably heard of the Doge meme – the iconic Shibe filled with comic sans and broken modifiers as it expresses its many phrases like “much wow” or “so scare”. At the peak of the meme’s popularity near the end of 2013, Bitcoin has also made headlines as the price of a single coin hit its all-time high.
Jackson Palmer, a product manager at Adobe, hopped onto the “Cryptocurrency Craze” and jokingly tweeted out his ideals on combining the Doge meme with a cryptocurrency. To his surprise, the satirical tweet would gain some popularity online and after some positive feedback, he bought Dogecoin.com. It was picked up on Reddit later, where it caught the attention of a software developer at IBM, Bill Markus. With the help of Bill Markus, the software was developed and DogeCoin (DOGE) became a fully functional working currency. The coin was launched in December of 2013 and 2 weeks later, its value jumped 300% with some uses including Reddit users tipping each other in Dogecoin. Today, it has a market cap of over $35 billion dollars and is trading at a price of around 3 cents..all from something that started less than 8 years ago, as a joke.
So, circling back, what is the hype around this coin all about??
To understand the growth of this coin, one must first gain a basic understanding of cryptocurrency. Take Bitcoin for example. In simple terms, Bitcoin is a decentralized, unregulated digital currency. It is highly volatile — value can be spread out over a larger range of values and the price can change dramatically over a short time period in either direction — and built on blockchain. There are many alternative coins or “alt-coins” out in the market and those coins alter some fundamentals and claim that they are better than the big players like Bitcoin. Examples of alt-coins can include Ethereum, Dogecoin, Binance, and more.
Contributing Factors to Success
At this point in time, Dogecoin has primarily been powered by rocket emojis, Shiba-Inus, and viral tweets of various influencers. For instance, when Elon Musk tweets about Dogecoin, the price of Dogecoin rises substantially before decreasing sooner or later. Also, Dogecoin’s lackluster need to tend itself surprisingly made itself successful. Dogecoin is like one of those jokes that outgrow itself to become a real thing (it caught on as an altcoin and also as a meme) and in the world of cryptocurrency that takes itself super seriously, Dogecoin makes it more accessible, less imitating, and more likely to succeed because of how obvious they are not trying. And with the Internet these days, it either rides with things to the moon or until it dies and crumbles to nothing.
A Comedic Correlation
While I was researching on this topic, I saw similarities in the presidency of Will Rogers and Dogecoin. Will Rogers thought campaigning for president was nonsense and all just a joke. To prove his point, Rogers ran countless mock campaigns and took things with a grain of salt. He even promised to resign immediately when elected president. He slowly gained public recognition and eventually got elected for president, which he resigned promptly after.
Dogecoin started off as a gag and has somehow reached the level where there is something to be said about its popularity. There is no real intrinsic value investment-wise, but if you have the money to risk, by all means, go ahead. HOWEVER, investments like this are entirely dependent on attention. As we have seen from time and time again, attention will shift week by week, month by month, and even year by year. Maybe Dogecoin will continue to grow? Will Dogecoin reach a dollar? Who knows. Only time will tell.