What is Dogecoin?

A bad investment!

But also, more seriously, Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency that was developed as a joke at the end of 2013. The digital coin attracted an online community, largely drawn to its sheer ridiculousness.

Dogecoin is based on an old Internet meme that became popular in 2013: Doge, an image of a quizzical Shiba Inu overlaid with fragments of English in multicolored comic sans typeface. The bits of speech—”wow,” “so doge,” “such meme”—narrate a silly, imagined interior monologue of the dog, which gushes with wonder.

Jackson Palmer, an Australian software developer and Adobe product manager, co-opted the meme in creating his cryptocurrency spoof. Palmer left the project in 2015, and has since warned about how speculators have abused Dogecoin to scam people out of money.

Dogecoin lives on today, periodically resurfacing as the target of pump-and-dump schemes. The coin can also serve as something of a barometer of enthusiasm for alternate cryptocurrencies, or “alt coins,” meaning digital currencies excluding Bitcoin.

The Dogecoin parody keeps landing its punchlines. Recently, day trading enthusiasts flocked to the viral video app TikTok to encourage people to buy the cryptocurrency. By hyping the coin, they hoped to increase its market value, and thereby reap a profit by selling it off a higher price before an inevitable crash—at the expense of latecomers.

Dogecoin’s price doubled to (a measly) $0.0047 in the few days leading up to July 9, according to data from price-tracker OnChainFx. Previously, the most recent notable Dogecoin price run-up took place in early 2018, reaching $0.013, alongside a feverish cryptocurrency bubble, after which the price quickly collapsed.

In addition to the patent absurdity of Dogecoin’s origins and its playful marketing, people are lured by the cryptocurrency’s comparatively low price. (For comparison, the price of Bitcoin was, at press time, 2 million times greater than that of Dogecoin.)

Dogecoin is, unlike Bitcoin, designed to be inflationary. Whereas fewer Bitcoins enter the market over time—via an ever-diminishing, time-bound lottery system—Dogecoin spits out 10,000 new coins every minute, forever cheapening the existing supply.

Amid the recent runup, Dogecoin had a market capitalization of $575 million at press time. The cryptocurrency was a top 30 cryptocurrency at press time, according to cryptocurrency tracker CoinMarketCap.

After winning a joke April Fool’s Day poll, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk temporarily identified himself as Dogecoin’s CEO on Twitter last year.

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