In January 2021, when the subreddit r/WallStreetBets made headlines for ‘manipulating’ prices of GameStop stocks, an “alt-coin” also rose to fame – and throughout 2021 kept being the alternative to Bitcoin and Ether cryptocurrencies, buoyed by meme enthusiasts and the world’s richest man, Elon Musk. This was Dogecoin, and in 2021, it went from an obsolete meme cryptocurrency made for jokes, to something that rallied support of thousands of people worldwide, and became the first cryptocurrency to start the hundreds of cryptocurrency spinoffs in 2021.
First rise to fame
The price of Dogecoin surged steeply after Reddit traders targeted it in an attempt to repeat the unprecedented share rises in heavily shorted companies like GameStop and AMC. Reddit users on the forum CryptoCurrency and SatoshiStreetBets discussions referenced the ‘WallStreetBets’
efforts to squeeze out Wall Street shops from heavily shorted stocks and urged people to buy into Dogecoin. Dogecoin soared up by more than 60 percent in less than 24 hours and experienced a 1,421 percent increase in trading volume according to crypto data firm CoinMarketCap on January 28, 2021.
In early January, each token was worth less than one cent. In late January, when both the GameStop and DogeCoin movements hit their stride, the value of DogeCoin shot up to 7.5 cents, well over a 10-magnification, before sliding down to 2.5 cents. The coin has spent the past few months in the three- to the seven-cent range.
What is Dogecoin?
Dogecoin started as a joke, and for almost seven years it continued being a joke. Until 2021, when meme and cryptocurrency lovers, coupled with the GameStop surge, decided to rally behind the meme-cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency jumped several times in value, first reaching ten cents, then thirty, and finally on April 20, it was supposed to reach 69 cents – the highest ever. There were coordinated groups in what can only be called a valiant effort to manipulate the price of the cryptocurrency. But it failed. As of April 21 8:00 AM IST, the price of the cryptocurrency saw a dip of -17.25% in the 24-hour change. The value currently stands at approximately $0.31, and even the market cap has been reduced from $50 billion to $40 billion.
Dogecoin, much like Bitcoin, is a digital coin used for e-transactions. Doge is a reference to
the ‘doge’ meme and has a picture of the shiba inu on it. It is a cryptocurrency, a form of digital money that, much like bitcoin, enables peer-to-peer transactions across a decentralized network. Since its creation, Doge has also been used to donate money to charities. These have included the 2014 Jamaican Bobsled team who couldn’t afford to get to the Sochi Winter Olympics, a Nascar driver named Josh Wise, and a clean water project in Kenya called Doge4Water. At the peak of the meme’s popularity in 2013, Palmer, an Australian marketer, made a joke combining two of the internet’s most talked-about topics: cryptocurrency and Doge. He bought the Dogecoin.com domain and uploaded a photoshopped Shibe on a coin.
“If you want to make Dogecoin a reality, get in touch,” said the website. On the other side of the world, Billy Markus, a software engineer at IBM, got in touch and set Dogecoin live. Dogecoin soared up by more than 60 per cent over the last 24 hours and experienced a 1,421 per cent increase in trading volume according to crypto data firm CoinMarketCap. The peak price of Dogecoin in 2018 was around two cents, right before it crashed along with the rest of cryptocurrency. Reports suggest that by early 2019, Dogecoin had lost nearly 90 per cent of its value and was trading for a fraction of a penny, until now.
Elon Musk’s influence
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, SpaceX boss and Dogecoin advocate while at a public signing mentioned, that this cryptocurrency may be the future. In the interview, he says that “There is a good chance that crypto is the future currency of the world. Then the question is which won is it going to be? It could be multiple,” he said. He then explains the origins of how Dogecoin was invented as a joke, essentially to make fun of cryptocurrency, and that’s the irony, explains Musk. “That the currency that began as a joke, becomes the real currency.” In the video, he does add that, “Don’t invest your life savings into cryptocurrency. That’s unwise.”
He didn’t just make a comment: He consistently tweeted about the cryptocurrency, got a Shiba Inu puppy as a pet, (named Floki) and also promised to ‘Put Dogecoin on the moon.’
To the moon?
Currently, the price of Dogecoin is less than a dollar, but the cryptocurrency is still #12 on the top list. CoinMarketCap data also shows that, ‘concentration by large holders’ is at 60%
While Dogecoin saw a huge rise in the beginning of the year, movements which failed, and a dip – the coin is here to stay – for a while. From communities to ‘help groups’ to sub-reddits and spin-off of the cryptocurrency (BabyDoge, Flokicoin, $StopElon… so many!) the cryptocurrency may not be going to the moon, but it has certainly made it’s mark in both the cryptocurrency work, and in culture.