Dogecoin: All Bite or Real Bark?
If you haven't got a clue about what Dogecoin is, it's time to give it your attention. Because this crypto coin, which started as a joke, is now proving to upend what consumers and businesses define as a "store of value."
How did this happen? How did a cryptocurrency with nothing but a “meme” of a dog to distinguish it from other “altcoins” (alternative coins) become a bona fide way to pay for goods and services?
The simple answer could be, it’s fun. And for those who eschew the traditional fiat currency system, value doesn’t appear to be defined by what’s stored in a vault. Value appears to be found in the coin’s social currency.
In the past week, Dogecoin (pronoiunced with a long “o” like in the word “grow”) has surged to an all0time high of .40 USD with a current market capitalization of more than $50 billion. While that may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to Bitcoin’s highs often topping $60,000 USD, it is significant.
“But Dogecoin's rise is noteworthy,” CNN reported. “The currency has soared more than 2,000% from the start of the year, and has a big fan in Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose tweets about it have on occasion driven up Dogecoin's value.
“Dogecoin has also enjoyed something of a cult status on Reddit, where a popular group — not unlike the WallStreetBets group behind GameStop's rally — decided earlier this year to propel its value "to the moon." Dogecoin soared over 600% in the wake of that push.”
A bit of background on Dogecoin (Doge) here. Created by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer and launched in 2013, Dogecoin defines itself as an "open-source peer-to-peer digital currency, favored by Shina Inus worldwide."
“Doge” is our fun, friendly mascot,” the coin’s website explains. “The Shiba Inu is a Japanese breed of dog that was popularized as an online meme and represents Dogecoin.”
It’s that cute mug of a dog that attracts celebrities and social media users who can’t resist riffing on the coin’s iconic image. #Dogcoin. #DogeWeek. #DogeToTheMoon. The possibilities for the coin memes appear to be endless. And the sheer activity on social continues to push Dogecoin’s price.
Guy Fieri, the self-proclaimed mayor of Flavortown’s April 13th tweet "Rollin' out to the moon" featured a shot of the iconic chef in a spacesuit, gathering tens of thousands of followers.
Elon Musk, another Dogecoin fan, who tweeted “Doge barking at the moon” on April 15 is being credited with contributing to the coin’s current price surge.
While the memes keep the coin top of mind among traders, there is a serious drive to make Doge an accepted form of payment among merchants. And once again, a celebrity crypto fan is setting the bar.
"The Mavericks have decided to accept Dogecoin as payment for Mavs tickets and merchandise for one very important, earth-shattering reason, because we can!" said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in a March press release.
"We have chosen to do so because sometimes in business you have to do things that are fun, engaging and hopefully generate a lot of PR," Cuban added. "So we will take Dogecoin, today, tomorrow and possibly forevermore."
Sales in Dogecoin have increased more than 550% Cuban reported. He also is on record tweeting “We have now sold more than 122k Doge in merchandise. We will never sell 1 single Doge ever.”
The public relations value of Doge is so significant to one conglomerate, it appears to have a formal Doge social media strategy. Slim Jim, a meat stick, is appealing to Doge enthusiasts with a series of memes and hashtags tying the product to the coin.
“The social media-savvy snack food saw its Twitter follower count increase 160% and tweet impressions soar to the moon (35 million impressions in 25 days) after it began engaging in Shiba Inu meme coin content last quarter, according to the CEO of parent company Conagra Brands,” Coin Desk reported.
The campaign even got a mention on the company’s April earnings call. “We’ve seen a marked uptick in audience interaction, including direct engagement and advocacy from the person [who] created dogecoin,” CEO Sean Connolly said.
In an open letter posted to Reddit, Doge co-creator Billy Markus summarized the idea behind the coin, writing “it was indeed created for sillies after Jackson Palmer made a flippant tweet about it that idea being the 'next big thing' and I threw it together, without any expectation or plan. It took about 3 hours to make…”
Markus went on to explain to the more than 1.3 million members of r/dogecoin on Reddit what he envisioned when launching the coin.
“Joy, kindness, learning, giving, empathy, fun, community, inspiration, creativity, generosity, silliness, absurdity. These types of things are what make Dogecoin worthwhile to me. If the community embodies these things, that's True Value.”
Store of Value? It appears that as crypto becomes more mainstream, the story of Dogecoin and others yet to break out in the digital currency world will prove to redefine what value truly is. In the meantime, “to the moon” is the mantra for Doge, the coin that started as a joke.
Joyce Pavia Hanson