Dogecoin: The Meme That Turned Into A Cryptocurrency With A $300 Million Market Cap, An Important Portal To The Crypto Space
Dogecoin (DOGE), a cryptocurrency which now has a market cap of over $300 million, and at one point a market cap in excess of $2 billion, traces its origins back to a Japanese kindergarten teacher who posted pictures of her Shiba Inu in February 2010. There was one particular picture where the Shiba Inu was glaring sideways with raised eyebrows, and for some reason this picture has a similar allure as the Mona Lisa. The picture leaves it open for interpretation as to what the Shiba Inu is thinking, and people began plastering words all over the picture to indicate the dog’s thoughts. This meme was then nicknamed the doge.
By 2013 the doge had become a full fledged viral internet sensation, and this simultaneously coincided with the rise of alternative cryptocurrencies. In 2009 the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was released. Around 2013, and perhaps a little before then, people began to fork Bitcoin’s code and create all sorts of alternative cryptocurrencies.
Billy Markus, a programmer from Oregon, decided to create a cryptocurrency that would be more fun and reach a wider audience than Bitcoin. Markus teamed up with Jackson Palmer, a marketer for Adobe Systems, and they made this new fun cryptocurrency a reality. They chose the doge meme as the basis for their cryptocurrency, since it was quite popular at the time, and also adopted the algorithm from Luckycoin, where the block rewards are random like a lottery, unlike the fixed Bitcoin block rewards. Luckycoin derived its code from Litecoin, which is the #1 Scrypt cryptocurrency, and Litecoin itself is a derivation of Bitcoin.
Also importantly, Dogecoin’s Scrypt algorithm made it so miners had a low barrier to entry. Bitcoin mining had already become so competitive that only people with specialized and expensive equipment could realistically mine Bitcoin, whereas Dogecoin could be successfully mined with a GPU or even a CPU on a regular computer. This means anyone interested could easily start mining Dogecoin without spending money on mining rigs.
Further, despite being based on a meme, Dogecoin is decentralized, which puts it ahead of most of the alternative cryptocurrencies. Dogecoin has no premine and no initial coin offering (ICO), meaning all Dogecoins in circulation were distributed via mining, and the market is less prone to centralized dumping. Dogecoin uses the proof of work (PoW) algorithm which ensures the network is decentralized as well, rather than more centralized options like proof of stake (PoS).
Dogecoin launched at the exact right time to ride the dual waves of the doge meme’s popularity and the popularity of new alternative cryptocurrencies, and less than two months after launch Dogecoin had become a major cryptocurrency with a market cap in excess of $60 million.
After that, Dogecoin continued to be quite popular for a couple of reasons. As originally intended, Dogecoin ended up being a fun cryptocurrency, and a community developed around Dogecoin, especially on the Dogecoin subreddit. People began to tip each other Dogecoin constantly, especially since there were on the order of 100 billion Dogecoins, as compared to a maximum supply of only 21 million Bitcoins. This means that someone could easily tip hundreds or thousands of Dogecoins since it is not very expensive, while it is simultaneously exciting.
The general Dogecoin culture of tipping and generosity attracted many new users who had never been involved with cryptocurrency before. Newbies would first start accumulating Dogecoin tips, and then within the community they would learn how to accumulate even more Dogecoin by mining, and this represented a launching point where such users could go on to dive into the rest of the crypto space.
That is the reason why Dogecoin is still a major cryptocurrency to this day and will likely be a major cryptocurrency for the foreseeable future. The Dogecoin community is welcoming, generous, fun, and insightful. Essentially, Dogecoin is an important portal for the crypto space.