On January 13th, more transactions were conducted in Dogecoin than all other virtual-currencies combined. That’s right, Dogecoin transactions actually outpaced Bitcoin itself. Message boards and forums have been boiling over with excitement over the currency, even though it originally started out as a joke.
So what is Dogecoin? The currency actually started as a sort of practical joke. Like Bitcoin, it is a digital currency. It gained popularity after the “Doge Meme”, a popular and funny meme featuring a now infamous Shiba Inu dog, went viral around the internet (words can’t describe the memes, so it’s probably best to just google it). The massive amount of publicity resulted in a huge amount of interest for Dogecoin, and transactions quickly topped $8 million dollars in total value.
Dogecoin is a derivative of Litecoin, meaning it borrows much of its code and key ideas from Litecoin, which in turn borrows from Bitcoin. Think of it as Bitcoin’s grandson. Dogecoin’s creators have emphasized that the currency is meant for transactions, not investments (as is currently the case with Bitcoin). Dogecoin’s creators, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, have emphasized the point that Dogecoin is not a “get rich scheme” for anyone, including potential investors.
Dogecoin currently isn’t very expensive. Dogecoins are currently selling for less than 1 penny apiece, compared to the $1,000 dollars or so a Bitcoin currently costs. And while the average Bitcoin transaction comes in at nearly $10,000 dollars, the average Dogecoin transaction is worth just north of $100 bucks. Given that Bitcoin’s total marketcap has now shot into the billions, while Dogecoin has yet to break $10 million, it won’t be challenging Bitcoin for supremacy any time soon.
Dogecoin has also become very popular, however, for “tipping” people on the internet. Basically, if someone makes a really funny or cool comment on Reddit, or does something else interesting online, you can “tip” them with Dogecoins. The amount of money itself might not add up to much, but other users will appreciate your appreciation.
Dogecoin is a perfect demonstration of the viral power of the internet. The creators of the currency have been quite straightforward in admitting that it started out as a joke. And yet, the currency has exploded in popularity over the last few weeks, so maybe they’ll have the last laugh!
How long will Dogecoin last? That’s a tough question to answer. Putting a bit of money into the currency might not be a bad idea. At the very least, you’ll have some Dogecoins to tip people with. It’s probably not a good idea, however, to invest your life’s saving in Dogecoin or any other virtual currency for that matter.