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What Is Dogecoin?

Dogecoin (DOGE) is a peer-to-peer, open-source cryptocurrency. It is considered an altcoin and an almost sarcastic meme coin. Launched in Dec. 2013, Dogecoin has the image of a Shiba Inu dog as its logo.

While it was created seemingly as a joke, Dogecoin’s blockchain still has merit. Its underlying technology is derived from Litecoin. Notable features of Dogecoin, which uses a scrypt algorithm, are its low price and unlimited supply.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Dogecoin is an open-source cryptocurrency started in 2013 by Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus.
  • Dogecoin initially started as a joke based on a popular meme featuring a Shiba Inu (a Japanese breed of dog).
  • It is based on Litecoin and has the same technology behind its proof-of-work.
  • Dogecoin has a loyal community of supporters who trade it and use it as a tipping currency for social media content.

Understanding Dogecoin

Dogecoin started as something of a joke, but after it was created, it gained a following. By late 2017, it was participating in the cryptocurrency bubble that sent the values of many coins up significantly.1 After the bubble burst in 2018, Dogecoin lost much of its value, but it still has a core of supporters who trade it and use it to tip content on Twitter and Reddit.2

Users can buy and sell Dogecoin on digital currency exchanges. They can opt to store their Dogecoin on an exchange or in a Dogecoin wallet.

The History of Dogecoin

In the Beginning

Jackson Palmer, a product manager at the Sydney, Australia office of Adobe Inc., created Dogecoin in 2013 as a way to satirize the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies. Palmer has been described as a “skeptic-analytic” observer of the emerging technology, and his initial tweets about his new cryptocurrency venture were done tongue-in-cheek. But after getting positive feedback on social media, he bought the domain dogecoin.com.1

Meanwhile in Portland, Oregon, Billy Markus, a software developer at IBM who wanted to create a digital currency but had trouble promoting his efforts, discovered the Dogecoin buzz. Markus reached out to Palmer to get permission to build the software behind an actual Dogecoin.3

Markus based Dogecoin’s code on Luckycoin, which is itself derived from Litecoin, and initially used a randomized reward for block mining, although that was changed to a static reward in March 2014. Dogecoin uses Litecoin’s scrypt technology and is a proof-of-work coin.4

Palmer and Markus launched the coin on Dec. 6, 2013. Two weeks later on Dec. 19, the value of Dogecoin jumped 300%, perhaps due to China forbidding its banks from investing in cryptocurrency.5 2

The Rise of Dogecoin

Dogecoin marketed itself as a “fun” version of Bitcoin with a Shibu Inu (Japanese dog) as its logo. Dogecoin’s casual presentation suited the mood of the burgeoning crypto community. Its scrypt technology and unlimited supply was an argument for a faster, more adaptable, and consumer-friendly version of Bitcoin.

Dogecoin is an “inflationary coin,” while cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are deflationary because there’s a ceiling on the number of coins that will be created. Every four years the amount of Bitcoin released into circulation via mining rewards is halved and its inflation rate is halved along with it until all coins are released.

In Jan. 2014, the Dogecoin community donated 27 million Dogecoins worth approximately $30,000 to fund the Jamaican bobsled team’s trip to the Sochi Winter Olympic games.6 In March of that year, the Dogecoin community donated $11,000 worth of Dogecoin to build a well in Kenya and $55,000 of Dogecoin to sponsor NASCAR driver Josh Wise.7 8

By its first birthday, Dogecoin had a market capitalization of $20 million and a loyal fanbase.2

Controversy Takes Some Fun From Dogecoin

The freewheeling fun of Dogecoin lost some of its mirth in 2015 as the crypto community, in general, started to grow more serious. The first sign that not all was well with the Dogecoin community was the departure of Jackson Palmer who has said that a “toxic community” had grown up around the coin and the money it was producing.1

One member of that toxic community was Alex Green, a.k.a. Ryan Kennedy, a British citizen who created a Dogecoin exchange called Moolah. Alex Green (his pseudonym) was known in the community as a lavish tipper who reportedly mistakenly gave $15,000 instead of $1,500 to the NASCAR fundraiser.9

Green’s exchange convinced members of the community to donate large sums to help fund the creation of his exchange, but it later surfaced that he had used the donations to buy more than $1.5 million of Bitcoin that in turn bought him a lavish lifestyle. Separately, Kennedy was convicted in 2016 of multiple counts of rape and sentenced to 11 years in prison.10

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