Dogecoin is well known in the cryptocurrency circles. What most people do not know is that it emerged from a doge meme which took the internet by storm in 2013.
The coin uses an image of the Shiba Inu dog which also helps it stand out from the over 1500 crypto coins in existence today. On December 2013, Dogecoin was largely viewed as a not-so-serious virtual currency.
Unknown to many, the coin, although from just a doge meme, came to build a reputation and a strong community behind it.
The growth of DOGE even puzzled a senior finance lecturer at the University of Technology in Sydney who admitted that:
“It is a puzzle to me why Dogecoin is so highly valued. Dogecoin is an easily replicable coin. I don’t know how it distinguishes itself from Bitcoin. I really think it has to do with being established early. And also the dog.”
Let us take a step back
So how did it combine two trending topics – doge meme and cryptocurrency?
In 2013, doge and cryptocurrency were the most talked about things on the internet. Palmer, an Australian national, just tweeted, “Investing in Dogecoin, pretty sure it is the next big thing.”
Although by then Palmer was just joking, people got so excited about the idea and it got an unpredicted attention.
When the heat exceeded what Palmer could handle, he decided it’s time to make a ‘joke’ something real.
Since Palmer was a marketer of a well-established global technology company, he took the first step.
Doge meme: How the meme was given life
Palmer purchased a domain. Yes, you are right. Dogecoin.com. with no clear intentions of what he wants to do with the domain. The first post on the website was the picture of a doge engrave on a coin. This was photoshopped.
“If you want to make Dogecoin a reality, get in touch,” read a notice somewhere on the website. A software engineer at IBM, Billy Markus saw the note and reached out to Palmer.
Although hesitant to accept help in building the new coin, Palmer later accepted Billy’s help and they got it rolling.
For Billy, it took approximately 3 hours to build the coin. Another big joke. This was because they studied Bitcoin’s source code and just replaced ‘Bitcoin’ with ‘Dogecoin’. However, even though Billy was not that acquitted with the source code he managed to alter a few things in Bitcoin’s source code to make it ‘unique.’
For example, he managed to introduce a miner-friendly coin and introduced 100 billion DOGE coins. Bitcoin only allows 21 million and it is very hard to mine.
Additionally, since the coin was based on a dog, it had to have characteristics of a dog. One of those characteristics were to be displayed in the code.
For example, instead of using the word ‘mine’, the team developing Dogecoin used ‘dig’. Reason? Dogs do not mine, they dig. It was launched.
With DOGE coming from a doge meme, something that was supposed to be funny but not real, the team decided to overlook some major steps before going live.
For example, the premining stage, which is supposed to be done before launching any coin looking to be worth its salt, Dogecoin forgot. No. Deliberately jumped this phase because “it was this big joke that would die off,” said Palmer.
From a doge meme to a free cryptocurrency
Dogecoin got overwhelming attention from Redditors. At first, due to the excitement. Redditors, through dogebot, tipped each other with free dogecoins. The practice helped the coin get a respected community plus its value was now established.
At first, both Palmer and Markus used Dogecoin for social good. At one point they helped a Jamaican team attend Winter Olympics after qualify and lacking enough funds to attend.
With the two still thinking the crypto was just a joke, the shift in investments occurred. Instead of small amounts, people started investing large amounts e.g $20K. People started moving away from the view of a coin of social good, to ‘what’s in for me.’
The doge meme turns a cryptocurrency becomes a disaster
At some point, the community behind Dogecoin was so excited by a new entrant into the community who used to send free items their way. Little did they know that Moolah, a crypto exchange for buying and selling DOGE, was out to defraud and drive dogecoin down to its knees.
The exchange’s founder Ryan Kennedy who introduced himself to the Dogecoin community as ‘Alex Green’ asked the Dogecoin community to donate to charitable causes. They donated over $300K.
The worst happened. The cryptocurrency exchange went down the bankruptcy lane. The community lost.
By this time, the original creators of Dogecoin, Billy and Palmer, had distanced themselves from the project after Moolah introduced some new ideas the founders did not believe in.
After the exit of Moolah, Billy, and Palmer, the doge meme that became a cryptocurrency was left at a crossroads.