Was the DOGE Coin Really Meant as a Joke?


Modest Beginnings

The year was 2013, and things in the world were radically different. Bitcoin, then and still the largest cryptocurrency in existence was trending into triple digits per coin, up from around $15 to start the year. Ethereum didn’t even exist yet, nor did Tether. Litecoin, an early altcoin spinoff, was just getting started by former Google employee Charlie Lee. The crypto world was, in many ways, still in its infancy. It wasn’t until December of that year that two monumentally important landmarks were hit: Bitcoin crested above $1,000 per coin and Dogecoin, the “joke” crypto, was minted.

Fast forward to early 2021, when Doge USDT hit a nearly unfathomable market capitalization of over $9 billion. It was a joke, at least, until it wasn’t anymore.

The Minting of Dogecoin USDT

When IBM’s Billy Markus and Adobe’s Jackson Palmer set out to make some waves in the wide world of crypto, they never foresaw what their creation would become.

Initially, the two had a simple goal: creating a peer-to-peer digital currency – much like Bitcoin – that could reach a broader and more accessible audience. The now-famous and instantly-recognizable face of a smiling Shiba Inu that adorns the front of every virtual coin was, to put it simply, a joke.

“I’m half detached, but it’s weird that something I made in a few hours is now part of internet culture,” said Markus in an interview with Bloomberg in 2021. When Palmer purchased the domain Dogecoin.com and put up a Comic-sans filled splash page, Markus took notice and reached out about making the coin a reality.

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Basing the coin off of the existing infrastructure of Litecoin and Luckycoin, Markus created the coin and bucked the traditional mining methods (using SHA-256 machines) in favor of something more complex. Less than a month after launching the coin in early December 2013, Dogecoin.com had hit over a million visitors.

Everything about the coin – the smiling adorable Shiba Inu, the online-culture reference of “doges”, even the coin itself – was never expected to become the market mainstay they reached today.

Markus, the engineer behind the creation of the coin, is no longer involved with the project (nor is Palmer) and holds only a few coins. However, he did stick around long enough to see his work pay off, and has been monitoring the explosive growth since.

A Rise to Recognition

When it opened, a wallet full of DOGE USDT wouldn’t have bought you a can of soda at the corner store. Typically, the price sat around $0.00026 – a bit over two-hundredths of a cent, ebbing and flowing until a late December surge saw the price leap to $0.00095 – an increase of about 300%.

Still trading well under a cent, Dogecoin was then suddenly seeing over a billion coins moved per day on its trading platforms.

As cryptocurrency continued to be thrust into the mainstream as years went on, Dogecoin continued to pick up steam right alongside its brother and sister coins. Though the trading frequency was incredibly high, at times outpacing other major coins including Bitcoin, the infinitesimally small price kept the market cap of Dogecoin UDST fairly low in comparison.

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Despite hitting a then unheard of $0.017 in 2018, a year that saw a number of cryptocurrencies explode in value, Dogecoin was still considered by many to be a joke. Often referred to as a “meme coin” due to its existence centering around a smiling “doge,” many markets and financial experts eschewed the coin and avoided investing, believing it to simply be a meme or a joke that would crash back down to earth and leave many wallets hurting.

The Joke is Over

In April of 2021, everything changed for Dogecoin. Now having existed for over seven years and seen billions upon billions of coins change hands, the “joke” coin seemed to be a mainstay on crypto exchanges. Dogecoin USDT, prompted by a surge of short sales in the market and some incredible direct training numbers, rose to $0.10 by mid-April before quadrupling to around $0.40 just days later. By May, the coin had reached $0.50. That’s fifty cents for a coin, often referred to as a joke, that traded around $0.00025 for quite some time.

Dogecoin’s peak price, $0.688796, was reached not long thereafter, before a large market shift and some untimely Tweets by Tesla CEO Elon Musk impacted its price. It currently sells for around $0.13, an incredible leap from its beginnings.

What’s Next

Though Dogecoin USDT may be too many the quintessential “meme coin,” notoriously created “as a joke” by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, its rise has been anything but. It’s difficult to say where Dogecoin – or any cryptocurrency – is headed in the future and what that may hold for Doge and its owners. But, for Markus and Palmer – and for the millions of people with Dogecoin stashes – it’s clear that the adorable Shiba Inu coin is no longer just a joke.

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