Originally published in the final issue of Las Vegas Citylife on January 30, 2014
On Monday, January 20th, just two days after the start of the campaign, 27 million Dogecoins (approximately $30,000 after conversion) were donated to the cash-strapped Jamaican bobsled team, putting them over their target fundraising goal and allowing the two-man team to travel to and compete in the Olympics competition for the first time since 2002. Spurred on by the successful Dogecoin Foundation initiative, fans of the virtual currency have broadened the efforts in order to bring multiple Indian skiers (who will be skiing under the general Olympic banner) to the Games as well.
Like many wonderful things, Dogecoin began as a joke. During the height of Bitcoinâ€™s meteoric rise last fall, Adobe marketer Jackson Palmer tweeted an off the cuff comment about investing in Dogecoin, a play on the popular Shiba Inu internal dialog meme (oh, just google â€œdogeâ€ and youâ€™ll figure it out quick enough). Friends immediately glommed onto the idea, Palmer threw together dogecoin.com as a response, and after a bit of back and forth with coder Billy Markus, the two set about actually making Dogecoin a reality.
Using the codebase of Litecoin as a starting point, Markus and Palmer deviated from the cryptocurrency norm by greatly increasing the rate of mining (Dogecoin will be completely mined within a year and a half, versus Bitcoinâ€™s exhaustion in 2014) as well as the total number of eventual coins in circulation (100 billion Dogecoin versus 21 million Bitcoin). While unplanned, the availability and ease of mining helped counter the hoarding behavior often exhibited by cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and Dogecoin quickly found use as an appreciation and tipping currency on Reddit and other sites, with crowds of Shibes (as supporters of Dogecoin call themselves) handing out thousands of Dogecoin in response to informative articles, humorous comments, and other community-building activities.
On Christmas Day, online Dogecoin wallets Instadoge and Dogewallet were hacked, resulting in the theft of over 30,000,000 Dogecoin from the sitesâ€™ users. Almost immediately, members of the community began to step up with pledges to help reimburse victims of the theft, and within days the SaveDogemas campaign was born. In the month since Christmas, millions of Dogecoin have been donated, showcasing a level of camaraderie and generosity nearly unheard of in the dog eat dog (sigh, sorry) world of cryptocurrency.
Even as speculators have jumped into the market, buying and selling millions of dollars worth of Dogecoin on multiple exchanges, even as the value has grown a hundredfold, the freewheeling and generous nature of Shibes has persisted. Dogecoin now accounts for more transaction volume than all other cryptocurrencies combined, with ever-increasing charity donations, trades for real and virtual goods, and a tipping culture that has expanded beyond Reddit to Twitter, Facebook, and even SMS.
At its current pace, the coin is well on its way to becoming a legitimate and viable social currency â€“ Shiba Inu, Comic Sans, and all. To the moon!
Hey, The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel! Last week you made the â€œweâ€™re accepting Bitcoin!â€ announcement, and got a ton of awareness and traffic out of it. Kudos, and great move by the way. Did you know that the symbol for Dogecoin is Æ‰?
Sounds like a no-brainer to me.