Dogecoin: the rise and fall of a coin that started as a joke

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency created by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. It was launched by the software mavens to mock trending bitcoin currency at the time. The meme coin was first introduced in the market in 2013 based on an internet meme of the Shiba dog. Since then, it had had no use cases except for some fundraising opportunities by reddit fans.

The market cap of Dogecoin dropped from ±$92 billion to ±$46 billion in the first two weeks of May 2021. However, the coin gained popularity after celebrity influencers Elon Musk and Snoop Dog created a hype about the coin, giving it exposure. In recent weeks, dogecoin has shot to wider attention and surged to an all-time high, making it the 6th top cryptocurrency. This encouraged the creation of other dog inspired joke coins, including UnderDog, DogeFi and Shiba Inu coin. Despite the recent popularity, Dogecoin still does not have impactful use cases, making it an unreliable investment for the long term.

Is it the ultimate symbol of late capitalism? A digital currency that initially started as a joke is now worth more than Tesco, Ford Motor company and BP. Despite COVID-19 triggering the worst global recession since the Great Depression, Dogecoin has been a huge hit with amateur investors. Analysts said the rising price of the digital currency came amid interest of Elon Musk’s public support on Twitter for Dogecoin and him appearing on the popular US TV show, Saturday Night Live, 3 months ago.

According to Edward Moya, senior market analyst at the financial trading platform Oanda cryptocurrency traders did not want to miss out on any buzz stemming from Elon Musk hosting Saturday Night Live. The dogecoin may be best understood as the perpetuation of an online joke and as of June 2021, it is trading at about half of its peak value.

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