Puzzled by Dogecoin? The ABCs of a $90 Billion Joke: QuickTake

Dogecoin may not be the funniest joke of all time, but it’s probably the one with the largest market valuation. The digital token, previously famous as the first “memecoin,” approached $90 billion in early April as retail traders embraced high-risk (and meme-friendly) opportunities fueled by the pandemic era’s exceptional economic stimulus. A year before, it had been worth $315 million, a figure that many at the time thought laughably high. No joke!

1. What is Dogecoin?

“Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, favored by Shiba Inus worldwide,” according to Dogecoin.com, which also proclaims that 1 Dogecoin = 1 Dogecoin. So let’s just say, the folks working on it aren’t afraid to have a bit of fun. What is it really? A digital token created in 2013 by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer with a picture of a Shiba Inu, a breed of dog that had become popular in internet memes.

2. What was the joke?

It’s pretty much just a cryptocurrency created with the Doge meme, which was popular at the time it was put together in 2013, just as Bitcoin was attracting attention from the wider world. The meme used a 2010 photograph of a Shiba Inu, and was often posted with thoughts expressed in a type of broken English. “I’m half detached, but it’s weird that something I made in a few hours is now part of internet culture,” Markus told Bloomberg in a February interview.

3. Why did it go up so much?