What is Dogecoin? The influencer-backed meme cryptocurrency dominating social media

Doge meme with the DogecoinRyzhi/Atsuko Sato

It’s been an unprecedented start to the year — GameStop shares skyrocketed through a coordinated push from meme-loving Redditors, which led to trading apps restricting trading on the company to protect Wall Street. With this crackdown came the rise of another meme: Dogecoin.

The phenomenon behind these movements is that social media users, many of whom are not serious traders at all, all got behind a common cause to fight against traditional institutions. The majority are in it for the collective meme rather than the potential financial upside, something we’ve never seen before on this scale.

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As with all things on social media, things moved fast with the GameStop meme that looked to push its stock price “to the moon.” From the value rising from $4.13 to $492.02 in just a year, to brokers deciding to interject to protect hedge funds, a lot has happened. Dexerto has covered the entire $GME stock saga to keep you in the know.

With the capabilities of meme traders in flux, albeit for an unknown amount of time, a lot of social media users are being ushered towards the next meme by influencers. Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that was started as a joke, is now on the rise. But what exactly is it and why is it on the up?

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What is Dogecoin?

Doge MemePhoto: Atsuko Sato
The legendary Doge meme is the inspiration behind the up-and-coming cryptocurrency.

With no cap on the supply of the cryptocurrency, Dogecoin is an interesting case. Conceived as a joke between software engineers Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus as a means of parodying the rise of “altcoins,” the currency is being legitimized through the sudden uptake.

Dogecoin, despite being a meme, actually has a function: it can be used to tip people on social media as a means of rewarding them for creating interesting content. It’s based on other cryptocurrencies, namely Litecoin and Luckycoin, but the ethos behind it now is being a more accessible, less controversial digital currency.

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It features the famous meme that rose to prominence in 2013, which was based on a photo of a Shiba Inu dog taken by its unsuspecting, innocent owner. Internet users highjacked the image, which frames the dog in an expressive pose, adding two-word phrases in the Comic Sans font for comedic effect.

Why is Dogecoin going up?

A lot of the social media users that got behind the GameStop meme are now transferring their attention to the next in-joke, and it’s at least partly down to influential figures pointing them in that direction. People have seen what can be done if they collectively get behind an initiative, and they want to have fun while doing it. It’s peak internet.

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Influencers from all corners of the internet are banding together in an attempt to raise the price of Dogecoin, but perhaps the most celebrated endorsement thus far is from the founder of Tesla and SpaceX himself, Elon Musk.

Reddit and Twitter users have set an arbitrary goal for the cryptocurrency to hit a value of $1 per coin. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, it has risen astronomically in the past 24 hours — however, this only values it at just under $0.07.

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The likes of long-time gamer and entertainment FaZe Banks and YouTuber Corinna Kopf have also gotten behind the meme-inspired currency and, if social media users have proven anything in the past few days, it’s that they can’t be underestimated. Dogecoin to the moon? Probably so, but only until the next thing comes along.

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