One of the big stories on Christmas day was the huge theft of over $US6000 worth of Dogecoin.
As soon as that news broke, we saw a bunch of people on Twitter asking: “What the hell is Dogecoin?”
Basically, it’s a digital currency like Bitcoin that also incorporates bizarre “doge” meme, which involves a picture of a dog and some random words on it.
Rob Wile wrote about how the currency was invented. Basically it was a joke, but in less than a month, the total value of all the Dogecoins in the world are over $US8 million, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
There are lots of digital currencies that are based on Bitcoin or competing with it in some way. Some seem more serious than others. All have little tweaks that distinguish it. Often the changes have to do with the mining process.
Dogecoin seems like a funny amusement, more than a serious thing, and in a sense that’s true.
And yet in a way it’s a really big deal. Here’s something that was started by two guys (one in Portland, and one in Australia) and now Dogecoins are already a huge currency online for “tipping”, basically giving away free coins to someone if you like something they do (like for example if they leave a great comment on Reddit).
The Dogecoin community on Reddit is already huge, bigger than all other digital currency communities, except the Bitcoin one.
What this means is that a community that has a taste for the absurd (people who are into weird internet memes) can have their own currency with real economic value in a short time. It seems like a symbol of things to come.
It’s easy to imagine any number of communities or affinity groups having their own currency. A band for example could create a currency for fans to purchase merchandise.
Who knows if Dogecoin itself will go anywhere. In two weeks, the “doge” meme could be completely forgotten, and then the currency itself will seem like a funny joke from the good old days of 2013.
But the ease with which something can establish moneyness and serve a purpose within a community is impressive, and a sign of things to come.
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