It was 2013 when blockchain and cryptocurrency had become hot topic in internet circles on platforms such as Reddit and Twitter. The market value of Bitcoin, the most-valued cryptocurrency at the time, had shot up to $1000 from $1 within a couple of weeks forcing people to take cryptocurrencies seriously. In Sydney, Australia, a marketing manager at Adobe, Jackson Palmer was into this latest cryptocurrency mania. He was addicted to checking Bitcoin prices but he felt that the groups of Bitcoin enthusiasts were elitist little groups that did not like outsiders. At the same time, triggered by the success of Bitcoin, there were many alternate cryptocurrencies coming into the market. Sitting over a beer, Palmer got an idea of making a parody cryptocurrency mocking Bitcoin. At that time, a meme of a dog looking at a camera was all over the internet. The meme that was going viral was based on a 2010 photo of a Shiba Inu dog, who was looking at the camera when the picture was taken. The meme-creator had written the guessed inner monologue in Comic Sans font over the picture that made the picture funny.
Palmer also found the Doge meme really funny. He decided to create a cryptocurrency with the Doge meme at its logo. He bought the domain DogeCoin.com and left a message on the website asking if anyone wanted to see the proposed parody cryptocurrency become a reality. The idea resonated with an IBM software engineer Billy Markus who wrote to Palmer and offered his help. Excited Markus had started to work on the new cryptocurrency before getting Palmer’s response.
When they both collaborated, the word Doge replaced Bit in Bitcoin to become Dogecoin, the first meme cryptocurrency. The logo was a coin with the Doge meme and the fonts on the website were Comic Sans, the same font the monologues in the Doge meme were written in. Soon, the cryptocurrency developed its dedicated community on Reddit and earlier this year, Dogecoin went viral on Twitter when the richest man on earth Elon Musk tweeted about it.
In a series of tweets, Musk termed himself as the father of Dogecoin encouraging people to invest in it. However, he also warned that people should not invest their life’s savings in the wildly surging cryptocurrency. Dogecoin went from a market valuation of $3 billion to $45 billion in a six-month period.
Two years later, In April 2015, Markus went on an extended leave from the cryptocurrency community and he sold all his Dogecoin holdings, which were enough for him to buy a used Honda Civic. Palmer also left the cryptocurrency space. The cryptocurrency, which was abandoned by its creators, is now being maintained by volunteers. Palmer is working as the director of product management, growth and data science at Adobe Systems while Markus is working for an education company in San Francisco’s Bay Area.
Unlike Bitcoin and other many cryptocurrencies, there is no limit to how many Dogecoins can exist, which makes it harder for it to become expensive and make its owners rich. For one of its creators Palmer, “Dogecoin is kind of my barometer for how much bitcoin mania or crypto-mania has taken hold and how much kind of dumb money is flowing into this space,” Palmer told in an interview to Bloomberg.