There's no denying that Dogecoin is a meme. It's also proven to be quite valuable to those who decided to buy in, with Coindesk today reporting that returns on the coin have risen 6,000% this year — and over 450% just in the past week — despite the fact that it was specifically created as a joke.
Dogecoin was created in 2013 as "an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, favored by Shiba Inus worldwide," as its official website proclaims. It also offers a helpful conversion tool that explains 1 Dogecoin = 1 Dogecoin. Mind, blown.
But if there are three safe-for-work things people love on the internet, they're dogs, memes and cryptocurrencies. Redditors are particularly fond of Dogecoin, and they often gift the financially viable meme to people whose posts they've enjoyed.
All of which makes Dogecoin a low-priced cryptocurrency (more on that in a moment) that's also popular on one of the world's most-visited social platforms. No wonder CoinGecko puts it as the fifth most-traded coin on popular exchanges.
Let's be clear: Nobody's getting rich by owning a few Dogecoin. Coindesk's data puts the coin's price at $0.005405 on January 1; it peaked at $0.434727 this morning. That means $1 is worth the same as roughly 2.3 Dogecoins at its highest price to date.
Even pennies add up over time, however, and at time of writing CoinGecko puts Dogecoin's market cap at nearly $45 billion. Newsweek also reported today that Dogecoin made a man from Los Angeles a millionaire.
So is Dogecoin even close to Bitcoin in terms of market cap or value? No. Bitcoin's market cap is over $1 trillion, and it's currently priced at around $61,500 per coin, according to CoinMarketCap. No other cryptocurrency even comes close on either metric.
But there's another key difference: Dogecoin is a meme; Bitcoin is supposed to be the future of the global economy. (At least according to those who stand most to profit from it becoming as such.) The fact that anyone's even talking about Dogecoin eight years after its introduction is both a miracle and a bit of a meme unto itself.
Dogecoin's ascendance could also have a similar—but obviously much smaller—effect on the cryptocurrency market as Bitcoin's. Rapid increases to one coin's value often result in, or are at least accompanied by, price bumps for other coins as well.
That could hold especially true for other "Memecoins" that were created more as performance art than actual currency. Or maybe Dogecoin is the only one that will ever be worth anything. We're talking about the economics of an eight-year-old meme coin with a dog's face on it; does any of this seem predictable?