Quick definition

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency that began as a joke and has become one of the most well-known coins in the world.

Key details

  • Dogecoin was launched in 2013 by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, who met on Reddit
  • Throughout much of its existence, Dogecoin’s only use was as a way to tip people tiny amounts of money on the internet
  • Much of the coin’s popularity in recent years has been driven by the tweets of Tesla CEO, Elon Musk

What is Dogecoin?

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency that was created as a light-hearted imitation of Bitcoin. It can be used to make payments or to transfer money online, but is most popular with traders who buy and sell it in order to speculate on changes in the price.

Like Bitcoin, Dogecoin uses a blockchain to track the movement of coins rather than requiring a central authority, like a bank, to process transactions. Control over the network is held by the people who own the coins, a concept that’s known as decentralisation.

The name and logo of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency come from an internet meme that was popular in 2013, when it was set up. That meme features a Japanese breed of dog, Shiba Inu, which has become the star of the Dogecoin logo, while the name is a deliberate misspelling of the word ‘dog’.

Who created Dogecoin?

Two software engineers by the name of Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. They essentially created it as a joke, and built a fully-functioning cryptocurrency with no purpose after meeting each other on the online message board, Reddit. 

For most of its existence, Dogecoin was worth virtually nothing. It was simply used as a means for tipping people, and paying someone fractions of a penny for a good tweet was part of the joke. Over time, however, it has evolved to become a more genuine cryptocurrency.

Neither Markus nor Palmer are involved in the project these days. They handed over the reins all the way back in 2014 and Palmer in particular has distanced himself from it. He’s become an outspoken critic of the industry and was particularly scathing of the boom that made Dogecoin a household name in 2021.

A brief history of Dogecoin

Dogecoin was founded in 2013 but was only known to a hardcore online community for most of that time. Below we cover the most important points of its rise from those humble beginnings into an internet phenomenon.

  • The cryptocurrency was launched in December 2013 and there were over a million visitors to the website in the first month.
  • The first Dogecoin bubble formed within just a few weeks. In the middle of December 2013 the coin’s price went up 300% in three days, before almost immediately crashing back down again.
  • In 2014, both co-founders left the project, passing control to “some very competent core devs” who have been in charge ever since, according to Markus.
  • In the same year, Dogecoin users donated more than $30,000 to help send the Jamaican bobsleigh team to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
  • Throughout the course of its existence there have been many deliberate attempts from different online communities to artificially push the price of the coin up. TikTok, Reddit, and Twitter users have all tried since 2020 alone.
  • A significant part of Dogecoin’s fame is down to Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO began tweeting about – and apparently putting his money into – the coin in 2020, with each post inexorably leading to a spike in the price.
  • In 2021, Dogecoin experienced its most steep and sustained rise so far. Led by Musk and an army of casual investors, its price went above $0.50 for the first time in May, a remarkable increase of 20,000% compared to the start of the year.
  • Later the same year SpaceX, the aerospace transportation company that’s owned by Musk, announced it would be launching a trip to the moon funded entirely by Dogecoin. 

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about cryptocurrency, our helpful courses will take you through everything you need to know.

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James Knight
Lead content editor
James is the lead content editor for Invezz, covering the stock market, cryptocurrency, and macroeconomic markets. Outside of work, James is an avid trader and golfer… read more.