We all know about cryptocurrency at this point. Bitcoin started the trend in 2009 and has increased in value from just 30 cents a decade ago to more than $40,000 at the time of this writing. This incredible growth has prompted other companies to follow suit, and now there are a whole host of altcoins to invest in.
Take a look at any crypto stock site. You’ll see plenty to fritter your money on. At the time of writing, Tether is $1. Ethereum is a shade over $1500. And Dogecoin is just $0.04. Somehow, we’ve reached the point where memes have a real-world value.
History of Dogecoin
To explain Dogecoin, you need to delve into the internet’s history. You need to go all the way back to 2013. You’ve probably seen the doge meme – the one with the Shiba Inu surrounded by badly spelled, lolcat-style dialog. Very wow. Much doge. Anyway, late in 2013, Dogecoin was created by a pair of software engineers, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer.
Initially created as a joke, the aim was to design a more recognizable peer-to-peer currency than Bitcoin. And what better way to make something instantly identifiable than taking inspiration from a flash-in-the-pan meme?
In the time since its inception, it’s taken hold as a tipping mechanism for content creators. r/tipworthy is a subreddit based around the very concept of tipping in cryptocurrency. There have even been petitions begging OnlyFans to allow Dogecoin tipping.
It was developed using the protocols of two other currencies, Luckycoin and Litecoin, due to the fact they used scrypt technology. Because of this, miners can’t use SHA-256 bitcoin mining equipment to get hold of it. They need to use FGPA and ASIC devices instead, which are way more complex to produce.
Weirdly (or not so weirdly given its origins), Dogecoin seems to be at the centre of trends in the last couple of years. In June 2020, a TikTok trend was trying to help raise its price to $1. Obviously, that’s nowhere near Bitcoin’s $40k, but it would raise the total value to $127 billion. Which is kind of a big deal.
Reddit users drove the value up by more than 800% when the Gamestop short squeeze drama was going on. It’s also had a bit of promotion from everybody’s favorite rich genius, Elon Musk, along with Snoop Dogg, and Gene Simmons.
Because you can’t have a good story without a little bit of scandal, it’s worth mentioning the Moolah scam. The short version is that Moolah was a cryptocurrency set up to make it easier for people to buy and sell Dogecoin.
It initially immersed itself in the community with charitable acts including a $2500 donation to a cancer charity and (an admittedly accidental) $15,000 donation to a Dogecoin Nascar racer. Eventually, the guy running Moolah, Alex Green, began to solicit for investment.
Want to know how much he received? More than $500,000.
Want to know what happened to Moolah? A few months after the third and final round of investment, it filed for bankruptcy.
Every penny the Dogecoin community put into Moolah was lost.
It also seems that Alex Green was a fake name. The perpetrator was really Ryan Kennedy, who had already pulled this stunt multiple times in the past. Oh, and he was also tried and convicted on three counts of rape. He sounds like an all-round class act, I think we can all agree.
How to pick the pup
If you are interested in Dogecoin and want to get in on the action, here’s what to know.
There are a few online exchanges that offer Dogecoin. Personally, I’ve used Crypto.com, which is really easy to get to grips with. Once you’re registered and it’s set up, you can add some funds and then pick which theoretical currency you want to put your real-world money into. You’ll need to pay a little bit of attention to the app throughout each day, but there’s plenty of potential to make some money (not financial advice, mind you).
Other than that, your other option is to mine for it yourself. Or in this case, dig. Because dogs dig. If you’ve got a halfway decent PC, you’ll be able to start getting your own share of the pie. However, as the currency begins to reach its limit, it becomes more difficult to get hold of. Which in theory, should drive the value up.
If you’re looking to solo mine (sorry, I can’t bring myself to say dig), you’ll provide the hashing power yourself. The benefit of this is that you’ll be the only person to reap the rewards. This is also the riskier option, as solo mining is better for large-scale operations. You’re more likely to suffer a loss in this way.
As the currency has become more scarce (there is a limit to each altcoin), the hash rate has become incredibly bloated. This means the juice probably isn’t worth the squeeze. You’re more likely to end up with the closely-related Litecoin with this approach.
Pooled mining is where lots of people combine their powers. It’s almost as if the Power Rangers grew up, ditched the Megazord and became a team of investment bankers. With attitude. You’re more likely to get a return on your investment in this way, but the rewards are shared between the members mining. Doing things in this way also means you’ve got more chance of beating the larger operations to the punch.
What you’ll need for mining
A PC. Windows, Mac OS, or Linux will all do the trick. If you’re just tinkering you won’t need much power under the hood, but if you’re getting serious about it, you’ll need a meaty GPU, along with some ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits).
When it comes to software, it’ll depend on what you’re using to mine in the first place. cpuminer by Pooler is ideal for, well, CPU mining. EasyMiner is awesome for getting going on GPU mining, and if you’re going all in with ASICs, give CGMiner or MultiMiner a go.
Is it worth investing in Dogecoin?
Dogecoin itself has never actually gone above seven cents since its inception eight years ago. There are also concerns that it’s close to being mined out. For comparison, Bitcoin won’t be fully mined out until 2041. This means a couple of things. First, it’s getting harder to get hold of. Second, it was initially created with 100 billion coins, so there’s a chance it’ll never become particularly successful.
On the other hand, just like any new currency, there’s the possibility that it could be the next big thing… (please note: I am NOT a financial advisor and have no financial qualifications. Don’t blame me if you invest and end up losing your home, partner, and firstborn child.)