TO THE MOON!
While this may sound like the incoherent ramblings of one speaking in broken English, it's actually in reference to the inspiration for Dogecoin: the first cryptocurrency based off a meme.
Now before you close this article in a fit of indignant rage please hear me out!
I promise to at least entertain you for the time being. Maybe you'll come out a little bit older and a little bit wiser... well at least a little bit older.
I still have no idea what you're talking about!
To truly understand Dogecoin we must learn about the history behind the currency.
It all began a hundred years ago in a tiny log cabin in rural Minnesota where Robert "Doge" Dogenthall began minting his own coins... actually no, that's not true at all.
Let me start again.
This all started on the Internet with a meme.
There were several photographs of an adorable Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu. One picture in particular of Kabosu giving a wide-eyed smile made its way to Reddit and was submitted to the r/Ads subreddit under the title "LMBO LOOK @THIS FUKKIN DOGE," [sic] on October, 28, 2010.
Over the next few years the term "doge", which had nothing to do with the chief magistrate of Venice or Genoa, began to pop up in various places. The iconic shiba inu appeared in many doctored images, giving its own comic sans styled broken English commentary on whatever the image was about. It bounced around Reddit, 4chan, and many other corners of the internet eventually landing its own subreddit r/doge.
On December 13, 2013 the site "Know Your Meme" gave Doge the title of "Top Meme" for 2013.
So what does this have to do with money?
By now you have probably heard about "Bitcoin", which is a digital currency released in 2009.
Bitcoin does not have a central bank governing the currency. It's power is derived from a massive number of decentralized peer-to-peer networked computers spread across the globe, each processing transaction fees and "mining" for new coins.
Bitcoin has finally reached the point where it's actually being taken seriously as an established currency. It's accepted at many retailers across the globe, both online and off. It's gotten the attention of many financial institutions as well as government agencies, and the usage of bitcoin has been banned in some places.
But Bitcoin unfortunately has a few drawbacks.
It's ridiculously expensive. In December 2013 the price of a Bitcoin peaked at around $1,200 USD. At the time of this article (January 2014) the price has dropped to a slightly more reasonable $800 USD per bitcoin, however it doesn't appear that it will go down anytime soon.
The wide gap between prices means that most transactions must be calculated in very small decimal numbers, making the purchase of everyday items frustrating. This problem will only continue to escalate as bitcoin's value increases.
If you're thinking about mining your way to bitcoin riches think again. Most modern computers can't process enough calculations to break even on the cost of electricity and equipment wear. For these jobs specialized and expensive mining hardware is needed.
So what can we do about it?
Bitcoin may have been the first model, but it's certainly not the best (I'm sure I'll get a lot of flak for that statement), and since its inception there have been many other cryptocurrencies released to address bitcoin's problems.
There are over a hundred different alternate coins, or "altcoins", on the market and each one had similar humble beginnings just like bitcoin. Of course starting a new coin is like starting a business. If they don't get enough momentum going soon after inception they will likely never take off. Others have a decent amount of support for a while, but then drop out of favor as people rush to the next big thing (It is the nature of the herd).
Now there are a group of altcoins that use a simplified version of the "scrypt" algorithm for mining. Scrypt was specifically designed to prevent large-scale custom hardware attacks, which basically means you can't use a massive bitcoin mining rig to churn out coins at rapid-speed. This is good as the altcoins have a reduced mining difficulty, making it more accessible to the common home computer. Now anyone with at least a pretty good graphics card can join in the mining pool.
One of these scrypt-based altcoins is Dogecoin.
Dogecoin was created by programmer Billy Markus, who was trying to create a scrypt-based currency that was more accessible to a wider demographic than the preceding Bitcoin economy. Bitcoin at the time had a bit of an image problem due to its recent association with the online black market known as "Silk Road". Markus wanted to create a friendlier coin without the attached stigma.
While Markus created the program, it was Jackson Palmer who thought up the idea of attaching the "Doge" internet meme to this shiny new cryptocurrency.
And on December 6th, 2013 Dogecoin was released into the wild.
So what makes Dogecoin any different?
Honestly, apart from a few alterations here and there, the structural foundation of Dogecoin is very similar to many other altcoins out there.
However, it's got a great mascot.
Dogecoin's initial purpose was to give people a fun and lighthearted introduction to cryptocurrency. However, this initial purpose was quickly overshadowed by the growing realization that Dogecoin was quickly becoming a real contender to compete against the other altcoins.
Viral marketing and a famous internet mascot are powerful tools to help bring a dream to fruition, however the wave of internet hype can only go so far. Eventually you need something more solid to secure the idea to a stable future.
You need a community.
Any person looking up Dogecoin on the internet for a reasonable amount of time will eventually come across the /r/Dogecoin group on Reddit.com. Here you'll find a friendly group of Dogecoin supporters colloquially identifying as "shibes" (named after the shiba inu, which is the breed of the Doge).
in /r/Dogecoin the usual suspects are there: comments on dogecoin prices, dogecoin-related memes, resources on dogecoin mining.
However, this community prides itself on being open, friendly, and helpful to those looking to join the Dogecoin community. Insults, snide remarks, and any negative comments are generally discouraged in /r/Dogecoin.
If you're a strictly serious altcoin investor then this group really is not for you, because no one can take seriously someone who takes themselves too seriously... at least not in this group. Discussions are casual and friendly; often times the most serious discussion the group will have is whether or not to increase the seriousness of the discussions. Humor is a very important part of the Dogecoin community. Silly photoshopped images are thrown around, ridiculous comments are exchanged, and tips are shared all around.
Oh, did I forget to mention the tipping?
Tipping can be done by directly sending from one online wallet to another with the wallet address or scanning a QR code. One can also tip by using an automated tipbot on social networks such as Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook.
At the time of writing this article 1 DOGE equaled about $0.0005 USD, so giving away Ð10, Ð20, Ð100 DOGE wasn't much of an issue; and to celebrate victories small and large many tips are given.
Did you just get you first Dogecoin and feel like celebrating? Have a tip!
Did you make a funny photo or video about Dogecoin? Have a tip!
Are you running low on funds from tipping so much? Here's another tip!
Of course you will be expected to share the wealth as well. Shibes are discouraged from selfishly hoarding their Dogecoins. If Dogecoin is expected to be the currency of the internet it must be shared far and wide across many diverse communities.
But why stop at tipping? Why not pool your Dogecoins into a worthy cause? The Dogecoin community has joined together and done exactly that.
On December 25, 2013 a theft of Ð30,000,000 DOGE occurred (about $12,000 USD at the time) when the online wallets in Dogewallet and Instadoge were hacked. The community created the "SaveDogemas" Campaign to help recoup the losses for victims of this crime.
In January 2014 the Dogecoin Foundation raised over $30,000 in Dogecoins to help the Jamaican bobsled team get to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
There are current campaigns underway to help other organizations and people in need in the hopes of spreading charitable arm of DOGE far and wide, and I'm sure we'll all have fun in the process.
Can I get to mining now?
First you may want to watch this promotional video which adds no new information about Dogecoin, however it is here purely for aesthetic and entertainment purposes.
And if you want to throw a little coin my way I'm always accepting donations at:
- Doge | Know Your Meme (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/doge)
- Dogecoin (http://dogecoin.com/)
- Dogecoin Users Raise $30,000 to Send Jamaican Bobsled Team to Winter Olympics - Digital Trends (http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/dogecoin-jamaican-bobsled-team-olympics/)
- Dogecoin - Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogecoin)
- /r/Dogecoin on Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/dogecoin/)
- SaveDogemas - Helping Shibes in Need (http://savedogemas.com/)
John D Nathan (author) from Dallas, Texas. USA on February 06, 2014:
Thank you for reading, Electronician!
Yes, sometimes you need to have a little fun, even in the dark and frightening world of finance.
Dean Walsh from Birmingham, England on February 06, 2014:
Very entertaining hub, perhaps I have been taking this whole money thing a little bit too seriously...