(ABC4) – In 2013, before the likes of Tiktok, memes were all the rage. From Miley Cyrus swinging on a wrecking ball to a screengrab of surprised Spongebob and Patrick, the Internet couldn’t get enough of the ironic text-over-photo fad in the early 2010s.
Among the top memes was Doge, which typically consists of a picture of a Shiba Inu dog coupled with multicolored text in Comic Sans font. The text typically represents internal monologue and is intentionally written in broken English.
Doge gained even more popularity when featured in a safety video for Delta Air Lines, a Google Easter Egg, and a music video for Weird Al Yankovic. But it didn’t stop there.
While it has been gaining popularity in recent weeks, the Doge meme was turned into a monetary asset – Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency, – in late 2013.
A cryptocurrency isn’t tangible, like an American dollar or quarter, but a “digital representation.”
“It’s technology that lets you and me interact with each other providing the trust through technology, that today we have through institutions like banks, governments, and brokers,” says Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures and board member for Overstock, in a 2018 interview with ABC4’s Glen Mills.
According to its site, “Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, favored by Shiba Inus worldwide.” Dubbed “the internet currency,” its creators tout the easy use of the cryptocurrency, saying using it cuts out the middle man (the bank) and allows online content creators to not have to rely on likes and comments to monetize their content.
Since its creation, Dogecoin has developed its own online community, including a subreddit on Reddit where you can ask questions and receive answers from other Dogecoin users.
As of Friday, May 7, one Dogecoin is worth $0.63, according to Coinbase and Coindesk.
With its popularity, Dogecoin is becoming a more popular use of currency, with organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Oakland A’s beginning to accept it for donations, ticket sales, and more.
Dogecoin has also attracted the eye of billionaire and crypto enthusiast, Elon Musk.
According to Forbes, Musk has invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin, another form of cryptocurrency, through Tesla and with simple tweets and comments causing shifts in crypto markets. In February, Musk said there is a “good chance crypto is the future currency of Earth.”
Musk, also the founder of SpaceX, has alluded to the term Dogecoin’s traders frequently use, “doge to the moon,” which means increasing its value to $1 for a token, Forbes explains.
On Friday, ahead of his appearance hosting ‘Saturday Night Live’, Musk urged people to be wary when investing in cryptocurrencies.
Fortune reports that investors expect Musk to mention the “joke” coin on air, potentially sending its price “to the moon” or down to earth, depending on which side of the trade one falls.
Dogecoin isn’t the only animal-related cryptocurrency. Carole Baskin, infamous for her role in the Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” recently joined the cryptocurrency field, launching a coin called “cat.”
While there are no current benefits of collecting the coin, Baskin says they are “thinking of ways to reward those who join our ‘pride’ of big cat lovers!” This includes virtual visits with cats and NFTs launching in about two weeks, according to Big Cat Rescue.
Baskin says she is “investigating cryptocurrencies because I am concerned about the volume of US dollars that are being printed and distributed with nothing to back them up.”
If you invest in cryptocurrency, or are thinking of investing, the FBI wants you to be aware of scammers as they see a rise in the use of “cryptocurrency in business email compromise schemes.”