Dogecoin Price Madness: How Billionaires, Musicians And YouTubers Memed Dogecoin To $10 Billion
Dogecoin was called a “joke” cryptocurrency by its creator — it was never intended to be a true rival to bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. But now it is. Kind of.
The Dogecoin price has effectively been flatlining since the meme-based cryptocurrency was created in 2013, with the price briefly spiking along with the wider cryptocurrency market at various intervals over the years.
All that changed in late-January, however, when retail traders frustrated by GameStop GME +3.2% restrictions switched to cryptocurrencies. And dogecoin is leading the pack, pushed on by attention from billionaires, rockstars, YouTubers, and millions of others hoping to get-rich-quick.
Dogecoin’s rise, up more than 600% since January 28, has been fuelled by celebrities and social media stars encouraging their fans to “pump” the price. But Elon Musk, the billionaire chief executive of electric car-maker Tesla TSLA +1.5% and dogecoin’s best-known supporter, is only in it for the memes.
“Occasionally I make jokes about dogecoin, but they are really meant to be jokes,” Musk said last week, speaking via the invite-only chat app Clubhouse.
Musk’s legions of fans, including over 45 million of them on Twitter, didn’t think it was all a joke though. And it’s not, really — all the dogecoin tokens combined are now worth around $10 billion, climbing past the milestone and into the cryptocurrency top ten over the weekend.
“Hopefully, he’ll talk about doge,” one YouTube livestreamer told the ten-thousands of people watching him Livestream Musk’s Clubhouse room because they couldn’t listen via the app itself. “We’re expecting a price spike.”
Musk has been a fan of dogecoin for years, regularly joking about the cryptocurrency via Twitter and often inadvertently sending it, and bitcoin, soaring.
Since Musk, who’s admitted he needs to be careful about off the cuff cryptocurrency remarks due to his outsized influence over the market, helped make dogecoin mainstream, others have got involved.
Kiss frontman and rockstar Gene Simmons, who has previously praised bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, went on a dogecoin meme spree last week.
“God of dogecoin,” Simmons tweeted alongside an image of himself. Fans quickly photoshopped dogecoin’s Shiba Inu in over his face. Simmons tweeted that too.
Rap mogul Snoop Dogg was next, tweeting a similar photoshopped image with the words: Snoop Doge. Finally, Musk brought them all together.
Elsewhere, billionaire technology investor Mark Cuban, known for his bitcoin and cryptocurrency skepticism, has helped pump the price.
“If I had to choose between buying a lottery ticket and dogecoin, I would buy dogecoin,” Cuban said via Twitter last week. “But please don’t ask me to choose between it and anything else.”
“[Dogecoin] literally, and I say this with all seriousness, it’s the best entertainment bang for your buck available,” Cuban says via email, adding he bought a few dollars worth for his son help him learn about price movements and why they occur.
“You can buy $1 worth or $10 worth and have fun watching it all day every day.”
Cuban doesn’t advocate trying to win big on dogecoin, however.
“It doesn’t [have any intrinsic value]. But so what. It gives you a better chance of winning than a lottery ticket all while teaching the economics of supply and demand and introducing people to crypto assets.”
Alongside the billionaires and celebrities, YouTubers and social media influencers have done their bit to pump the dogecoin price too.
Ben Phillips, a YouTube prankster with 1 billion views and 600,000 Twitter followers, bought dogecoin in December via the U.S. bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Kraken.
Phillips, who’s changed his Twitter bio to $DOGE but admits he’s not especially knowledgeable about bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology, bounces from bullish to cautious when talking about dogecoin’s price prospects.
“I’m not a financial advisor, I wouldn’t advise buying dogecoin. But buy dogecoin,” Phillips says, speaking over the phone.
Philips wants to both encourage people into the market, which he describes as “endless,” and is keen to warn them of the risks.
“There is a risk that people will lose their money. Buy and then sell it to pay your bills. Don’t use your salary. Go buy lottery tickets if you want to gamble. Let’s face it, it could just disappear.”
Talk of cashing out, of some kind of endgame, is equally mixed — highlighting how little all this has to do with money for the influencers.
“$0.10 is the target,” Philips says. Dogecoin broke $0.8 for the first time ever yesterday before falling back slightly.
“If it gets to $0.10, I’ll double down though. I’m positive it will go to $1. There are enough influencers involved now.”
While social media influencers cheer their dogecoin-inflated engagement metrics, many in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry who have long fought to be taken seriously appear increasingly embarrassed by the dogecoin memes and its price performance.
“Instead of looking into the idea and vision behind bitcoin, by reading the whitepaper of Satoshi Nakamoto for example, these retail investors join the crypto ride for pure short term speculation,” Marc Bernegger, a board member at digital asset manager and broker Crypto Finance, says via email, calling the “recent buzz” a “clear indication that we moved into an overheated retail trading bubble.”
This frenzy has also engulfed the stock market, however, with a long-running battle between bullish retail traders organized via Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum and Wall Street hedge funds that have long been shorting GameStop shares reaching fever-pitch late last month. Regulators and brokerages stepped in to calm frantic markets with heavy-handed restrictions — kicking off the dogecoin rally.
“Similar to the initial coin offering bubble back in 2017 most retail investors joining the actual dogecoin hype don’t understand the difference to bitcoin and its long-term potential as a real game-changer which is sad,” says Bernegger.
“I am completely fine with retail investors speculating on fancy coins as long as nobody complains after losing money afterward.”