“If all we’ve done with Dogecoin at the end of the day is grow awareness in a decentralized currency such as Bitcoin, then I think we’ve done a good job.” – Jackson Palmer, Co-Creator of Dogecoin
The world had a completely different outlook on cryptocurrencies when it began. It was an obscure technology associated with negative activities, as opposed to the silly tokens and NFTs that circulate today. It took more than a decade to get here, and Dogecoin was a major contributor.
The cryptocurrency industry back in 2013 was completely different from how it is now. 2013 was the year of shady cryptocurrency dealings – it had reputations and connections with the black market at the time. Moreover, altcoins existed merely to take market share from Bitcoin and as get-rich-quick schemes. Finally, it was a year of memes – most particularly, the Shiba Inu meme.
Now, that Shiba Inu meme from 2013 has grown to be the face of one of the world’s top cryptocurrencies – Dogecoin. It has cultivated a silly and upbeat reputation, far from the shady dealings and reputation from a decade ago. While altcoins still permeate the market, more and more altcoins have positive and strong communities that prioritize more things than just getting rich.
Dogecoin is a story of ups and downs, unexpected turns and obstacles, until eventually, it rose to be one of the top cryptocurrencies to this day.
And it all started with a meme.
Dogecoin History: Original Intention
Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer created Dogecoin in 2013 as a sort of Trojan Horse to introduce cryptocurrency to a growing audience. They hoped to detach cryptocurrency from the dark web and make it more accessible by associating it with memes. Furthermore, they intended to poke fun at the cryptocurrency hype at the time.
Cryptocurrency was not as well received in 2013 as it is now. Bitcoin, in particular, had a connection with Silk Road, a digital black market platform that hosted illegal activities such as money laundering and illegal drug transactions. Additionally, plenty of altcoins at the time appeared in the market just to take away market share from Bitcoin.
In response to this, software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer created Dogecoin. Dogecoin was originally made as a peer-to-peer digital currency that aimed to reach a broader demographic than Bitcoin. Palmer bought the website Dogecoin.com and photoshopped the Doge meme onto a coin and uploaded it. Later, Markus would reach out to Palmer to turn Dogecoin into a functional virtual currency.
Dogecoin’s original intention was nothing too serious; Billy Markus has been quoted saying that Dogecoin was made “without much real thought.” Jackson Palmer, on the other hand, had been following cryptocurrency closely and wanted to disassociate cryptocurrency from the dark web. Markus and Palmer also intended to make fun of all the hype surrounding cryptocurrency at the time.
Markus and Palmer officially launched Dogecoin on December 6, 2013.
Dogecoin History: An Unlikely Success
In December 2013, Dogecoin took the world by storm to the delight of its creators. Dogecoin had built a strong community, which aided its rise to become one of the largest cryptocurrencies at the time.
Dogecoin’s popularity skyrocketed only a month after Markus and Palmer launched it. The Dogecoin website saw 1 million visitors within only 30 days. Three weeks after its launch, Dogecoin’s price jumped 300% in value in only 72 hours. In January 2014, Dogecoin’s trading volume briefly passed Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies combined.
Markus and Palmer both expressed delight at the success of their pet project. The Dogecoin creators grew attached to the community they’d created and felt obligated to create a good currency for them. Similarly, they were pleased that Dogecoin was educating people about decentralized currency.
With the passage of time, Dogecoin would see even greater adoption and widespread acclaim from the cryptocurrency community.
Dogecoin History: Charities and Fundraising
Dogecoin exploded in popularity at the start, fueled by its strong and positive community, which shone a positive light on the shady reputation of cryptocurrency at the time. The Dogecoin community was upbeat and focused on charitable efforts and donations, whether for people in need or for fun and silliness.
During Dogecoin’s early days, the community was focused on donating to good and fun causes. Dogecoins would be donated by the Dogecoin community for causes such as providing service dogs to children in need for $25,000, building water wells in Africa for $30,000, and compensating users affected by Dogecoin’s first hack for $13,000. Similarly, the Dogecoin community would donate Dogecoin for fun causes such as helping the Jamaican bobsled team reach the Sochi Winter Olympics for $36,000 and sponsoring a Nascar driver for $55,000.
These charitable and positive fundraising efforts were remembered fondly by co-creator Billy Markus. In an open letter titled “True Value” that Markus would publish on r/dogecoin in 2021, he cited these activities as the core purpose of Dogecoin.
Joy, kindness, learning, giving, empathy, fun, community, inspiration, creativity, generosity, silliness, absurdity. These types of things are what make Dogecoin worthwhile to me. If the community embodies these things, that’s True Value.
However, Dogecoin just kept on growing as a project and a community. As a result, more people would arrive which would eventually change the way Dogecoin operated. These changes would have a significant impact on Dogecoin’s leadership in the future.
Dogecoin History: The Founders’ Departure
Dogecoin would continue to become one of the leading cryptocurrencies in the industry but without the support of its creators. Markus and Palmer would both leave the project around the same time, citing personal issues with how the project and industry had changed over time.
In an unexpected turn of events, both Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus left the Dogecoin project in 2015. While Markus remained in the cryptocurrency community after departing from Dogecoin, Jackson Palmer left the cryptocurrency community entirely with a largely negative outlook.
Billy Markus left the Dogecoin project after being harassed by the community and realizing that it had begun to deviate from its original message and intention. Jackson Palmer, on the other hand, left the crypto community entirely after becoming disappointed with the market’s abundance of get-rich-quick schemes rather than technological advancement.
In 2021, Billy Markus posted an open letter on r/dogecoin titled ‘True Value.’ Markus opened up about what he considered the true value of Dogecoin aside from monetary gain. He expressed that greed, scamming, and taking advantage of others are all worthless. “Worse than worthless.” Instead, Dogecoin was about learning, generosity, silliness, and positivity. “It is just my wish, as the original creator, that Dogecoin and the Dogecoin community can be a force for good.”
Similarly, 6 years after his departure, Jackson Palmer expressed his feelings about the cryptocurrency community in a Twitter thread in 2021. Palmer shared how he had wholeheartedly left the cryptocurrency community due to conflicts with his politics and belief system. He cited the negativity and exploitation by wealthy individuals, as well as the inherent harm this caused the vulnerable and underprivileged due to limited interventions. Palmer expressed his dissatisfaction with the industry, which has turned into a means of making more money through shallow blockchain integration rather than actually developing the technology.
Despite the departure of both of its creators, Dogecoin would remain a significant player in the cryptocurrency community moving forward.
Dogecoin History: Continuous Boom and Adoption
Dogecoin soared through the market from 2015 onwards and especially during 2021. It was around these years that it saw mainstream adoption and acclaim. Dogecoin was trending on several social media platforms due to popular brands and personalities talking about it.
From 2015 onwards, Dogecoin experienced numerous highs and achievements. It reached a market cap nearing $2 billion in 2018; Dogecoin spiked after trending on TikTok in 2020; and in 2021, Dogecoin became the first cryptocurrency to fund a mission to the moon through SpaceX; Dogecoin also reestablished the Dogecoin Foundation, with a board of notable advisors including Vitalik Buterin and Jared Birchall (representing Elon Musk); Dogecoin reached a market cap of $50 billion – its value increasing more than 7,000% year to date; and in May 2021, Dogecoin surpassed its symbolic hurdle of $0.5 with an increase of over 20,000% in one year.
By 2021, Dogecoin had successfully achieved mainstream popularity. The altcoin had attracted the eye of many prominent figures such as Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, SpaceX and Tesla’s Elon Musk, and would even be trending on both Twitter and TikTok. It had a huge and bustling community of over a million people just on Reddit.
At this point, Dogecoin had become a pillar of the cryptocurrency community. What began as a joke evolved into a solid cryptocurrency that millions of people now support and rely on.
Dogecoin History: Elon Musk’s Involvement
Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, is one of the biggest advocates of Dogecoin. He is well-known for frequently tweeting about cryptocurrency and even incorporating it into his businesses such as Tesla and SpaceX. As a result, Musk’s actions directly impact the price of Dogecoin, both positively and negatively.
Elon Musk is known for tweeting a lot about Dogecoin and affecting its price. The first time Musk tweeted about Dogecoin on December 20, 2020, the coin’s value rose by 20%. After subsequent tweets over that year, Dogecoin’s price would rise by 10%, 20%, 30% to as high as 100% whenever he would mention the cryptocurrency. On the other hand, Dogecoin’s price fell depending on Musk’s actions such as his intentions of purchasing Twitter and appearing on the American Late-Night Television Show Saturday Night Live.
Despite Elon Musk’s enormous influence on Dogecoin, not everyone agreed with his authority over it. In June 2022, Musk was named in a complaint seeking damages of $258 billion for accusations of using his massive social influence to promote the altcoin. Similarly, in 2021, Dogecoin Co-creator Jackson Palmer voiced his opinion on Musk, tweeting: “Reminder: Elon Musk is and always will be a self-absorbed grifter.”
Regardless of the controversy surrounding him, Elon Musk remains the most influential person in the Dogecoin community.
Dogecoin Present Day
Dogecoin has evolved far past its initial form as a joke by software developers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. Now, it has survived almost a decade in the cryptocurrency industry as one of its most prominent projects. Markus and Palmer may have departed from the project, but it still continues to thrive, and we can only guess which direction it takes from here on out.
Dogecoin is the story of a creation that developed a mind of its own independent of its creators and their original intentions. Palmer made a website out of a tweeted joke, and Markus turned the joke into a virtual currency. Now, a decade later that joke has resulted in reaching a market cap of over $50 billion. It has become a currency that has affected people from different parts of the world and even extended its influence to the literal moon. Dogecoin has inspired many other Shiba Inu-themed tokens to pop up in the market. Furthermore, Elon Musk, one of the most prominent billionaire entrepreneurs in the world, is one of Dogecoin’s largest advocates and tries to incorporate the project into every discussion.
Both creators of Dogecoin have now moved on from the project. Billy Markus still remembers his time with Dogecoin fondly. In 2021, he tweeted “…I think $DOGE is by far the coolest – the best community, the most fun, and we’re going to the literal moon! Nothing is cooler than that. Always and forever #1 in my heart.”
Jackson Palmer, on the other hand, has stopped engaging with the cryptocurrency community entirely.
It is unknown where Dogecoin will go in the future, but it certainly has a colorful past and a rich history. Dogecoin is the story of an unlikely success – an experiment and joke relating to modern technology that highlighted people’s humanity and community – that kept on growing independent of its creators. And, despite ups and downs, unexpected turns and obstacles, Dogecoin remains one of the top cryptocurrencies to this day.
And it all started with a meme.