May 12, 2021

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What is Dogecoin and why is Elon Musk tweeting about it?

In September 2018, the Dogecoin founder was lying in bed, scrolling through Twitter, when a direct message popped up in his inbox. He was from Elon Musk.

The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla had been plagued by “spam senders” and the software engineer-turned-cryptocurrency creator Jackson Palmer had a solution. They exchanged messages and Palmer shared some computer codes that could help Musk.

Fraudsters have been bombing Musk’s tweets with replies from fake accounts mimicking his profile name and photo in an attempt to extort cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin from his followers.

Palmer wrote the script after it became a target for himself due to his prominent position in the cryptocurrency community. Five years ago, he became one of the first pioneers of technology by creating a digital currency that quickly attracted a loyal following – but it was meant to be a joke.

In late 2013, while working at software giant Adobe, Palmer created a “cheek tongue cryptocurrency” inspired by the Shiba Inu Doge meme. “Investing in Dogecoin,” he wrote on Twitter. “Sure it’s the next big thing.”

Together with fellow developer Billy Marcus, Palmer bought and rolled out a peer-to-peer digital currency in the style of Bitcoin. Dogecoin has been described on its website as “fun and friendly online money”, which is “favored by Shiba Inus around the world,” and Dogecoin’s popularity has grown along with the original Doge meme’s popularity.

In the first few weeks, an active Reddit community formed around Dogecoin, praising the “surprising” potential of the emerging coin. Soon they were using their collective strength to fundraise, and they succeeded in amassing enough cryptocurrency to send a Jamaican sled team to the Winter Olympics, sponsor a NASCAR driver and fetch water to a drought-stricken area in Kenya. Its market value reaches more than $ 90 million.

The Dogecoin Ford, led by Josh Wise, in the garage during the Nascar Cup Sprint at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama

(Getty Images)

But the influx of capital and the prospect of quick get-rich made parts of society “toxic,” Palmer said, with a greater emphasis on price rather than good causes. At this point, in early 2015, its creator decided to check it out.

“I saw space being dominated by opportunists looking to make money,” he later said in an article written for him. ViceThey mourn wasting that early spirit.

“I quickly learned, that a passionate community of people throwing money is like blood in the water for fraudsters like sharks.”

After seeing its value drop along with its reputation for several years, Dogecoin once again popped up during the market-wide price hike in 2017/18, which saw a new wave of meme fans jump aboard the crypto rocket that promised to take them “to the moon”.

A few months after Musk and Palmer exchanged private on Twitter, the tech billionaire posted a satirical news article about “crazy fictional internet money”, along with a meme with the caption “Dogecoin rulz.”

Musk, who made his first fortune as the co-founder of online payment giant PayPal, has changed his Twitter bio to: “CEO of Dogecoin.”

Musk’s love for Dogecoin is no surprise to anyone who follows his Twitter feed, which peppered news of rocket launches and electric vehicle updates with memes and offbeat references to online culture.

In a recent question-and-answer session on the Clubhouse app, Musk revealed that he even had his own “meme merchants” creating and organizing content for him to publish.

During that same interview, he talked about Dogecoin in a way that echoed Palmer’s original intentions for the cryptocurrency.

He said, “Sometimes I joke about Dogecoin, but it’s really meant to be just jokes.”

Pause before adding: “But fate loves irony … often the most interesting outcome is the most likely outcome, and arguably the most entertaining, and ironic, outcome is for the Dogecoin to become the currency of the Earth in the future.”

While substituting traditional coins on Earth seems absurd, Dogecoin’s astronomical ambition may be even lower given Musk’s plan to create a human colony on Mars. In response to the December Twitter post, Musk agreed that “the Martian economy will work on cryptocurrencies.”

Every time Musk tweets about Dogecoin, its price increases. When he did it again this week, the value of the cryptocurrency rose by $ 2 billion in a matter of minutes.

Since Musk and Palmer exchanged letters in 2018, the multi-CEO has become the richest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $ 200 billion.

Dogecoin has also seen its fortunes swell, as it briefly saw its market value peak above $ 9 billion in late January. But far from being a crypto billionaire, Palmer has almost nothing to show for his role in creating one of the most famous cryptocurrencies in the world.

The technician, who still works at Adobe, revealed in a 2014 interview that he had given up the bulk of his holdings in the charitable fundraising that happened in the early days of Dogecoin.

“A lot of people are renting [I made a fortune]But absolutely not. “

“I actually bought a huge jar of Nutella with Doge, who’s sitting at my desk at work.”