Each year, April 20th — colloquially, 4/20 — is celebrated with hazy rooms and cannabis-infused treats. Today, however, the marijuana has been eschewed for DogeDay, a spirited and meme-fueled attempt to drive the price of DOGE-USD to $1.
Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency which initially began as a parody coin in 2013, is now one of the highest valued coins on the blockchain. The Shiba Inu dog-themed cryptocoin has surged over 8000% in 2021, driven in large part by the rapidly growing DogeCoin Reddit page, which now has over 1.5 million members.
In early January, a single Dogecoin was worth less than half a penny. A $100 Dogecoin investment on January 1, 2021 would now be worth over $13,500, according to Cryptoground’s Dogecoin calculator.
The coin reached $0.42 this week, and the widespread excitement for #Dogeday420 — a hashtag that’s been trending on Twitter for several days — may push this even higher. The strong social media support underpinning Dogecoin has pushed its market capitalisation above $50 billion — making it bigger than companies Ford and Kraft.
“I’m not putting my life savings into Doge, just money I wouldn’t mind losing,” says Kadhirash Sivakumar, a recent graduate of UC Riverside. He bought just under $500 worth of Dogecoin when it was $0.06 in February.
That investment is now worth roughly $2,000, as of today.
“If there’s a chance to make money, why not?” said Sivakumar, who hopes DogeDay will bring extra profits for retail investors.
Dogecoin is an “inflationary coin” meaning it has a fixed rate of coins that will be released per year, forever — a set rate of inflation over time.
Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, is deflationary — every four years the amount of coins put into circulation are halved along with its inflation rate, a process that will continue until all available coins are released. In other words, the number of total Bitcoins has a hard cap.
Celebrity figures like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk have helped the meme-coin skyrocket, both praising it as part of the future of financial markets. Musk was also vocal in support of the Gamestop stock craze earlier this year, and has since established himself as an ironical meme-posting, billionaire advocate for retail investors.
Musk has leveraged his 51 million Twitter followers to bolster support for Dogecoin, frequently tweeting popular Reddit phrases such as “Everything to the moon!” — a common rallying cry for memes and the Reddit pages WallStreetBets and Dogecoin.
“I bought Dogecoin when there were memes about Dogecoin taking Elon Musk and everyone to the moon,” said USC student Betty Thai. “I didn’t expect much because, one, it’s called Dogecoin,” said Thai. “And two, I don’t really understand how cryptocurrency works.”
Thai bought about $20 of Dogecoin near the end of January for about $0.07 a share. As of today, her initial investment has had over a 350% return.
For weeks, Dogecoin retail investors and fans within the online forums have been using the hashtags #DogeDay and #DogeToTheMoon, among many others, to spread memes and spark viral conversations.
Members of the self-proclaimed “Doge Army” are armed with the popular trading app Robinhood, which some have argued has gamified trading in a dangerous way. Retail investors who used it to purchase shares of Gamestop lost enough money to convince them to refrain from meme-based purchases like Dogecoin.
“I think the meme stock is a great way to make returns in a short time but it’s also riskier because of how volatile they are,” said USC student Thomas Chow, who had previously bought Gamestop earlier this year but has not purchased any Dogecoin.
Robinhood’s whimsical, stimulating interface and primarily young audience — the average age is only 31 — has made it controversial, though the app website states its aim differently: “Democratize finance for all.”
“I’m sticking with conventional stock choices moving forward because I prefer stability,” said Chow.
“I started investing in Dogecoin because I began to see it as a cultural phenomenon,” said Elshaddai Mulugeta, another USC student. “With supporters like Elon Musk helping blow the market cap through the roof, the coin has soared.”
The crypto boom has had a far-reaching impact. Electric car company Tesla — headed by the meme-loving Elon Musk — announced earlier this year that they would begin accepting Bitcoin as payment. Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, said the Fed has been conducting research into a possible future digital currency.
“I’m predicting that after Dogeday, the bubble will burst and the price will tank,” said Sivakumar. “But there’s still some time now to make some money.”
Dogecoin traded at just under $0.40 at the start of DogeDay. By 1pm Tuesday, it is trading at $0.33.