In brief

  • Dogecoin (DOGE) was created by Jackson Palmer in 2013, as a joke playing on the "doge" Shiba Inu meme.
  • Boosted by influencers including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the cryptocurrency hit a market cap of $88 billion at its peak in May 2021.

What happens when a joke gets taken seriously? In 2013, Dogecoin (DOGE) was created as a way to poke fun at the crypto industry; now it's one of the world's biggest cryptocurrencies. How did it get to this point?

What is Dogecoin?

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency that takes its name from the "doge" Internet meme. It started as a way to mock the crypto industry, but quickly built up a lively community of enthusiasts.

It has come a long way since 2013; during the 2021 crypto bull run, it briefly hit a market cap of $88 billion. Dogecoin celebrated its 10th anniversary on December 6th, 2023.


Who created it?

Jackson Palmer, an Adobe employee, couldn’t believe the huge number of altcoins that were popping up in 2013. As a joke, he sent out a tweet saying he was investing in Dogecoin—a fake coin based on a popular meme featuring a Shiba Inu dog.

Even though he tweeted in jest, several people thought he was on to something. They said the industry really needed a light-hearted token that could counter the more controversial coins on offer. So Palmer teamed up with Billy Markus, a programmer, to make Dogecoin a reality.

“It was always like a hobby project, like a side project thing,” Palmer told Decrypt in 2018. But a community quickly formed around the cryptocurrency, and took it much further than Palmer had anticipated.

A brief history of Dogecoin

    • Dec 2013 – Dogecoin was founded by Jackson Palmer.
    • March 2014 – The Dogecoin community raises $55,000 in DOGE to sponsor NASCAR driver Josh Wise.
    • June 2014 – The Dogecoin Foundation is established to preside over the currency's code.
    • April 2015 – Co-founder Jackson Palmer leaves Dogecoin.
    • January 2018 – Dogecoin briefly surpasses a $2 billion market cap.
    • July 2020 – A viral TikTok challenge sends Dogecoin volumes soaring, pushing the price up by 96%. The flurry of price action swiftly passes.
    • January 2021 – Dogecoin surges to a market cap of over $9 billion in a price surge orchestrated by the SatoshiStreetBets subreddit.
    • May 2021 –  Dogecoin's price hits an all-time high of $0.73 in the run-up to Elon Musk's appearance on Saturday Night Live.
    • May 2021 – Dogecoin developers reveal that Elon Musk has been advising them since 2019.
    • June 2021 – Crypto exchange Coinbase lists Dogecoin.
    • August 2021 – The Dogecoin Foundation relaunches after six years, with Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin joining its board of advisers.
    • November 2022: Elon Musk announces that he will upgrade Dogecoin with Vitalik Buterin, driving the price up; Buterin has yet to confirm this.
    • May 2023: The DRC-20 standard is introduced, enabling the creation of "Doginals," similar to Bitcoin Ordinals, a unique digital asset akin to non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Did you know?

Billy Markus, Dogecoin’s co-founder, goes by the nickname ‘Shibetoshi Nakamoto’. It’s a play on the doge meme, along with Bitcoin’s mysterious founder Satoshi Nakamoto. In June 2020, he bought back into Dogecoin after "8 years of vowing never to buy crypto again."

What’s so special about it?

  • 💨 Speed and cost – Dogecoin offers fast transactions and low transaction fees—both essential for wide adoption.
  • 💰 Unlimited supply – Originally Dogecoin was capped at 100 billion coins, but it was later changed to an unlimited supply. That keeps the price relatively stable.
  • 🤝 Community – The heart of Dogecoin is its active community. The more than 300,000 members of the r/dogecoin subreddit are renowned for being a friendly and welcoming bunch.
  • 🤗 Philanthropy – That same community has been known to rally around good causes. They raised more than $25,000 in Dogecoin to help send the cash-strapped Jamaican bobsled team to the 2014 Olympics. They also teamed up with a water charity to raise thousands to improve clean water access in Kenya through the Doge4Water initiative.

How does Dogecoin work?

The upside of Dogecoin’s never-ending supply of tokens is that the price stays relatively stable. The downside is that the price usually remains very low. Most people get into the crypto world as an investment. They hope that if they hang onto certain tokens long enough, they can sell for a profit.

Not so with Dogecoin. Since the token supply is high and the price is low, it’s not attractive to investors looking to hold onto their currency. The result is a highly liquid, free-flowing peer-to-peer digital currency.


What can you do with Dogecoin?

A key use of Dogecoin is as an online tipping system. If you like what someone posted in the Dogecoin Reddit community, throw them some Dogecoin. It’s part of what gives the community its friendly reputation.

You can also trade it for other cryptocurrencies on several exchanges, which has made the currency an unlikely medium by which people hop from one exchange to another.

From meme coin to Elon Musk's favorite crypto

For something that started out as a joke, Dogecoin has established a legitimate reputation. The community's philanthropic endeavors quickly caught the attention of the media; Dogecoin fans sponsored NASCAR driver Josh Wise in 2014, funded the Jamaican bobsled team at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and later raised thousands for a Kenyan water charity.

Co-founder Jackson Palmer isn't a fan of how seriously people take Dogecoin; he left in 2015, after scammers fleeced the fun-loving members of the Dogecoin community. At the time, he said too many people were jumping in with a ‘get rich quick’ mentality, missing the token’s purpose.

When Dogecoin briefly hit a $2 billion market cap in January 2018, Palmer remained critical. He stated, “I think it says a lot about the state of the cryptocurrency space in general that a currency with a dog on it which hasn’t released a software update in over 2 years has a $1B+ market cap.”

Dogecoin picked up steam once again in 2020; partly thanks to the emergence of a new social media platform that traffics in memes. In July 2020, a viral TikTok challenge encouraged users of the app to invest in the cryptocurrency, briefly causing the price to soar—to the point where the official Dogecoin account had to weigh in, cautioning people to "Stay safe. Be smart."

At the same time, Dogecoin found a celebrity fan in billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who began tweeting about the cryptocurrency—though he later clarified that he was talking in jest.

Musk may have been joking on that occasion, but he has put Dogecoin to practical use at times; in May 2021, he announced that his space exploration firm SpaceX would launch a “Doge-1” satellite to the Moon, “paid for in Doge.”


The Tesla CEO’s tweets also appear to have moved the market for Dogecoin. After Musk tweeted “One word: Doge” in December 2020, the price of Dogecoin shot up by 17%, from $0.0039 to $0.0046. In February 2021, he criticized Dogecoin’s wealth distribution; the price subsequently plunged by 20%. And following Musk’s purchase of Twitter in October 2022, the social media site briefly changed its logo to the Doge meme in April 2023; Dogecoin surged by over 20%.

Matters came to a head in June 2023, when Musk, Tesla and SpaceX were hit with a $258 billion lawsuit alleging that they engaged in a racketeering scheme to manipulate the price of the cryptocurrency. Musk has sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, with his lawyers calling it a “fanciful work of fiction” based on his “innocuous and often silly tweets” about the cryptocurrency.

The future of Dogecoin

Perhaps inevitably, Dogecoin's success has inspired imitators. Other so-called "meme coins" have sprung up, including Pepe (PEPE), Shiba Inu Coin (SHIB) and Bonk (BONK).

In August 2021, the Dogecoin Foundation was re-established, with advisory board members including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Dogecoin co-founder Billy Markus, Dogecoin core developer Max Keller and Neuralink CEO Jared Birchall.

May 2023 saw the launch of the DRC-20 token standard, allowing for the creation of "Doginals," a unique digital asset akin to non-fungible tokens and based on Bitcoin Ordinals. The launch of the new standard saw Dogecoin transactions soar to a new all-time high, though some core developers were skeptical of the prospects of the feature, arguing that it “has not had enough thought given to it.”

While Dogecoin's devs are knuckling down to the long-term goal of turning the meme coin into a fully-functioning everyday currency, many latter-day meme coins are open about the fact that they're taking a more trial-and-error approach; in SHIB's case, it bills itself as "an experiment in decentralized spontaneous community building."

Others don't see the funny side; in June 2020, Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission ordered crypto exchanges to delist meme coins (alongside NFTs and social tokens), defining them as tokens that have “no clear objective or substance or underlying [value],” and whose price relies on social media trends.

Whether Dogecoin itself is here to stay—or whether it's destined to flame out as it did after its 2018 peak—is open to debate. But, as the Dogecoin community says, in the end one thing is immutable: 1 DOGE = 1 DOGE.


Throughout its lifespan, the Dogecoin community has remained active and loyal. If proponents’ goal of turning Dogecoin into a bona fide (or 'bona fido', perhaps?) currency for transacting in succeeds, it could very well stick around long into the future. Wow.

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