In 2000, a post on Slashdot introduced the concept of a new GPS-infused sport for nerds and hikers called geocaching. "Take some item and hide it somewhere in the world," the poster explained, "record the latitude and longitude using your GPS receiver, post the location to the Web so that others can find your stash." I've passively stumbled upon a couple of geocaches while walking on trails in the Czech Republic and Northern California, but wasn't actually engaged in the coordinate-hunting sport.
But a group of hackathon-winning students from New Jersey might have just changed geocaching forever—with dogecoin. Yes, the meme-based virtual currency bearing the image of a Shiba-Inu is the central object of Dogecache.
Image via Dogecache
Essentially, the web-based dogecaching app reduces the physical components of geocaching to simply walking around while looking at your smartphone (like most apps). Users track down coordinates where other players have dumped some dogecoin, and once they arrive, are able to pick them up. In order to collect dogecaches, the app first prompts you to leave some dogecoin behind at your starting point.
The group of four students from High Technology High School of Lincroft, NJ are exhibiting the app at NYC Tech Day, today.
Sure, other games such as BIT Caching have previously digitized the left-behind objects of geocaching. Its website boasts, "No container. No log sheet. No hassles. Endless new hiding places. Endless fun!" Similarly, dogecache introduces endless hiding locations, and endless fun, but its version of fun is more my style: Hunting down a virtual currency that exchanges at roughly 1700 coins per US Dollar, and hunting it down in the geoweb.
Last year, Silvia Dal Dosso, a filmmaker from Tuscany, conceived of a Mario-themed augmented reality game to hunt for bitcoins with smartphones in a short documentary about Berlin's bitcoiners. The game wasn't actually real, but rather a visual device to complement interviews about the mostly non-visual, abstract concept of cryptocurrency. Dogecaching is in some way the actualization of Dal Dosso's concept. The interface of Dogecache is an overhead Google map, and acts more like a Foursquare check-in than Dal Dosso's immersive first-person augmented-reality environment.
But there's more to it than gameplay, as dogecoin is the essential giveaway currency. Any shibe (dogecoin user) who saw @savehthemhood disperse dogecoins for San Francisco's 99 percent in the form of tear-off paper wallets posted to telephone poles will easily see the attraction of dogecache: that other giving shibes could potentially leave large dogecaches for scavengers to hunt down and collect.
Geocaching was the product of the late-90s boom in personal GPS products, and Bill Clinton's opening up of a more precise GPS signal in 2000. But the new life dogecaching breathes into geocaching could be the renewal that passes it on to the next generation. The work is cut out for the existing dogecoin community, and its incoming dogecoin adopters. How long until one of them gets to the moon and leaves some dogecoins there?