Illustration by the author
Today, Dogecoin is 100 days old. If the altcoin is truly headed for the moon, then it's already made some pretty decent progress. The alternative cryptocurrency, and the community around it have funded the Jamaican bobsled team's journey to Sochi’s winter games, and have also raised $50,000 to provide clean drinking water to Kenyans. Its adopters have launched initiatives like Doge4Kids, SaveDogemas, and have reached out to actual Shiba Inu owners and rescuers to help pay their vet bills. Through non-sequitur phrases scribed out in rainbow-colored Comic Sans, I've stood witness as the altcoin has brought virtual currency enthusiasts together with the unwitting owners of cute dogs.
Video via QuantumDesignsHD
Chronicling the first 100 days of Dogecoin's success, the above video, like many other videos pertaining to doge, can hardly contain its caffeinated excitement. One might compare the Shiba Inu-embossed currency's first 100 days to Bitcoin's first 1,000. That’s coarsely, if you were to compare the growth of the currencies’ market capitalizations. By Bitcoin's 1,000th day, or September 30, 2011, the original cryptocurrency sat at a market cap of roughly $36.5 million, after having spiked as at $190 million in July that year (the first Bitcoin bubble). Today, Dogecoin's market cap is at about $47 million, after having risen to over $87 million in less than two months.
Of course, due to the volatile nature of both currencies, such comparisons aren't necessarily fair to make, or entirely relevant, as Dogecoin obviously wouldn't exist were it not for the trails blazed by its predecessors, Bitcoin and Litecoin. Still, in its first 100 days, Dogecoin has exercised huge potential largely untapped by existing virtual currencies. If Bitcoin had done something similar in its first 100 days, such as affixing a cool dog's face on its coins, then I'd argue a lot more people would've known what it was before 2011.
That said, by attracting what appear to be fewer federal drug trafficking indictments, a more laid back community of fun-focused novices with giveaway-spirited attitudes, Dogecoin’s community still makes a pretty significant statement: Altcoins will play a significant role in virtual currency proliferation, and thus, any subsequent digital financial revolution. Iceland's very own Auroracoin, which is about to be issued to all Icelanders, is a good example, while Ripple's different take on transferrable debt and stability also warrants a look.
Purists may call Bitcoin 'God,' claiming that Dogecoin and others merely ride Bitcoin’s coattails, and arguing that altcoins don't do "anything that Bitcoin can't,” but clearly altcoins already have. And alternative virtual currencies will continue to set precedents that Bitcoin as a currency really hasn’t by itself. Intrinsically, this seems to be a great reason for alternative virtual currencies exist. Don't get me started on the lucrative day trading that's been availed by an endless list of alternative currencies being sent through a number of exchanges.
While Bitcoin evangelists have fought tirelessly to explain Secure Hash Algorithms, and Bitcoin basics, scores of costumed men, women, children, and their dogs converge at parties, enjoying Comic Sans and mocktails while engaging in a concept they might have yet to wholly understand. The same could be said of populations that largely ignore how the Federal Reserve operates.
Be it Dogecoin’s negligible price ($ 0.00077 equals one dogecoin as of this writing), or the pull factor of a doge’s aloof expression, the currency’s subreddit membership is gaining on that of /r/Bitcoin (71,000+ subscribers creeping up on Bitcoin's 114,000+ subscribers). These are the faithful newcomers that Bitcoin hasn’t known how to nab. And their voices carry—in a meme-ishly rapid fashion—a message of some funny money that’s actually money, and pretty funny.