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How Gen Z elevated dogecoin from meme to leading cryptocurrency

Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency named after a viral dog meme from years past, has hit an all-time high this month. Here’s how Gen Z and its inherent love of memes carried the movement.

Getting your head around the frantically changing world of cryptocurrency can be tricky, but the explosion of dogecoin essentially boils down to the fact that Gen Z really loves memes.

Though it seems like cryptocurrency has surged into the mainstream in recent times, it’s actually existed for 13 years.

In that time, physical banking has slowly given way to online banking where we use mobile apps to manage our finances and make simple exchanges.

What cryptocurrency offers is the allure of decentralised peer-to-peer transactions, where no middleman is required at all – no bank, no government agency, just a fancy supercomputer.

Generally, those hot on cryptocurrency fall into two categories. There are the traders who are obsessed by the potential to make profit from trading in one of 4000 unique digital coins, and then there are those who see cryptocurrency as a means to protect their wealth from the possibility of financial turmoil in their own countries.

Amidst the explosion of NFTs and GameStop’s hijacking of the stock market, however, there’s another class of cryto-buff emerging today. One that’s in it purely for the memes.

The rise of dogecoin

The re-emergence of cryptocurrency in its now 4000+ forms has brought with it countless proclamations of how each will ‘change the world.’

Each company’s founders have their own grand vision for their specific product, and yet less than 10% of this portion have actually made any notable impact on the market.

It’s one of life’s constants that wherever people are taking themselves too seriously, there will always be others laughing at them and satirising what they’re doing. In essence, that’s what dogecoin is built to do.

Dogecoin – pronounced ‘doje coin’ – was created by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer to poke fun at popular exchanges like bitcoin back in 2013.

Adopting one of 2013’s most popular and random memes – the Shiba Inu dog – as its logo and namesake, the question of whether dogecoin has any actual use is still debatable eight years on.

Despite this, dogecoin has somehow remained a big player in cryptocurrency since its creation, with investment largely driven by rabid online communities on Twitter and Reddit. Why? Because the whole thing is pretty damn funny.

‘Dogecoin is like this kind of big F-U to the system,’ said Avi Felman, head of trading at BlockTower Capital. ‘It’s like, ‘‘Yeah, this thing can have value too, and I’m just going to buy it, because I’m going to buy it.’’

From a meme to a leading cryptocurrency

In the last 12 months, the price of dogecoin has risen by almost 13,500% and reports suggest that as many as 25% of all Gen Z users are now invested in some form of meme cryto – whether it be dogecoin or newer arrivals.

Currently trading at a price of $0.50 USD, 23% of US investors have backed dogecoin to surpass the $1 USD mark by the end of 2021.

So what exactly is going on here? Are people really this engaged in trolling cryto-fanatics this far down the line?

There is truth to the fact that teens are still revelling in the anarchic nature of mixing it with industry suits, but the initial joke has sparked a series (or blockchain, if you will) of events that ironically have made dogecoin very lucrative.

We’re not entirely certain at what point dogecoin captured the interest of billionaire inventor Elon Musk, but the fact it did proved to be a gamechanger.

It’s no secret that the 49-year-old is seriously into cryptocurrency, and conveniently very memeable himself, so dogecoin provided a perfect fit for both parties.

His electric car company Telsa has invested billions in dogecoin throughout 2021, with Musk stating that ‘fate loves irony’ and that dogecoin becoming the king of crypto would be a fitting punchline to end the ‘joke’.

Amazingly, infographics from analytics firm suggest that almost one in five people first became aware of dogecoin through Musk directly, which inadvertently makes him a super-influencer for the brand – or a cult leader, whichever you prefer.

He recently asked his Twitter followers whether Tesla should accept dogecoin as a means of payment. The result was a landslide 78% in favour, and pages upon pages of Space X Shiba Inu memes.

A testament to Gen Z market power

Though metrics show that Musk has been a huge driving force behind dogecoin’s rise to a reported $92bn market capitalisation, he openly admitted to discovering the company through online memes himself.

Looking at the bigger picture, this can be perceived as another demonstration of just how much influence Gen Z holds over digital marketplaces.

Think back to the GameStop heist, and how a struggling company was Robin Hooded to the summit of the stock market, or more recently to stories of NFTs selling for six-figure sums and permeating mainstream ecommerce sites.

The common denominator with both is the interest and revenue of young people, and the massive traffic we can conjure overnight on social media platforms.

As Quantum Economics chief Mati Greenspan recently stated, ‘What you have [with modern marketplaces] is a situation where teens are outperforming even the smartest suits by thousands of percentage points.’

There are a few tried and true methods to get Gen Zers onside, but much like the meme culture we’ve cultivated, often times we’re random and impulsive. Who’ll hit the internet jackpot next, nobody knows.