The strongest cryptocurrency right now is a total joke

The Shiba Inu is the mascot of competing meme coins Dogecoin and Shiba Inu coin.
The Shiba Inu is the mascot of competing meme coins Dogecoin and Shiba Inu coin.
Image: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
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As crypto crumbles, Dogecoin rises.

Over the past three months, Dogecoin—a cryptocurrency created in 2013 as a joke—has roughly doubled in value. The digital token, which its own creator still dismisses as ridiculous, inexplicably claims a $740 million market cap and an average daily trading volume worth millions of dollars. In recent weeks the bottom has fallen out in the markets for bitcoin, ether, and other crypto assets; ether has fallen by around 70% over the past three months against the dollar.

Dogecoin gets its name from the quizzical Shiba Inu dog that launched a thousand memes. According to CoinMarketCap, it primarily trades against the US dollar Tether on two exchanges, (based in China) and (which appears to be based in the Cayman Islands). Although Dogecoin is the 17th-largest cryptocurrency by market value, its originator—Jackson Palmer, a product manager at Adobe—is far from impressed.

Despite its jokey origins, crypto hobbyists have found whizzy technical ways to connect Dogecoin to Ethereum, using the coin to experiment with the interoperability of crypto assets more broadly. Palmer says, however, that this “provides no usefulness or cost efficiency” versus other ways to exchange digital assets across blockchains. “I find it kind of disappointing that good developers are spending time/energy building and reviewing these insanely complicated crypto Rube Goldberg machines when nobody is using Dapps [decentralized applications] and commerce adoption of cryptocurrency continues to decrease,” he tweeted recently.

He may be right, but never underestimate the market for cute dogs, in the real world or on the blockchain.