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Dogecoin – From joke cryptocurrency to Bitcoin rival

Dogecoin was initially dismissed as a joke but in the past few weeks has evolved to become the online currency of choice for those trying to send underdog teams to the Winter Olympics.

Yesterday – that’s the 30th of January for those of you watching in the future – Dogecoin overtook NXT to becoming the fifth most valuable online currency in the world for the first time. [00:30] What exactly is it?

Dogecoin is an online virtual digital crypo – or whatever you want to call it – currency that works like Bitcoin. This means that the easiest peer-to-peer technology to operate without a central authority unlike conventional currencies like the dollar, Euro, Yen or pounds. In fact, until yesterday, Dogecoin was fully dependent on Bitcoin’s continued existence and felt the impact of any change to its value. [01:00] This was because users could previously only buy or sell Dogecoins for conventional currencies by first converting their money to Bitcoin.

But the Vault of Satoshi exchange website has changed all that and now users can buy or sell their Dogecoins for US or Canadian dollars without going via Bitcoin first. You can find more information about how Dogecoin works in practice and how you can start using Dogecoin for yourself by visiting the currencies Wiki page.[01:30]

But that’s all the boring technical stuff. What makes Dogecoin more interesting than all of the other cryptocurrencies out there is the fact that it’s logo and name derives from an internet meme called ‘doge’.

The face of doge is a Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu. Kabosu caught the attention of the internet, also her owner, a Japanese kindergarten teacher named Atsuko Sato posted several photos of Kabosu on her blog back in February 2010. [02:00] Initially, no one paid much attention to Kabosu, but in October 2010 someone posted a photo of an unrelated Corgi to Reddit with a title ‘LMBO look at this doge’.

Soon, photos of dogs entitled ‘doges’ were cropping up all over the internet. In time, this merged with Tumblr that posted pictures of Shiba dogs, the same breed as Kabosu, with captions in coloured Comic Sans font over the top and the doge meme was born. [02:30]

Then, in July 2013, someone somewhere found the photos of Kabosu on Sato’s blog and started using her image for the meme. Fall on towards the end of 2013 and the doge meme was everywhere, more often than not featuring Kabosu’s face to the extent that on the 6th of December, a Bitcoin Talk forum member named Dogecoin introduced an alternative cryptocurrency based on the meme as a Satoko take on Bitcoin success.[03:00]

At first, no one really took it seriously but then around five weeks after the currency’s birth, Reddit’s Dogecoin community jumped on board a crowd funding campaign to send the Jamaican bobsled team to this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

In the Cool Runnings 2.0 scenario, the team that’s set to qualify for the games said they would need around an extra forty thousand dollars in order to pay for equipment and travel. [03:30] But the Reddit Dogecoin community came to the rescue and over a two to three day period, donated over twenty-seven million Dogecoins to the campaign. This translated to more than thirty thousand American dollars and completed the bobsled team’s target.

Yesterday, such a busy day for Dogecoin. It was revealed that the community had once again banded together to raise seven thousand dollars in just a matter of hours to help send the Indian luger Shiva Keshavan [04:00] to the games after his home country could no longer support him.

As the Reddit user ‘nephilis’ pointed out with this handy-looking chart, Dogecoin is now the number one cryptocurrency when it comes to sending Olympic teams to Sochi.

Right now, one Dogecoin is worth 0.0015 US dollars. This compares to one Bitcoin which was worth eight hundred and twenty-four point four (824.4) at the time of making this video. But who knows? [04:30] If Dogecoin keeps on going the way it’s already been going, soon it might not just be the cryptocurrency of choice for underdogs, but for top dogs, too. Or should that be top doges?