Many awesome stories start with a joke, and this one certainly did. When the creators of Dogecoin, Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus created the cryptocurrency phenomenon Dogecoin. Even they didn’t know the ride they were buying tickets to.
The coming together of Australian Jackson Palmer and American Billy Markus was serendipitous. Before Dogecoin, Jackson Palmer was an Adobe Software Engineer and Billy Markus was a Software Engineer who worked for IBM. It’s only fitting that, when Dogecoin was launched, these guys had never even met.
Conception of Dogecoin
Our story begins like all other stories with the two protagonists residing in different parts of the world, living their separate lives. Jackson Palmer was fascinated by the crypto market. The volatility of the crypto market gave him much to laugh about and during one of these days he jokingly tweeted that Dogecoin will be the next great cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.
This was 2013 and the Doge meme with the now world-famous Shiba Inu dog was taking the world by storm. Jackson saw the funny side of the crypto market and used his photoshop skills to come up with a fictional coin that combined both, the cryptocurrency world and the meme world.
Soon Jackson saw his tweet gaining traction and he decided this was the time to take the joke even further. Because, why not. So Jackson immediately bought the domain Dogecoin.com and on the website he uploaded his photoshopped image of the Dogecoin. He also left a note on the website which said whoever wanted to make Dogecoin a reality can get in touch with him.
Billy Markus, who was obsessed with video games was working on his own crypto project at that time, “Bells”. Bells was a cryptocurrency based on the Nintendo game Animal Crossing. In this game, animals live together in a small town and go fishing. Bells was the money used by these animals in the game.
Markus too wanted to create something funny and Bells was his attempt at creating a light-hearted crypto coin. While Bells didn’t get a warm reception in the crypto community, it was during this time that Markus read Jackson’s tweet.
Markus realized that the idea behind Jackson’s tweet was the same as him i.e. creating a lighthearted and fun crypto coin and Markus messaged Jackson. Before Jackson could even reply to Markus’s message, Markus was already knee-deep in bringing the Dogecoin to life.
Bringing the Dogecoin to life
Markus sent Jackson a message proposing they work together and started working on the Dogecoin. Bitcoin is an open-source blockchain and its source code is available to the public. Markus took advantage of this and reconfigured Bitcoin’s source code turning its user-oriented elements into what we now know as Dogecoin.
Only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be mined but Markus wanted more Dogecoins available and thus he created a 100 billion DOGE. Markus also changed the font to comic sans because comedy was at the heart of Dogecoin and changed the word ‘mine’ to ‘dig’ because dogs don’t mine, they dig.
It took Markus about three hours to bring Dogecoin up to his desired specifications. He customized some graphics, and changed the wording of different parts of the user interface, and voila! Dogecoin was real. Sometime after this, Jackson responded to Markus’s message and within a week of Jackson tweeting about Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency was live.
The first person to mine DOGE
Dogecoin was created as a joke and the coming together of Jackson and Palmer was a mere coincidence thus none of these guys had pre-mined or let’s say pre-dug the DOGE. Once Dogecoin was launched, Markus started mining the Dogecoin.
Mining is an energy extensive process and requires a lot of computing power. Markus’s computer could only mine for about five minutes before it gave up. Marcus shared with Jackson 50% of what he had mined and they both made $5000 in the process. Markus became the first person to ever mine a Dogecoin.
The Reddit Boom
Reddit has the habit of picking up on things that are funny or can catch the attention of its community and Dogecoin was an instant hit on Reddit. As soon as Dogecoin started becoming popular among the Redditors, the market value of Dogecoin soared to $8 million.
Redditors follow a culture of tipping. What this means is that whenever fellow Redditors find someone on the website doing good deeds like sharing an idea or making the platform more accessible they tip that Redditor.
Every time a Redditor posted something like, ‘hey dogebot, give this Redditor five dogecoins’, the said Reddit user got five Dogecoins. And thus it was the Redditors who initially gave Dogecoin its walk to fame.
The end of the road for Jackson and Markus
Over the coming months, the popularity of Dogecoin kept soaring and its community kept on growing bigger and bigger. Such was the craze of Dogecoin that in 2014 the market cap held by this accidental cryptocurrency was $90 million.
Markus still felt that Dogecoin was just a light-hearted crypto coin that was meant as a joke and thus he started having clashes with the members of the Doge community. He left Dogecoin in 2015. Markus then sold all his Dogecoin and bought a Honda Civic.
As Dogecoin kept on getting bigger and bigger, a lot more people started seeing the potential of making money through Dogecoin. The clashes also kept on increasing and within a few years, Jackson too ended up leaving the Dogecoin.
The never-ending fluctuations
From 2014 to 2018, Dogecoin saw a lot of ups and downs in its popularity and market capitalization. Just like the crypto market, Dogecoin too saw its roller-coaster ups and downs during this period that saw both its founders leaving.
At the beginning of the year 2018, the market cap of Dogecoin was $2 billion. By the end of the year 2018, its market cap had shrunk to $250 million.
Over the years Dogecoin has gained the attention of everyone from ordinary crypto enthusiasts to people like Snoop Dogg and Elon Musk. A tweet from Elon in January 2021 soared Dogecoin’s value again by 250%.
Elon has been supporting Dogecoin over the past few years on Social media and keeps tweeting about it every now and then. On May 8, 2021, Dogecoin reached its all-time high value and its market cap on that day was $90 billion.
While Dogecoin is prone to ups and downs in the market, it has now survived one crypto winter and is still going strong. As of now, its market cap is over $18 billion. Doge finds itself one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies in the market. That certainly isn’t bad for a digital currency that started merely as a joke between two engineers.
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