You’ve bought Dogecoin? Now what?

A friend messaged me a week ago to tell me they had bought Dogecoin. My eyebrows rose slightly, although it was a wet weekend, so buying DOGE was probably a form of indoor entertainment. It may also appeal to dog lovers: the Shiba Inu is pretty cute compared to the symbols all the other altcoins use. I mean, if there was a Peppa Pig token, I expect my youngest would be begging me to buy it.

Elon Musk (yes, him again) did a lot for DOGE by calling it ‘the people’s crypto’ and tweeting that SpaceX would put a literal Dogecoin on the moon. Plus, Mark Cuban told Forbes that Dogecoin was “the best entertainment for your buck” and noted that he had bought some Dogecoin for his son. There, you see – it’s entertaining and it has the dog!

Still, let’s not forget the say about he who laughs first! Dogecoin has been soaring: it’s up more than 300% over the past month — and it has surged more than 10,000% in the last year. That’s remarkable, but what can you do with it?

You need a BitPay card

BitPay’s Mastercard now supports DOGE. So, if you have a BitPay card you can now use the Shiba Inu-inspired currency to make purchases online or in stores. BitPay has also added support for the Apple Wallet, so you can store your BitPay card in your iPhone and fund Apple Pay purchases with crypto, including DOGE. Sadly for some, BitPay is only available in the USA.

The downside of Dogecoin

Nobody else seems to be remotely interested in DOGE. Coinbase won’t list it, which is very important, because Coinbase has a more stringent vetting processing than many exchanges. The Motley Fool says, “Dogecoin’s absence underscores management’s lack of confidence in its long-term potential. And given Coinbase’s scale, that’s a serious problem.”

Dogecoin hasn’t made the cut with PayPal either. Its recently launched Checkout with Crypto, allows consumers to fund purchases with cryptocurrency, and with the size of its user base, the absence of Dogecoin is a blow to the altcoin’s owners.

The problem for Dogecoin is that its utility doesn’t match its popularity, and while it has made huge gains thanks to its celebrity followers, such as Gene Simmons and Snoop Dogg, as well as Musk, there is no guarantee this level of excitement around it will continue.

It’s basically a ‘fun buy’, and there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t expect too much from it.

Dogecoin passion could prevent government crypto bans

Dogecoin, which has existed for a few years, is not a cryptocurrency of the usual kind. It’s a fun, ‘meme’ coin and Elon Musk, Gene Simmons, The Jonas Brothers and Snoop Doge have been having some fun with it recently. However, although it has no utility, Noelle Acheson, says “it embodies two key themes impacting institutional interest in crypto assets: the role of “fundamentals,” and the likelihood of successful government bans.”

Acheson asks if fun should drive value (Dogecoin is up 1,350% in 2021, and answers her own question with, why not? She points to GameStop (yes, again!) saying that the market’s understanding of ‘value’ is shifting. Matt Levine at Bloomberg summed it up: “Money and value are coordination games; what we use for money depends on the channels that we use to coordinate social activity. Once society was mediated by governments, and we used fiat currency. Now society is mediated by Twitter and Reddit and Elon Musk, so, sure, Dogecoin.”

Even Dogecoin’s founders have no idea why its success has continued some seven years after launching it. But they can’t remove it, or close it down, because Dogecoin runs on a public, decentralized blockchain that no one controls. So, it will probably continue to exist so long as people value its fun element.

It’s about passion

GameStop and Dogecoin both exemplify what community passion can achieve, and how it may potentially block government bans on crypto. For example, India tried to ban cryptocurrencies recently, but the community mobilised, created a hashtag and rallied its members to lobby government representatives. They pointed out that the country has 10-20 million crypto users, plus 340 startups and 50,000 employees in the crypto space.

Something similar happened in Nigeria where the central bank ordered banks to close the accounts of cryptocurrency users. There was a public outcry, and the central bank had to issue a press statement “reminding the public that the rule was not new, and that it was for their own good.” The central bank had to unblock accounts of 20 people involved in the #EndSARS movement, which was about the dissolution of a federal police unit with a reputation for fierce brutality. Acheson says, “The fact that the accounts were frozen in the first place is one of the many reasons seizure-resistant cryptocurrencies are rapidly gaining in popularity amongst Nigeria’s young.” It is also the case that Nigeria is gaining recognition as Africa’s Silicon Valley, and trading crypto assets is a way of life for many young people. They have new tools to work with and a growing disrespect for institutions. Because of the central bank directive, they are simply moving from exchanges to peer-to-peer channels. As a result, the politicians have taken notice,, and some prominent voices in government have spoken out against the ban. Other countries will be watching this with interest, because as Acheson warns, “the very act of attempting to repress cryptocurrency’s use could light a fire under a generational understanding of why it’s necessary.”