Will Dogecoin give Elon Musk the last laugh?

9 February 2021

11:41 PM

9 February 2021

11:41 PM

There’s something deeply pleasing for fans of cosmic jokes everywhere about the world’s richest man personally taking the time to sell you a pup. Or a pup-related crypto-currency, at least.

In between lobbing rockets at the moon, singlehandedly revolutionising the car industry and raising a ten-month old child, Elon Musk has recently been using Twitter to talk up Dogecoin – a joke crypto started in 2013 by geeks for geeks in homage to an internet meme featuring a knowing-looking Shiba Inu dog. Still with me?

Every few days, Musk posts a playful tweet referencing the coin to his 46 million followers. ‘Dogecoin is the people’s crypto. No need to be a gigachad to own,’ he tweeted last week (chad is nerd-speak for a potently attractive alpha male). ‘No highs, no lows. Only Doge’, read another. Far be it from me to attempt to infer the workings of a mind seemingly possessed of an intelligence quotient approaching four figures, but the tweets are funny (Musk is funny): proud advertisements for the poster’s anti-normie geek king creds.

‘Yes, I’m richer than God, but I’m still just like you’, is what he appears to be trying to say – a message aimed, presumably, at the legions of incel fans ecstatically watching his every move from Reddit bleachers (incel is nerd-speak for involuntarily celibate – a badge of honour).

Predictably, as a result of Musk’s tweets, the price of Dogecoin has exploded. In January, it surged 800 per cent in a single day. The coin even managed to get caught up in the recent Robinhood trading platform scandal when the site stopped people buying stocks they wanted to buy. Unlike Bitcoin, which has a finite supply, there is no limit on the amount of Dogecoin that can be produced. But then there isn’t on pounds or dollars, either. So why not make Dogecoin the global reserve currency? It would be a fittingly surreal tribute to the times we are living in.

Interestingly, when Musk’s car firm Tesla this week announced it had made a $1.5 billion investment in cryptocurrency, it wasn’t Dogecoin the company had bought – rather, it was Bitcoin. Sure enough, the news of Tesla’s investment pushed that cryptocurrency’s price up yet further, building on massive recent gains powered largely by, you guessed it, Elon Musk. At the start of the year, Musk had only to put Bitcoin’s logo in his Twitter profile accompanied by the gnomic post ‘in retrospect, it was inevitable’ to add $10 billion to Bitcoin’s market cap.

For those of us still clinging to the notion cryptocurrencies are really just an exhausting thought experiment everyone hopes someone else is doing, these are dizzying developments. Musk recently asked his Twitter followers to take part in a survey on what would be Earth’s future currency. The options he gave were ‘Dogecoin to the Moooonn’ and ‘All other crypto combined’. Dogecoin won – voted for by 1.73 million people. Was he just messing about? Probably. But also, probably not.

‘Fate loves irony,’ Musk recently said in an interview on new app Clubhouse. ‘The most entertaining outcome and the most ironic outcome would be that Dogecoin becomes the currency of Earth in the future.’

Isn’t it fun having a mischievous genius as the world’s richest person? Jeff Bezos, by comparison, is a man who couldn’t even manage an exciting sext. Musk seems not only to achieve so much – surely the most that’s ever been achieved by any human in the history of our species – but at the same time to be culturally engaged and interested in subjects that range from the esoteric (‘Sandstorm is a masterpiece’ was the opinion he recently out of the blue offered on Darude’s classic trance banger) to the culture wars (‘Legalize comedy’ he tweeted in January) to the work of Monty Python. How does he find the time?

Warren Buffet, another likeable gigaplutocrat, famously called cryptocurrencies ‘rat poison squared.’ He believes they have no intrinsic value and that one day, as a result, investors inevitably will be burned. Excitingly, we will likely find out this decade if he was right.

In the meantime, as Musk himself puts it: ‘One word, Doge.’

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