What happens when a joke turns into a currency with a market cap over $30 million? You get Dogecoin. If you browse sites like Reddit and 9GAG, you’ve most certainly run into the doge meme and its iconic Shiba Inu, but you may not know that that same Shiba Inu is now the mascot of a digital coin. Wow, such money.
What Is Dogecoin?
Dogecoin is a derivative of Litecoin, which is a cryptocurrency inspired by Bitcoin. Don’t let the term cryptocurrency frighten you, though; just think of it as digital currency and you’ll be fine. While the technology behind cryptocurrencies is somewhat advanced, you won’t need to understand how they work in order to use them. It’s really easy, I promise.
Why use Dogecoin? There are many reasons.
It’s the fastest growing cryptocurrency. Dogecoin is only 4 months old but it’s already the 2nd most popular coin by average hourly number of transactions and it fluctuates between 3rd and 5th largest coin by market capitalization. In 100 days, Dogecoin reached the same market cap that took Bitcoin 1,000 days to reach.
It has a thriving community. We’ll explore this later in the article, but the Dogecoin community is not only huge but also generous, active, and tons of fun. As it’s based off of a meme, this coin doesn’t carry the same serious tone that other coins have.
It’s a selfless and generous coin. The philosophy that drives Dogecoin is unique in that it’s all about selfless giving. While other coins tend to promote hoarding and saving, Dogecoin users are constantly donating to various causes (charity) and to each other (tipping).
If you’re interested in the technical details, check out our guide to Bitcoin. Most of the concepts are transferrable to Dogecoin.
The Generosity of Dogecoin
Think I’m kidding about the generosity of the community behind Dogecoin? Here are some of the latest funding efforts that were beyond successful and you can be sure that there are plenty more to come in the following months.
Doge4Kids. In February, the community raised 20,000,000 DOGE (~$30,000 USD at the time) in the span of 3 days on behalf of 4 Paws For Ability, an organization that provides service dogs to disabled children.
Doge4Water. In March, the same community raised 40,000,000 DOGE (~$39,000 USD at the time) in the span of 18 days on behalf of charity:water, an organization dedicated to bringing safe, clean water to those who don’t have access to it.
Even more amazing is the work of @SaveThemHood, an anonymous user who personally contributed 14,000,000 DOGE to Doge4Water and then continued to tip thousands of DOGE to the impoverished, to people with unpaid medical bills, and to people who’d run into tough times.
Doge4NASCAR. Most recently, the community raised 67,500,000 DOGE (~$55,000 USD at the time) in the span of 8 days to sponsor NASCAR racer Josh Wise. You can watch the car race in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on May 4th.
What Can You Do With Dogecoin?
Let’s say you decide to support Dogecoin and you get involved. What can you do with your coins?
Markets. Spend your DOGE to buy real products, both virtual and physical. Sites like DogeDir, DogeSpend, and DogeBiz maintain lists of businesses that accept the coin while sites like ShopDoge and StuffCoins are actual marketplaces that use DOGE.
If you own a business and you’re wondering whether you should accept Dogecoin for payments, you should read this informative post on why and how to accept Dogecoin. James also wrote about CoinPayments, a plugin for WooCommerce .
Tipping. Dogecoin doesn’t have to be serious. Most of the people involved with the coin don’t do it for the monetary value. Instead, they take part in the wonderful community (see next section) and spend their DOGE to tip others who provide thoughtful and interesting content.
Tips can be sent to another person directly if you know their Dogecoin address, but most tipping occurs through automated bots. Reddit has a tipbot called /u/dogetipbot and Twitter has a tipbot called @tipdoge.
Trading. If you’re into investments and speculation, you can play the trading game with Dogecoin by buying low and selling high against other cryptocurrencies. It’s a fun way to “play the markets” without risking your fiat money (assuming you didn’t buy your DOGE with fiat).
Reputable exchange sites include Kraken, Bter, and Vircurex [Broken URL Removed]. Whatever you do, stay away from Cryptsy and Coins-E as both sites have proven to be somewhat unreliable and incompetent.
The Dogecoin Community
The largest and most central Dogecoin community can be found on Reddit at /r/dogecoin. There you’ll find all of the wonderful people who make the aforementioned fundraising drives successful. The developers of the coin are also active within the community, which is rare when compared to other cryptocurrencies.
Everyone is welcome. The Dogecoin community is such a warm-hearted bunch of people and they always have their arms open, ready to welcome in anyone who’s interested in the magic of digital coins. Never heard of it? Have a million questions? Just want to see what the fuss is about? Come one, come all.
Hilarious and uplifting. The lighthearted nature of the doge meme is good for the soul. You’ll laugh, you’ll smile, and you’ll be swept away by the strange kindness that oozes from every Shibe (the colloquial term for Dogecoin users).
Constantly expanding. In 4 months, the Dogecoin community went from 0 users to 70,000+ users. Those numbers are still growing and there’s no sign that they’ll stop.
Getting Started With Dogecoin
You’ve gotten this far. Are you intrigued? Do you want to give Dogecoin a shot and see how it plays out for you?
There are a few ways to get your hands on your first DOGE, but first you must set up a wallet. A wallet is a simple program that tracks your Dogecoin balance. Every Dogecoin user has one and it’s required to proceed, so check out the official wallet quickstart guide before moving on.
Faucets. Faucets are sites that give out free DOGE and they usually operate on a once-per-day basis, though some sites are more or less frequent. Use the list of faucets at FreeDogecoins to get started.
Tips. If you introduce yourself as a newbie to the Dogecoin community, most users will send you a quick tip to get your wallet started. They’ll also tip you if you create interesting or funny original content. For the lazy, /r/dogecoinbeg exists as a place where you can beg for free coins.
Mining. As with all digital currencies, DOGE must be mined. It’s an intermediate-level activity with a small bit of risk – if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can fry your computer parts.
We have a guide to Litecoin mining which is applicable here since Dogecoin is based on Litecoin. Once you’ve gotten to grips with that guide, you should read this Dogecoin mining guide for more specific details.
Whether you believe in digital coins as the currency of the future or just want to learn more about the whole cryptocurrency movement, Dogecoin is a fantastic first coin. It isn’t as serious as Bitcoin, it’s extremely newbie-friendly, and the barrier to entry is pretty much nonexistent.
There’s a reason why Dogecoin became the 3rd largest coin as quickly as it did. Isn’t it about time you get involved?
Image Credit: Pile of Dogecoins