Dogecoin tipping has become a kind of social activity within the digital currency community, making the currency as much a form of expression as a medium of exchange. As evidenced by even a cursory glance at the dogecoin subreddit or community forums, many of those who use the meme-themed currency often donate more than they actually spend in the traditional sense.
The DOGEhio River Adventure is, in part, a test to see just how far one person can go with the power of donated dogecoins. For Erik Barnum, this means undertaking a serious challenge: navigating the Ohio River with only his wits, his canoe and the support of the community.
Barnum provides regular updates on social media, including the project’s dedicated Facebook page, and posts on the dogecoin subreddit. The trip down the Ohio is entirely funded by dogecoin donations and is an experiment to see how digital currency can support real-world efforts through social tipping. For some, this function is one of the altcoin’s chief use cases.
Barnum said that the project is a way for him to demonstrate the collective power of the people in the dogecoin community. At the same time, he said the initiative is also about trying to live life to the fullest by going into the unexpected – with a little help from some digital currency.
He told CoinDesk:
“I intend to showcase the strength of the dogecoin community, the value of dogecoin as a currency, the ease of turning Doge to cash armed with only a cell phone, and make a great doge-cumentary about my survival. I also hope to make a bunch of new friends while spreading awareness for adventure.”
Barnum, who goes by the name RiverDoge online and has earned the support of many in the dogecoin community, said that the adventure hasn’t always been easy. But thanks to the support of those who believe in him and a little inspiration from the currency itself, Barnum called the project an adventure that “may never stop”.
Origin of a DOGE adventure
Barnum originally got into dogecoin after mining litecoin with a friend and fellow mining enthusiast. Calling himself an early adopter, he said that he benefited from the altcoin’s rise and, as a result, feels a need to give back and help promote it as best he can.
Prior to embarking on his journey, Barnum worked as a manager at a cell phone store. He said he was “married” to the position and was looking for a way to break out of it. During this time he became involved with dogecoin and began forming ideas about how dogecoin can serve as a vehicle for social commerce and digital value exchange.
Adding that dogecoin could be the future of crowdsourcing art and social initiatives, Barnum told CoinDesk that eventually he knew he had to fully commit to promoting dogecoin through some way.
“Quitting a job I began to hate, for an adventure I love was the best decision of my entire life. I could go on and on but I will end by saying if you hate your job, quit! Go on an adventure. If you do it for dogecoin you will not only survive, but you will live well.”
In the wild lands
The Ohio River is a 981 mile-long river that cuts a line through six US states. Stretching from Pennsylvania to Illinois, the Ohio is one of the longest rivers in the country, and the Ohio River Basin is home to 10% of the US population.
According to Barnum, life outdoors hasn’t always been easy. He told CoinDesk a recent experience resulting from exposure to poison ivy was probably the worst part of the trip so far considering the unfortunate circumstances.
“I will spare you the details,” he joked.
Barnum said that one of the best aspects of his journey thus far has been the addition of another to his adventure party. Saying that “he is not an imaginary friend like Wilson”, Barnum explained that he met a fellow river-traveler named Marc who joined his dogecoin-powered adventure after a fateful lunch.
He added that the dogecoin community quickly took to the new companion, dubbing him Yoda for his “esoteric quotes” and sense of humor. For Barnum and his project, this was a big step forward and the journey was changed for the better.
He told CoinDesk:
“After some conversation and eating lunch together, we decided to tie his kayak to the back of my canoe and paddle together. We have been paddling together ever since. The journey was fun solo, but the journeys and adventures have exponentially increased after meeting Yoda.”
To far off places
When asked where he’ll go after he’s finished navigating the Ohio, which empties into the Mississippi River and traces a long line south across North America to the Gulf of Mexico, Barnum said he has no plans to stop.
Saying the ultimate goal is “spreading the doge to new markets”, Barnum suggested that the adventure would arguably continue as long as the community is still around – not to mention the altcoin itself.
“I will probably continue paddling down the Mississippi until I hit the Gulf of Mexico. Then peel around South America and hit Brazil. Hopefully at that point I have enough dogecoin to fly to Asia to walk the great wall of China. From there I plan to buy a sailboat with a dogecoin sail, and work on my next album as I sail to Europe.”
This, he joked, would get him as far as next year. While one could argue that the moon might be an appropriate stop after that, Barnum was sure that his DOGE-powered journey had no end in sight.
“This adventure may never stop,” he said.
Images via DOGEhio River Adventure, Wikimedia, Shutterstock