Some fans of the joke cryptocurrency dogecoin had positioned Tuesday as a day to send its prices skyrocketing – to $1, or maybe just a meme-y 69 cents. On the meme-y date of April 20, or 4/20.
Prices for the eight-year-old cryptocurrency, ticker DOGE, had surged more than 60-fold this year to a market value of more than $40 billion. So it seemed like anything was possible. Social media posters dubbed it “dogeday.”
But as of midafternoon, the joke appeared to be on the dogecoin holders. As of press time, the token, symbolized by the Shiba Inu dog breed, was down 21% on the day, to the decidedly unremarkable price of 34 cents. Earlier it had fallen to as low as 29 cents.
“Many retail crypto traders were hoping for today to be a successful ‘Dogeday’ by sending dogecoin to the moon,” wrote Edward Moya, senior market analyst for the brokerage Oanda. “Some were eyeing the $0.50 level as an area to take some profit, with others having outlandish hopes of a skyrocketing move to the $1 mark. The current retail fervor probably won’t completely give up on dogecoin, but a sell-the-event reaction could be in the cards.”
The DOGE dump came even as at least one analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence’s Mike McGlone, wrote that the cryptocurrency might be due for further gains.
“Gaining somewhat of a global cult following, we see little to stop DOGE from continuing to appreciate, at least in the near term,” McGlone, a commodity strategist known for his prescient bitcoin price predictions last year, wrote Tuesday in a report. “Dogecoin may be casino-like fun.”
It was a shot of water in the face for DOGE fans who may have instead been looking for a treat – in the form of fast profits or instant fortunes.
A remaining question is whether this year’s gains in dogecoin might draw fresh capital and labor to the project, similar to the way last year’s pump in GameStop shares led to a $1 billion capital raise, a search for new management and potentially a transition to an e-commerce strategy. At one point, dogecoin had a market value bigger than the centuries-old U.K. bank Barclays.
Blockchain data shows that activity is increasing on the network: Active Dogecoin addresses have climbed to record, and transactions are at a seven-year high, according to the analytics firm Coin Metrics. CoinDesk reported earlier this year that project development on the blockchain has picked up, with top contributions from Bitcoin Core developers, based on activity on the open-source software site GitHub.
Within broader digital-asset markets, the DOGE frenzy appeared to spread to decentralized finance (DeFi), where several imitator tokens have chalked up staggering single-day gains.
The first is SHIB (get it? Shiba Inu?), a decentralized experimental token nicknamed the “dogecoin killer,” trading on the decentralized exchange Uniswap. The token, launched under the Ethereum blockchain’s ERC-20 standard, has rallied over 5,000% in the past four weeks and rose 95% on Monday alongside DOGE’s rally to record highs near 43 cents. The coin has registered a trading volume of over $200 million in the past 24 hours, Uniswap data shows.
Another coin, weed doge (WOGE), launched this week, allegedly in a bid to donate funds to people considered unjustly jailed for marijuana-related offenses. WOGE rallied 1,058% from to $0.0950 on Monday though was last seen trading near $0.0170 on Uniswap.
“Since DOGE has been taking care of us and providing us with godly profits this bull run, we also wanted to create a meaningful coin that gives back to the people in a handful of ways,” says a post on CryptoMoonShots Reddit page.
Most of this ridiculousness is seen as evidence of froth in cryptocurrency markets, at a time when bitcoin prices have doubled this year – ostensibly as a hedge against inflation, in the wake of trillions of dollars of money printing by the Federal Reserve and other central banks.
Bloomberg’s McGlone noted that dogecoin had demonstrated “divergent strength” as bitcoin’s price has retreated in recent days. The report was published prior to Tuesday’s losses in dogecoin.
But sometimes, apparently, the DOGE doesn’t come when called.