Cryptocurrency markets have matured in the past 12 months, with macroeconomics and blockchain-technology developments influencing prices more than ever and new Wall Street firms buying in seemingly every other day.
So it's refreshing that dogecoin (DOGE), which was created in 2013 as a joke, continues to be a source of amusement even as it, too, shows signs of leaving its playful puppy days behind.
The digital token, symbolized by the Shiba Inu dog breed, shot up to a six-week high Thursday after a tweet by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur whose DOGE-friendly announcements earlier this year have also led to rapid price increases.
"SpaceX is going to put a literal dogecoin on the literal moon," Musk tweeted at around 10:25 UTC (6:25 a.m. ET) today. Musk's tweet did not explain how this seemingly impossible feat would be accomplished, as by definition digital currencies have no physical structures and therefore aren't literal anythings. Perhaps the tweet being sent on April Fool's may have had something to do with it.
April Fool's Day joke or not, the tweet by the noted DOGE whisperer sent the cryptocurrency bounding from roughly $0.053 to $0.070, according to data provider CoinGecko. The 32% rise took the cryptocurrency to the level last seen on Feb. 13 and marked the end of a week-long slumber in the range of $0.050-$0.055. The token's market capitalization is now $8.2 billion.
Musk has previously called dogecoin "the people's crypto" and the cryptocurrency of Mars.
The billionaire investor also warned of too much concentration in the cryptocurrency in February, triggering a price drop. Last month, Musk supported the idea of DOGE's listing on the U.S.-based Coinbase exchange.
While it appears as though the price of dogecoin is at the mercy of Musk’s usually humorous tweets, largely because of the publicity he's given it, the digital token is now actually being used for purposes that are not just about speculation and yuks.
Companies such as medical-supplier CovCare, sports brand Wooter Apparel and basketball team Dallas Mavericks have adopted dogecoin as an alternative means of payment. Meanwhile, the surge in the token's price has caused technical development on the cryptocurrency to resume, threatening to turn the lighthearted token into a much more serious breed of DOGE.
Should that happen, the world of crypto will have a little less joy in it.
The cryptocurrency's price had already started returning to Earth as this story was being written: As of press time, the price had fallen back to 6.1 cents, trimming the day's gains to 14%.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.