The Node: Dogecoin Is a Joke, Get Over It

Save the internet intellectualizing for another day.

AccessTimeIconApr 20, 2021 at 4:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:44 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconApr 20, 2021 at 4:40 p.m. UTCUpdated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:44 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconApr 20, 2021 at 4:40 p.m. UTCUpdated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:44 p.m. UTC

Is the dogecoin joke really on us pundits who try to make sense of the whole thing?

That’s essentially the take from Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal today. The Shiba Inu phenomenon has nothing to do with decentralization or stores of value or any other high-minded crypto concept like bitcoin, he writes. It’s beyond serious explanation.

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“Nobody can talk with a straight face when it comes to dogecoin,” he writes. “... Really, all the talking points go out the window with DOGE.”

“Bitcoiners who have made an extraordinary sum of money in a short period of time love to talk about how they’re taking on the [Federal Reserve] or taking on the banks or enabling some kind of peaceful revolution … Basically, dogecoin is like bitcoin stripped of the virtue signaling.”

The ultimate meme-coin has jumped from less than $0.02 at the end of January to more than $0.40 last night. Its market cap is now $50 billion-plus, according to CoinDesk’s numbers. And the momentum shows no signs of slowing. Today is #DogeDay on Twitter and the coin is set to win more internet friends.

Brands are noticing. Last week, meat stick maker Slim Jim unveiled its dogecoin “strategy,” pushing another ATH. And today the Mars confectionery company is promoting its Snickers and Milky Way brands with “Dogecoinrise” labels.

There have been many attempts to explain DOGE, including on these pages. CoinDesk’s Emily Parker said it represented a victory of “collective belief” and a longing for a purer form of crypto (i.e., for bitcoin before it became a mainstream thing).

Adam Levine, our podcast editor, said last week that DOGE had become “the joke currency to beat” in light of the Slim Jim news.

“Just as bitcoin is the consensus pick for people looking for ‘predictable moneyness’ in their currency, dogecoin is looking like the consensus pick for people who want ‘meme-y wackiness’ in their currency,” he wrote.

He added: “Everybody wants to be in on the joke, which pushes up the price, which makes the joke even bigger. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. Sort of like bitcoin but for the luls.”

See also: Michael Casey – Memes Mean Money

Weisenthal isn’t having any of this high-mindedness, because the point of DOGE is essentially anti-intellectual.

This may be hard to take for people who believe in crypto’s ameliorative potential. But Weisenthal is surely right that you can spend too much time trying to understand the mind of the internet. Dogecoin is a joke and it’s funnier because the price goes higher and more people are laughing at it. That’s it.

Whatever the long-term implications of meme-culture for companies and society (including the scary notion that memes may be as important now as, say, product development), let’s leave the intellectualizing for another time. On Dogeday, it's enough to sit back and enjoy the fun of this runaway train careering through another station.

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