As the price of Bitcoin continues to fall from its height of $1,000, another, lesser-known cryptocurrency is having its day in the sun.
It’s called Dogecoin, and while its value is nowhere near Bitcoin’s, its popularity is spiking this week thanks to 4chan users.
Over the past three days 4chan’s random imageboard, /b, has been engaging in what can best be described as Dogecoin Christmas. In more than three dozen threads, /b/ users have been giving each other dogecoins—sometimes up to 10,000 coins at once.
Dogecoin was launched on Dec. 6 as the first open-source, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency based on the “Shibe” or “Doge” meme, a popular photo featuring a dog that shows what he’s thinking in Comic Sans. Doge’s unique use of language has made it 2013’s funnier answer to lolcats.
There are currently more than 7 billion dogecoins on the market, with a cap of 100 billion that can eventually be mined. The current value is set at $ 0.00025 per dogecoin. In comparison, there are 12 million bitcoins on the market, valued at about $700 per coin.
So if one Dogecoin is worth less than the lint between your toes, why is /b/ going crazy over it? There’s two answers: It’s all for fun and wishful thinking.
4chan users were early adopters of the Doge meme— /b/ raided reddit with Shiba Inu pictures before Doge really became popular—and they’re fans of cryptocurrency in general. A /b/ user just paid for a Lamborghini entirely in Bitcoin.
But with basically no place to spend them, and the conversion rate being roughly 2.8 million dogecoins to 1 bitcoin, gifting dogecoins is just a way to spread good cheer and lulz. Or, as a few /b/ users have suggested, this is a way to establish the currency and market it.
And from the looks of it, Dogecoin Christmas couldn’t have come at a better time.
Third-party Bitcoin payment companies have allegedly been banned from doing business with the People’s Bank of China, according to a report Monday from Business Insider. This news broke around the same time a business owner on Reddit was told by Chase Bank that “any activity involving Bitcoin … is banned from our company.”
Dogecoin has a long way to go before it is taken seriously. It currently sits in 22nd place on a list of all cryptocurrency market capitalizations with $2.1 million.
If that happens to change, there could be a couple hundred /b/ users dropping dogecoins on Lamborghinis.
Illustration by Jason Reed