The Indicator from Planet Money - Who Let The Doge(coin) Out?

Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency created in 2013 as a joke, recently broke a $10 billion market cap. The coin's creator tells us how the joke became real and if he has regrets.

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1 Cardiff and Stacy here. This is the indicator from Planet Money and heard if it is time for us to check in with our old friend of me cryptocurrency. Yeah, it's Avenue moments most definitely Italian moment. And a lot of it is because of everybody's favorite crypto booster Elon Musk Elon Musk. Yes, so his car company Tesla will reportedly start accepting Bitcoin as payment and he's apparently bought 1.5 billion dollars worth of bitcoin. We just a lot of money and it helped boost bitcoin's value up to a record your least $50,000 per Bitcoin crazy. Also just did not stop there a huge boost to a cryptocurrency known as Dogecoin took to Twitter.

Turn off a couple of Dogecoin jokes little memes including there was a picture of Doge magazines like Vogue magazine, but for Dogecoin also started tweeting about those wine and Gene Simmons of Kiss as well. And before you knew it those coins market value was up past 10 billion dollars. What a world we live in and you don't go to bed vs. I'm kind of watching all this unfold we kept thinking back to this conversation that we had with Jackson Palmer one of the creators of Dogecoin back in 2018. Jackson told us all about the kind of strange origin story of this cryptocurrency Dogecoin and why he himself does not actually own any of it. There was a mixed feelings that he has about those quaint that conversation with some updates after the break.

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My name is Jackson Palmer. I'm based out of San Francisco, California and I'm a product manager and and back in 2013. I created Dogecoin Point does a gold rush back then in cryptocurrency? And I I've been monitoring that to a certain degree in I knew was getting a little bit bubbly when people at work were talking about it. And so I wouldn't investigate and I noticed there was a lot more for the cold out coins are alternative coins coming on the market and you know, whatever a coin like Litecoin feathercoin that a bunch of this is a market in are released to the wild answer. What I noticed was that the prices are inflating and people making a lot of money out of it and I was like this seems a little shady meme call doetsch. It was a picture of a dog Shiba Inu. And it had this goofy Comic Sans writing all around it with phrases like much amazed and so good at gramatik.

Challenge phrase matically challenge phrases. Yeah, and then one day it all came together. I come home for the day. I'm in an Australian kind of tradition United cracked open a beer and I was just sitting around and in the way kind of came together was it I had one browser tab open with this article about doors and right next to it. I had coinmarketcap, which is it is a very popular website for checking evaluations of cryptocurrencies. My tab names kind of almost spelled it out for me in a way. That is so Dogecoin. That's hilarious answer just as a joke. I tweeted I think it might November 22nd that I was going to invest in Dogecoin because I thought it would be the next big thing actually great idea and a friend of his in the tech industry is like what the hell let's make Dogecoin a real thing. It's easy to make a new crypto-currency and it'll be like a fun project understand how this stuff really works. And so they create.

Okay, you have a joke that is turning into a thing. Did you buy doges? I mean, I don't know he didn't you know your second thought isn't how do I monetize this jug for a couple of hundred bucks worth but isn't thickening of it and then the price of Dogecoin starts to take off Jackson and his partner decide if a coin is going to be a thing in the world. Let's make it something we can be proud of not a place where people go to get rich but a place where people go to learn about cryptocurrency and maybe do some good on the Dogecoin subreddit. They started suggesting giving dogecoins to charity and then someone was like, hey, I heard the Jamaican bobsled team is trying to raise money to go to the Winter Olympics. So sure why not and

Yeah, yeah. So we we posted exactly sir. We posted we posted a Dogecoin address and you know, my friend and I in Australia or sitting around me like this is never going to watch this is preposterous, but we were out that night at like a pub somewhere and a phone started buzzing and it was like in twenty-four hours. We've raised like $30,000 to send the Jamaican bobsled team to the Winter Olympics guide dogs to drill wells in Kenya things were going great until they weren't whenever you have something and it's going really successful. You have a successful Community like that and there's a monetary element to it. It's like blood in the water right like shocks can like smell it from miles away.

Someone on the Dogecoin subreddit convinced a lot of people to invest a lot of Dogecoin in a new crypto-currency business. The business was really shady it claps and people lost their money and you know, it really ended the potty right because it was like this thing that was you know, it had a dog on it. How could that mean Ur ever be, you know your kind of associated with people losing all that amount of money by the end of 2014 and I was kind of backed out and by 2015. I was completely out of Dogecoin. You don't have a doge not one. I'd given all those. Let the flick the five million notes when I had which wasn't worth a lot. I gave that to all those those charity things that we were running. So it was pretty much all done through that and I didn't have any for myself right now.

I am the realest. Yes. That's correct. He's a little rough because right now pose.

$1,000 but Jackson has been kind of watching all this drama unfold from a distance. So Jackson, there's a tremendous irony here that I'm sure is not lost on you, which is it you are a Critic of all these other kinds of cryptocurrencies that were being formed and that were attracting all these buyers and then on a lark you would go on to found a cryptocurrency whose very success would reflect the same Trend that you were so deeply skeptical of

Yeah, tell me about it. Right the the irony is definitely definitely not lost on me. I feel guilty enough for creating Dogecoin, which I'm sure that I know that people lost money on the pots and that and that pains me to you. Wish you hadn't created it.

I thought that's at my I think I wouldn't change creating it. I think in a way. Explain acts for many people and I've had several people that have come up to me and said look Dogecoin was the first thing that got me into cryptocurrency and because of it. I have a reality check on I'm on the hall specs and that makes me feel good because they came in they understood how it worked and then it gave them the context that if this thing with a dog on it can like pumpkin price by 10 x 1 day.

They're like, yeah this whole thing's crazy. Right and it really is crazy cryptocurrency is just notoriously volatile that you just one example back in 2018 Bitcoin lost half of its value in just a few weeks. And there's also time when the indicator actually bought some cryptocurrency is. A few years ago and let's just say it didn't end. Well, the less said about the better on our website if you want to go back in and relive those terrible memories and its holy crap. Wow.

This episode of the indicator was originally produced by Darius rafie on the update was produced by General Huxtable and fact check by Sam's I the indicator is edited by Patty Hirsch and is a production of NPR.
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