Atsuko Sato adopted a Shiba Inu from an animal shelter, and eventually took the famous Doge picture in 2010. The picture itself is entrancing, something like a hybrid between the Mona Lisa and a disturbed Shiba Inu. It is impossible to tell what exactly the shibe is thinking, leaving people open to interpret its thoughts. Someone on the internet posted the shibe’s possible thoughts all over the image in pastel colors (below image), and the Doge meme was born, and soon proliferated across the internet. This is ultimately what led to the creation of Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency ranked #21 on CoinMarketCap with a market cap of USD 279 million. Although Dogecoin started with just a meme, it now has one of the most active communities in the crypto space, and will likely be a major cryptocurrency long term.
Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer were cryptocurrency enthusiasts who also loved the Doge meme, and that led them to launch Dogecoin on 6 December 2013. There were only 59 cryptocurrencies on CoinMarketCap when Dogecoin was listed, and Dogecoin was certainly the first memecoin. Dogecoin rapidly became successful, with the first Dogecoin rally on 19 December 2013. Dogecoin’s early success led to numerous other crypto enthusiasts launching meme and joke coins, but none of them succeeded in the long run. Dogecoin is the only memecoin that has become a major cryptocurrency, most of the others have totally failed.
Practically all of the cryptocurrencies that have launched in 2017 and 2018 utilized initial coin offerings (ICOs), making them impossible to obtain without buying them. Dogecoin on the other hand had a humble and fair launch, with zero premine, and profitable mining from the beginning. Dogecoin uses the Scrypt Proof of Work algorithm, and back when Dogecoin launched it was easy to earn significant amounts of Dogecoin with a personal or gaming computer. This made Dogecoin very attractive to crypto miners, since miners could earn numerous coins even with the cheapest mining setup, versus Litecoin mining where it took weeks or months to earn an entire Litecoin. There is definitely a psychological boost when miners receive entire coins rapidly, versus small fractions of a coin. To this day Dogecoin continues to be a #1 choice for people mining via Scrypt Proof of Work on personal computers, which causes a continuous flow of new users into the Dogecoin community. This gives Dogecoin a competitive edge over many of the newer cryptocurrencies.
What makes Dogecoin truly unique is its active and friendly community. There are many Dogecoin forums and chats, but the r/dogecoin subreddit is the central nerve of the Dogecoin world. Back in 2014 and 2015 Dogecoin tips were raining down from the sky in r/dogecoin, which caused many people that never used cryptocurrency before to begin using Dogecoin, since they would get some Dogecoins for free, and then begin using and talking about Dogecoin. This made r/dogecoin and Dogecoin itself fun, if not addicting. Tipping continues to this day on r/dogecoin.
The atmosphere of tipping and friendliness made r/dogecoin the perfect environment for crypto newcomers. New crypto users learned about creating their first wallet, mining cryptocurrency, trading cryptocurrency, developing crypto apps, and how to objectively analyze ongoing events in the crypto space, and were rewarded throughout the process. Compare this to the central nerve of the Bitcoin community, which is r/Bitcoin and Bitcointalk, which has very useful information, but a more aggressive community and barely any tipping. Fundamentally this is because the Bitcoin community is focused on making money, while the Dogecoin community is focused on giving away money to build a better world.
Dogecoin continues to onboard many new crypto users, and numerous veteran crypto users like Dogecoin and continue to buy it and use it, since that is where they started. Just like people grow up in a certain place and like to stay there or visit, many crypto users grew up in the Dogecoin community and never stop coming back.
Essentially, Dogecoin is the gateway to the crypto space, and will probably hold that position long term. There is no other crypto community that is so focused on helping others, since most crypto communities are focused on competitive money making. Therefore, Dogecoin appears to have the right stuff to stay near the top of the CoinMarketCap rankings for the foreseeable future.