Dogecoin is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies, being used by cryptocurrency enthusiasts all over the world for over six years. Dogecoin was a part of a mini alt-coin boom that was created in the wake of a huge Bitcoin bull run in 2013. Whenever a technology, company, or person has success you can almost guarantee there will be a round of copy cats trying to capture a part of that success.
The first altcoin was Namecoin, next came Litecoin, then came our beloved alt-coin boom in 2013 that bequeathed us Dogecoin. Much wow. Much riches.
Many alt-coins in the early boom were simple copies of Bitcoin with a few parameter changes. For instance, almost all of the early alt-coins were using proof of work as their consensus mechanism, were trying to be internet currencies, and the protocols themselves were written in C++ just like Bitcoin. In contrast to today, we have a wide variety of digital assets with very different purposes and thus very different architectures compared to Bitcoin and the early alt-coin booms.
But what’s important about the early alt-coin boom, even though the early alt-coins aren’t much different than bitcoin, they’ve proven that you could be just a little different than bitcoin and still play a role in the crypto-ecosystem.
Billy Markus & Jackson Palmer
Billy Markus, a programmer and early cryptocurrency enthusiast, wanted to make digital currency more friendly and help it shed its shady perception, created by the media at large, and financial media more specifically. From 2011-2013 the little press bitcoin received was usually in a negative tint, only focusing on the ways people might use it for illicit purposes and hardly ever taking the time to actually understand this new technology and the community around it.
Jackson Palmer, also a developer and another cryptocurrency enthusiast, also wanted to make the cryptocurrency space more friendly and give it more mainstream appeal. He ended up buying the domain name dogecoin.com, and naming his potential coin after the famous internet meme of a dog photographed by its Japanese owner.
Markus and Palmer eventually joined forces and created the dogecoin cryptocurrency on December 6, 2013. Since then the crypto community has picked it up and ran with it, growing way past its founders who don’t have much if any role in the network currently. The doge community has always presented itself and shown itself to be a very funky, funny, and welcoming community, staying true to the meme it chose as its symbol.
Not many people know this or remember this, but the Doge community, true to form, raised $30,000 USD for the Jamaican bobsled team in 2014. If that isn’t good humor put to good use we don’t know what is.
Parameter Changes: Inflation, Blocktimes, & Merge-mining
Markus, Palmer, and other dogecoin devs created a similar cryptocurrency to Litecoin and Bitcoin, but it was and is still unique in its own ways:
- Doge has always had faster block times (1 minute) than Bitcoin (10 minutes) and Litecoin (2 minutes).
- Palmer originally capped the DOGE token supply at 100 billion DOGE. But in February 2014, the cap was abolished and an unlimited amount of DOGE can be created overtime, shifting the cryptocurrency from a deflationary to an inflationary supply model. The block reward is now fixed at 10,000 DOGE per block, with one block being mined every one minute. Doge is an inflationary currency in the sense that 10,000 Doge will be created in each valid block, but its inflation rate is diminishing with each block just like in Bitcoin and Litecoin. The difference between Doge and neworks like BTC and LTC, is that Dogecoin has no ultimate end to the 10,000 doge per block inflation rate, otherwise known as “Doge-flation”. The Doge-flation rate will approach but never hit zero like it will with BTC and LTC.
- Dogecoin launched with the proof of work algorithm scrypt, which was used by the Litecoin network at the time as well. The reasoning behind using algorithms like scrypt usually seemed to be twofold: bitcoin miners, who run sha-256, can attack your chain with their equipment if you ran the same hashing algorithm and some developers thought that scrypt would help ward off ASICs that had come to dominated Bitcoin mining.
- More interestingly in September 2014, Dogecoin became one of the few chains to successfully implement merge-mining. Merge mining refers to the use of the work done for one blockchain (i.e., parent blockchain) on other smaller child blockchains. Put simply, the work that Litecoin miners put into mine LTC is considered valid work on the Dogecoin network as well. So Litecoin miners that are merge-mining LTC and DOGE get both LTC and DOGE rewards for the same mining work. Litecoin miners were both threats and competitors to DOGE mining at one time, but in true Doge spirit they’ve been able to utilize the strength of Litecoin miners and turn them into friends. For the time being. Much friendship.
Dogecoin started as a kind of silly project, with an internet meme as its symbol, but underneath the meme, the Dogecoin network itself has been used for over six years with no end in sight, loved by scores of people all over the world.
Dogecoin, symbolized by a funny, global meme has been useful for years as a reliable trading pair on crypto-exchanges and has been a fast, cheap payment rail in crypto markets all over the world, accounting for a considerable amount of economic activity in crypto-land.
Doge has stood the test of time and we’re proud to support so much wow for so long. The Dogecoin community is a great reminder to not take yourself, life, and money too seriously and that it’s very possible to be serious and have fun at the same time.