If you want to see the power of payments in cryptocurrency, look no further than dogecoin.
The created-as-a-joke crypto beloved of Tesla CEO Elon Musk soared 20% Friday (Jan. 14) when Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla will take DOGE in payment.
Tesla merch buyable with Dogecoin
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 14, 2022
That’s right. Walk into one of Musk’s showrooms, take some dogecoin out of your digital wallet, and you can walk out the proud owner of a Tesla… hoodie. Or a vastly overpriced 128 gigabyte flash drive.
But the closest you’ll get to a Model 3 is a set of $225 floormats. Well, that’s not entirely true. You can buy a Model 3 — diecast at 1:18 scale, for a mere $175.
So, what else can you buy with dogecoin? Well, a gift card that will let you buy video games at GameStop, airline seats at Travala.com and fan memorabilia at American Airlines Arena — home of dogecoin fan Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks basketball team. You can also tip creators on Twitter and eat at a Maryland diner.
That’s not entirely fair. Crypto payments processor BitPay will let you load dogecoin (and other cryptocurrencies) onto a Mastercard-branded debit card, so technically you can spend DOGE at millions of businesses.
Who’s Laughing Now?
Created in few hours by a pair of developers back in 2013, dogecoin developed a small but loyal following on the basis of a mining reward system intended to make it unusable and a logo stripped from a then-popular meme of a shiba inu dog.
Dogecoin’s market capitalization is $25 billion at this writing.
That’s substantially more than it was Wednesday (Jan. 12) thanks to a software developer who discovered a hidden page for accepting dogecoin in payment while trolling through its source code. Today, Tesla confirmed the news, and DOGE’s market cap rose $2 billion.
Dogecoin’s rocket ship rise from obscurity began a year ago, when Musk began tweeting out memes about it. On New Year’s Day 2021, it was under $0.006, rising to $0.73 in May before following the crypto bear market to its current $0.19.
It’s widely acknowledged that the DOGE boom is largely down to Musk, and that he can move the price quite dramatically on a whim. A February tweet that he had bought his newborn some DOGE so that little X Æ A-Xii (that is the boy’s legal name) “can be a toddler hodler” — using the crypto insider term for a holder who saves crypto long term rather than trading it — saw dogecoin’s price spike 16%.
Bought some Dogecoin for lil X, so he can be a toddler hodler
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 10, 2021
That said, Musk can have a similar, although not as intense, impact on bitcoin’s price.
Mocked Into Usability
The thing is, despite the silliness — or possibly because of it — dogecoin may be becoming a serious cryptocurrency. Currently the No. 12 crypto by market cap, DOGE may not be accepted by PayPal, but it does have a loud and active following that makes a habit of campaigning to get businesses to accept it.
And DOGE is covered on mainstream news sites like CNBC, CNN, The Wall Street Journal and the BBC News — admittedly not very seriously, but in a field as crowded as cryptocurrency payments, coverage is coverage.
And really, Musk’s announcement wasn’t a complete shock. For one thing, he did briefly announce Tesla would sell cars for bitcoin before backing off after environmentalists and environment, social and governance (ESG) investors pointed out that a company that sells green electric cars would be supporting the highly polluting bitcoin industry. Musk also said he will bring bitcoin back if it gets greener.
As for dogecoin, Musk hinted at the payments news in May and tweeted Dec. 14 that “Tesla will make some merch buyable with Doge & see how it goes.”
Tesla will make some merch buyable with Doge & see how it goes
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 14, 2021
Which does hint, or maybe tease, that one day soon, you might be able to buy a 1:1 scale Model 3 with dogecoin.