While cryptocurrencies have been all the rage since the beginning of 2020, most people would have heard of or invested in Bitcoin or Ethereum at the most, as they are the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world. Other crypto tokens have also done extremely well during this time, but it is these two currencies that have seen the most real-world adoption. However, in the last few months, another cryptocurrency has delivered returns that not even Bitcoin or Ethereum can come close to matching. We are, of course, talking about Dogecoin – the crypto token based on a meme that has risen by several thousand percent just in 2021 and has made millionaires out of some of the early adopters as a result.
Dogecoin is based on the popular ‘doge’ meme, which takes the image of a Shiba Inu dog. The creators of this cryptocurrency, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, intended it to be a joke, poking fun at the wild speculation and volatility in crypto prices. It is therefore quite ironic that Dogecoin is subject to the same wild price swings, and in fact, it is now notorious for this very reason, having risen by as much as 20,000% YTD at one point earlier this year. Even now, with its price at around 0.30%, it is still nearly 6,500% higher than at the same point in 2020, which shows just how incredible its rise has been in this period. It is therefore inevitable that such a sharp increase will have been extremely attractive to many holders of these tokens, and there are quite a few Dogecoin holders in Australia today who have become millionaires as a result.
Regan Gallagher, who was a Ph.D. student in Melbourne in 2014, when Dogecoin had just been released and had barely made any ripples in the crypto industry, is now one of the foremost names in terms of the Australian Dogecoin sector. Dr. Gallagher set up a crypto exchange in 2014 to allow Australians to buy and sell Dogecoin, and while that exchange has now shut down, those transactions allowed many of his fellow countrymen to access this cryptocurrency, with the total volume of trading on the platform estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Of course, there are many people who did not get in at the right time, or even more, unfortunately, sold off their Dogecoin early before this current rally, but at the same time, there are multiple stories of investors who held on and have made mini-fortunes as a result. In the early years of the token, a few hundred dollars could get you thousands of Doge tokens, and there are multiple posts on Reddit which are akin to watching people buying lottery-winning tickets. One user, for example, wrote that he had “ordered 177000 Doge through PayPal” – which would now be worth nearly A$70,000. There is the example of the man from a small town in South Australia, who has made so much from Dogecoin that he has been able to quit his job and start a computer repair business. He says that he has “made enough to take a few years off without being concerned about money”. There are even stories of those who bought tokens in 2013 and 2014 but did not think it would amount to anything, and therefore cannot find the electronic keys to their wallets, losing out on thousands of dollars in the process. One such story has had a happy ending though – Gallagher talks of an acquaintance of his who had bought Dogecoin in 2014 but then forgotten about it, and now, years later, when his investment was worth over A$250,000, was able to find the key to his wallet in a folder titled ‘Delete’ on his computer. However, according to Dr. Gallagher, nearly two-thirds of all the Dogecoin traded via his exchange has been lost, which also shows just how unlikely this token’s rise has been.
Dr. Gallagher himself has probably made enough from Dogecoin to be able to retire and not have to work anymore, but he is in it for the ‘freedom’ it gives him – namely, not having his money in a bank or otherwise linked to the global financial system, which he believes is flawed and prone to collapse.