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Dogecoin is not the first cryptocurrency to be inspired by an online joke, but it’s without doubt the most successful. It went from parody to real asset in a matter of a few weeks in 2021. If you’re serious about crypto then Doge is a currency worth taking seriously — even if you don’t get the joke.
Dogecoin (or DOGE, or Ð) is the invention of software engineer double-act Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, who introduced the coin in late 2013. The former worked for IBM, while the latter worked for Adobe. Their creation was designed to be a more approachable alternative to Bitcoin, which used a scrypt (that’s s-crypt) hash function.
- In 2013, The Verge described dogecoin as a ‘flash-in-the-pan’ alternative to Bitcoin.
- In March 2014, the reward for mining a block was changed from a random reward to a static one.
- More than a hundred billion coins have been mined.
- The scrypt hash function is also used by Litecoin
- Dogecoin’s block time is one minute
What is Doge?
In keeping with the humorous style, Dogecoin, almost uniquely among cryptocurrencies, comes with its own mascot: a Japanese breed of dog called a Shiba Inu. The picture that goes along with this mascot was taken in 2010, and became an internet meme in 2013 — topping knowyourmeme.com’s rankings for the year, and being consistently voted among the more popular memes of the decade.
All of this came as a surprise to the owner of the dog in question, Japanese schoolteacher Atsuko Sato. In Japan, where the breed is fairly commonplace, the meme hasn’t achieved quite the same novelty and traction. Like so much in internet culture, the joke comes from a deliberate misspelling — of the sort that HODL and MOAR made famous.
Those who ‘get’ the joke distinguish themselves from those who don’t, and thus it’s a marker of cultural identity in much the same way as a fondness for Gamestop might be, and this might go some way toward explaining the popularity of the coin.
Though Markus has stepped away from the crypto world since inventing this currency, its popularity has grown exponentially in his absence. It’s a phenomenon that’s entirely independent of any central authority figure, which makes it distinct from many of the more technically-superior altcoins available.
Dogecoin Price History
In late December 2013, Doge enjoyed its first surge of around 300% over several days prior to Christmas. This was in part prompted by Chinese banks being forbidden from investing in Bitcoin. This surge was followed soon after by a major crash, before the first major bump on the road was encountered. The Dogewallet crypto platform was hacked, causing around 21 million Dogecoins in losses. The Dogecoin community reacted with a charitable drive, which ultimately covered the losses.
During the cryptocurrency bubble of late 2017 and early 2018, the price of a coin spiked at around $0.017, bringing the market cap up to $2 billion. This was a small uptick compared to what was to follow, however.
In July 2020, a TikTok craze began to artificially inflate the price of DOGE, thereby demonstrating how susceptible the coin was to online mania. In January 2021, we saw an 800% surge over just a day, bringing the price up to $0.08.
In April 2021, the price of Doge climbed to a once-inconceivable $0.45, amounting to a year-to-date surge of around 7,000%. On May 5th, the price rocketed past the $0.60 mark for the first time.
How does Dogecoin work?
Dogecoin is inflationary rather than deflationary. There’s no built-in limit to the amount of doge that will ever be mined. It’s for this reason that DOGE costs mere pennies, while BTC trades hands for tens of thousands of dollars.
What effects Dogecoin's price?
Dogecoin has already proven itself distinct from drier, more serious forms of crypto. It’s thus far more susceptible to interventions from big-name personalities.
Elon Musk’s interventions on the subject have helped the coin to remain relevant and popular. On April 1st 2021, he declared that SpaceX would take a literal dogecoin on the literal moon. Earlier in the year, similar endorsements from Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons sent the price of DOGE soaring 55% in just twenty-four hours.
We might take as reference the price of GameStop shares, after subreddit WallStreetBets brought its seven-million members to artificially drive up the price of a much-loved fallen giant from the world of retail, thereby inflicting enormous losses on despised hedge-funds who’d tried to short-sell.
In that case, the fun was eventually stopped when the trading app Robinhood was forced into stopping trading on the stock, bursting the bubble almost overnight.
In the case of Dogecoin, this is not a likely outcome. Trading is spread over multiple exchanges, many of which are inherently resilient to coercion of this kind. By design, there’s no-one in charge of Dogecoin. The person who invented it did so because they thought it would be funny; there’s no organisation capable of thumbing the scale in one direction or another.
It’s also worth considering the volatility that comes when a lot of currency is placed into relatively few hands. If one major player were to liquidate their holdings in a single day, then a cascading downward spiral could easily be triggered. Therefore, if you have significant holdings in the currency, you’re exposed to the whims of a handful of others.
On the other hand, the cultural component inherent in Dogecoin could well make it more resilient to shocks of this kind, with true believers being more likely to ‘HODL’ in the face of sudden shocks than more rational profit-seekers. There’s a sense in which Doge has evolved beyond its jokey origins, and become a means of expressing dissatisfaction with the global financial establishment, even more than crypto in general is. Any analysis which fails to account for this is naturally doomed to failure.
Dogecoin price prediction
You can check out the history of the coin via the Dogecoin chart above. The price of Dogecoin is as much dependent on cultural factors as it is on technical and economic ones. The incredible surges of early 2021 might just as easily be reversed. The caveat that usually goes alongside price predictions is therefore especially apt here: if you trade in Dogecoin, then you run the risk that your investment will backfire. You could literally lose everything you invest in a matter of moments.
There’s every reason to suspect that Dogecoin’s value will continue its current bear trajectory, but that a major correction will arrive at some point in the future. If you already have an ear to the ground when it comes to online culture then you might find yourself better able to anticipate turning points before they start to manifest in the price you see on screen.
Dogecoin can be viewed as a low-cost investment that could conceivably pay out big — and so it’s likely to appeal to those who enjoy slot machines and lottery games (with the significant difference that you aren’t guaranteed to lose in the long run). As with those forms of gambling, it’s vital that you pay attention to your own psychology before investing — and don’t commit more than you can safely part with.
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