Dogecoin is the new digital currency that has exploded since its launch in December, 2013. The reasons are many but the top 6 will be explained herein.
1) It Is Based On Bitcoin
Bitcoin was the pioneer in the digital currency arena. Established as an open-source protocol, anyone could take the set of applications and make their own similar "coin". Thus, Dogecoin was established. In fact, many others are out there as well now. Collectively, they are termed the "altcoins", as in alternatives to the original.
2) It is a Distributed Network
Dogecoin exists as a network of mutally dependent nodes, or wallets. Every transaction is copied to every computer in the network. They all must confirm that a transaction was correctly performed in order to be accepted. In practice, transactions are often considered valid after they have been confirmed between 3 and 6 times. Because the network is distributed, there is no central authority, like a bank, that holds power over individual accounts.
3) It Uses a Cute Theme
The Shiba Inu meme, (a Japanese dog breed), was used as the central image. The Doge is found everywhere now. Because the image is cute and stylized, it is easily recognized, is non-threatening, and serves to bring regular people into the world of distributed electronic currencies.
4) Prices are up
Since the launch, the value of Dogecoin has gone up sharply. This has made the entire value of the currency quite high. In fact, as of late January, 2014, the market capitalization puts this "altcoin" in the number 5 position overall. Time will tell if it maintains the position, or even improves. For now, it certainly has upward momentum.
5) Vibrant and Enthusiast Community
Starting on Reddit, the Dogecoin community has quickly amassed over 41,000 members. This makes it the second largest "coin" community on Reddit, only surpassed by Bitcoin. The community size continues to increase, as does activity. During one time period, there were nearly 10,000 members active in the group.
In the short time since launch, the community has sponsored a number of charitable initiatives. About 15 million units were collected to reimburse victims of an electronic crime. The group raised $30,000 for the Jamaican bobsled team's 2014 Olympic campaign. Thousands of dollars were raised for other charities including an outreach dental clinic, dog shelters, and more. Individuals have been helped as well. Many who suffered losses have been tipped part, or all, of their loss. On Reddit, an automated program, (a "bot"), serves to distribute Dogecoins from "haves" to "have-nots". This service has delivered more than 41 million Doge and is among the most popular features of the digital currency.
Dogecoin has certainly attracted a large following of fans. It has captivated many and is making a splash in the mainstream media. While patterned after Bitcoin, it is much less valuable, and less serious. People can give away 100, or more, coins, and they do regularly. There are challenges to major expansions of the currency, but the early news is very encouraging.