To The Moon
The Rise of the Meme-Based Cryptocurrency
Dogecoin is an alternative cryptocurrency that is generated and distributed in much the same way as the popular cryptocurrency bitcoin. Dogecoin, along with other altcoins such as litecoin, feathercoin, pandacoin, etc., generate digital keys representing the particular coin through the process of mining. For dogecoin, there is no upward limit or cap for the total number of dogecoins that will be brought into circulation. This is noticeably different from the policy of bitcoin, which will only create a grand total of 21 million bitcoins and no more.
But if there will potentially be an unlimited supply of dogecoin in the future, where does its value as a cryptocurrency come from compared to other altcoins? Much of dogecoin's initial popularity has to do with the ubiquity of the meme from which it sprang, so let's take a look at what exactly doge means and where the term originated.
History of Doge
Doge itself is a slang term for dog (simple enough), but generally it applies to pictures of Shiba Inus (called "shibe"), with captions that follow the perceived humorous inner monologue of said shibe. It is funny in the way that lolcats are funny, except now its dogs (doge). The most famous photo of a Shiba Inu associated with doge was taken by a Japanese kindergarten teacher, and this photo has been the basis for hundreds of photos and blogs. Check out the parody of "The Wolf of Wall Street" in the doge photo below, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of doge and dogecoin.
The initial doge meme began in 2010, and it has only increased in popularity since that time. In 2013, the cryptocurrency dogecoin was created as a way to parody the boom of bitcoin, but dogecoin itself ironically exists as a legitimate currency. At this point, one man has even stated that he will sell his vacation home in Wisconsin for 100 million dogecoins. It is a staggering amount, but the sale would prove, at least in the short-term, that cryptocurrencies (even those that are not bitcoin) have some real value in the marketplace.
For right now, dogecoin can also be used to buy goods and services from certain online retailers, or it can be traded for other currencies, be they other cryptocurrencies or currency such as US dollars. Also, traditionally, dogecoins are used for tipping people who create worthwhile content online, whether that is another shibe photoshop or something else entertaining or informative. This is about the same as a facebook or tumblr 'like,' but with the added value of a currency exchange.
Getting Started With Dogecoin
Get a Wallet, Visit a Waterbowl
So now that we have gone over the history of dogecoin and where it stands in the cryptocurrency hierarchy, you may want to know how you can get your own and start interacting with the dogecoin economy. It is actually a very simple process, and quite similar to the way that one can get started with bitcoin. First of all, you need a wallet, which serves as a type of online or offline storage facility for your dogecoins. It is easiest to start with a free online wallet, and then as you accrue enough dogecoins, download those into a secure place either on your desktop or other storage medium. Do not store all of your dogecoins in an online wallet, or you risk losing them to theft should someone hack the website where they are stored.
Once you have set up a wallet to store dogecoin, earning some of this cryptocurrency is very similar to how one would go about earning bitcoin: visiting faucets, mining to create new dogecoins, or creating meaningful content that will convince people online to tip you. The first approach, visiting faucets (also called water bowls), can earn you a few dogecoins per day, but it is far from the most profitable way to increase your dogecoin collection. Of these, perhaps the simplest to use is In Doge We Trust. Try it out, and see how satisfying it is to receive a dogecoin! But also remember that the spirit of dogecoin is to be a generous shibe, and keep the dogecoins flowing through the economy.
Digging For Dogecoin
A Potentially Profitable Mining Operation
Once you have tried using several water bowls or earning tips to increase your dogecoin total, you may also want to attempt the process of mining for additional dogecoins. This is done in much the same way that individuals mine for bitcoins: by using the processing power of your home computer's GPU or CPU. Note that we said your home computer. If you do not have the right to hijack a shared computer's resources for mining cryptocurrency, you should definitely avoid it. One student at Harvard had their computer lab privileges completed revoked in perpetuity for using the 14,000-core Odyssey supercomputer to mine for dogecoins. Of course, if you have your own supercomputer just lying around without any purpose, don't hesitate to start using it for a dogecoin mining operation.
Once you have decided to mine for dogecoins (or "dig" for dogecoins in the parlance of true shibes), you will have to put together the proper hardware for the job. If you choose to build the necessary computer from component parts, this means picking out a CPU, motherboard, system memory, power supply, storage, video card, and a case in which to assemble everything. Of these components, the most important is the video card, which will be in charge of your performance to power consumption ratio. If you have a poor ratio, you will spend more in electricity bills than you will earn in digging for dogecoin. One of the better video cards available is the NVidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti graphics card.
After you have all the hardware in place, you need to install the necessary mining software for dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies. If your video card is AMD, CGminer is recommended, and if you have NVidia, you can use CUDAminer. Once you have followed all the software installation instructions, you will be ready to dig for some dogecoin, and soon enough you will be earning...to the moon!