The joke money now making millions

Meme crazy: Doge first became popular in 2010 when a teacher posted a picture of her dog online.

Should memes be worth money? Dogecoin began as a funny cryptocurrency based on an internet meme. Now, it is making people millionaires. But some warn it could also be dangerous.

What’s happening

On 5 February Glauber Contesso made a bold choice. He spent nearly all of his money buying digital coins.

Glauber was not buying Bitcoin. Instead, he bought £130,000 worth of Dogecoin. It was a currency based on an internet meme. Last week, his coins made him a double millionaire.

Find out more

In 2013, cryptocurrencies were a recent invention. Lots of experts thought they could be the future of money. But some thought it was a mistake to be excited.

Two programmers decided to make their own joke currency to make fun of the craze. It was based on a meme of a pet dog called Doge.

This year, people have started taking Dogecoin seriously. Even Elon Musk has supported it.

Now, it is worth 260 times more than it was in 2013. People like Glauber have made lots of money.

Nobody is sure why the coins are so popular. Some are worried. One expert, Tom Stelzer, thinks people will lose their money.

“Unlike Bitcoin,” he says, “Dogecoin was created as a joke and has no real… value.”

Should memes be worth money?

Some say…

Why not? Dogecoin may have started as a fun, simple joke, but it clearly is not anymore. There is no problem with that. We live in a world where the internet becomes more important every day. Earlier this year, the Nyan Cat meme was sold using a different cryptocurrency for millions of pounds.

Others think…

No! Dogecoin is not only silly, it could be harmful too. It is not really valuable and lots of people might lose their money. Plus, cryptocurrencies are bad for the environment. Finding the coins uses a huge amount of power. It is wasteful to harm the planet for a joke that people will forget soon.

You Decide

  1. Are there any things too precious to put a price on?

Activities

  1. Come up with your own cryptocurrency. Design the coin and give it a name. Then, introduce it to the rest of your class.

Some People Say...

“Money often costs too much.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), American writer and philosopher

What do you think?

Word Watch

Bitcoin
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. One coin is worth over £36,000. One Dogecoin is still worth less than £1.
Meme
A popular idea or habit that is passed between people. An internet meme is an idea that is shared online.
Double millionaire
Glauber’s coins have increased in value. They are now worth more than £2m.
Cryptocurrencies
A cryptocurrency is a form of money that is entirely digital and not connected to a bank or country.
Invention
A new thing that someone has made.
Programmers
A person who prepares and tests programmes for computers.
Doge
The meme is based on a picture of a Shiba Inu dog with colourful text surrounding it. The words are always in bad or broken English.
Value
The worth or importance of something. Most experts agree Dogecoin has weak technology and is not very useful. They say its current price is fake value based on the fact that it is a craze.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.