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Jan 29, 2014 3:41pm

You have probably seen the billboards, the blogger posts, the banner ads, the news spots, and maybe even the TV commercials (apparently people still watch TV?). Even a faux demonstration of grammarians protesting the gross...

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Jan 08, 2014 2:19pm
<p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>The D Las Vegas in downtown Las Vegas recently announced it will begin accepting Bitcoin. Accepting the Degecoin seems like a natural fit too, because the symbol for this currency is &amp;#208;.</p>

FILE PHOTO

The D Las Vegas in downtown Las Vegas recently announced it will begin accepting Bitcoin. Accepting the Degecoin seems like a natural fit too, because the symbol for this currency is &#208;.

This is Part III of the Cryptocurrency On The Rise series. Be sure to check out Part I (http://bit.ly/1cwdhrB) and Part II (http://bit.ly/1b6cGvz), otherwise a bunch of this stuff might be confusing as hell. If you’re reading the newsstand version (on paper! Who the hell prints things on paper anymore, I doubt that’s a thing that’ll be around much longer), you can catch the previous installments on the Internet, where everything lives forever.

On Monday, Jan. 20, just two days after the start of the campaign, 27 million Dogecoins (approximately $30,000 after conversion) were donated to the cash-strapped Jamaican bobsled team, putting them over their target fundraising goal and allowing the two-man team to travel to and compete in the Olympics competition for the first time since 2002. Spurred on by the successful Dogecoin Foundation initiative, fans of the virtual currency have broadened the efforts in order to bring multiple Indian skiers, who will be skiing under the general Olympic banner, to the Games as well.

Like many wonderful things, Dogecoin began as a joke. During the height of Bitcoin’s meteoric rise last fall, Adobe marketer Jackson Palmer tweeted an off the cuff comment about investing in Dogecoin, a play on the popular Shiba Inu internal dialog meme (oh, just google “doge” and you’ll figure it out quick enough). Friends immediately glommed onto the idea, Palmer threw together dogecoin.com as a response, and after a bit of back and forth with coder Billy Markus, the two set about actually making Dogecoin a reality.

Using the codebase of Litecoin as a starting point, Markus and Palmer deviated from the cryptocurrency norm by greatly increasing the rate of mining - Dogecoin will be completely mined within a year and a half, versus Bitcoin’s exhaustion in 2014 - as well as the total number of eventual coins in circulation (100 billion Dogecoin versus 21 million Bitcoin).

While unplanned, the availability and ease of mining helped counter the hoarding behavior often exhibited by cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and Dogecoin quickly found use as an appreciation and tipping currency on Reddit and other sites, with crowds of Shibes - as supporters of Dogecoin call themselves - handing out thousands of Dogecoin in response to informative articles, humorous comments, and other community-building activities.

On Christmas Day, online Dogecoin wallets Instadoge and Dogewallet were hacked, resulting in the theft of over 30 million Dogecoin from the sites’ users. Almost immediately, members of the community began to step up with pledges to help reimburse victims of the theft. Within days the SaveDogemas campaign was born.

In the month since Christmas, millions of Dogecoin have been donated, showcasing a level of camaraderie and generosity nearly unheard of in the dog eat dog (sigh, sorry) world of cryptocurrency.

Even as speculators have jumped into the market, buying and selling millions of dollars worth of Dogecoin on multiple exchanges, even as the value has grown a hundredfold, the freewheeling and generous nature of Shibes has persisted. Dogecoin now accounts for more transaction volume than all other cryptocurrencies combined, with ever-increasing charity donations, trades for real and virtual goods, and a tipping culture that has expanded beyond Reddit to Twitter, Facebook, and even SMS.

At its current pace, the coin is well on its way to becoming a legitimate and viable social currency – Shiba Inu, Comic Sans, and all. To the moon!

Hey, the D Las Vegas casino-hotel! Last week you made the “we’re accepting Bitcoin!” announcement, and got a ton of awareness and traffic out of it. Kudos, and great move by the way.

Did you know that the symbol for Dogecoin is Ð ?

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

CHRIS AINSWORTH is a native Las Vegan and a tech dilettante. Find him on Twitter (@driph) or at driph.com.

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