When those of yesteryear dreamed of what the future would be like, it was flying cars, teleporters and all that nonsense. When people ask contemporary indiviuals what they believe the future will be like, it comes often as a strange question. It almost feels as if this is the future. This sentiment is not exclusive to this writer. There are numerous individuals who share this sentiment:
(No idea who Triple J is)
There are countless blogs, articles and speculations that we’re living in some sort of previous conception of the future. We’ve got X-ray machines in airports, e-cigarettes, taxi services on our phone and much more that may have been inconceivable in the past. There’s even a website that answers the question: Are we in the future yet? Heads up, according to the Delorean’s clock we are.
The thing that has identified us being in the future has got to be the prevalence and rapid valuation of digital currency. Yes, we’re talking Bitcoin and let’s admit, we don’t know what it is. We know it makes news and How Stuff Works did a piece on it which sort of explains it.
Bitcoin is a digital currency which is mined by using a unique and complex algorithm for each time one is issued. When Bitcoins are released it’s a race for the first computer scientist or just a really intelligent individual to crack the code, along with hundreds of thousands of other intelligent individuals decrypting the lock on the newly issued coin. This process is called mining and there are many computers and even more cooling systems facilitating each mining operation.
After the coin is issued it automatically is recorded in a public ledger, so everyone knows who has it and who has potentially bought and sold a Bitcoin. The digital address of the coin is stored, not the individual owner. It creates the capacity for well functioning anonymity, for purchases that is. It’s tax free (for now) and can be used to pay for anything as long as someone takes it as a currency. The value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed in the last year. The trajectory of Bitcoin’s worth has been speculated by outsiders as a bubble, ready to burst at any moment. Consider Wired’s Benjamin Wallace and his piece on Bitcoin called The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin, which goes in depth regarding the opportunities Bitcoin can provide and its possible limitations.
As of the writing of this piece One Bitcoin is worth $817.50 (USD), which is not it’s highest nor it’s lowest. The trend is that it seems to be leveling off and volatility is noticeably occasional. It’s been near $1,300 (USD) and that’s when speculation and attention really hit the fan.
(Go ahead. Pretend you know what this means).
The nature of those with Bitcoins is to hoard. They’re hard to get and can potentially shoot through the roof in value any second of any day. So, what is the issue, or next step? Transactional usage of Bitcoin is slowly gaining but suffers from this hoarding issue. Lots of small business are actually beginning to accept Bitcoin as a form of currency which beefs up its credibility. Just recently the NBA’s Sacramento Kings decided to accept Bitcoin.
Now, lets say you’re a Bitcoin owner and user, you’re probably going to want to hold on to those collectables like first edition pokemon cards, meaning, hold on to them. Subdividing Bitcoins is complicated and may affect their growth in value, just like subdividing your pokemon cards. Is there a better choice out there in digital currency for small transactions? The short answer is yes, yes there is.
(Pokemon? I try.)
A similar peer to peer, open source medium for digital currency like Bitcoin is called Litecoin “can be subdivided into over 100,000,000 small units,” Dogecoin is very similar to Litecoin in its subdivision with its worth being incredibly small. As of today (Jan. 21, 2014) it is worth: $0.00173893 (USD). Yes, clearly this is a real number and reminds you a bit of the scheme from Office Space. In mid December the price raised so rapidly in one day by 400% it made news cycles everywhere. It’s growth potential matches its obscene volatility.
So what is Dogecoin named after? Well according to Know Your Meme: “Doge is a slang term for “dog” that is primarily associated with pictures of Shiba Inus (nicknamed “Shibe”) and internal monologue captions on Tumblr. These photos may be photoshopped to change the dog’s face or captioned with interior monologues in Comic Sans font.” You’ll see things like:
So here we are, in a future where viral memes can become currency, not just any currency, but viable digital currency free from regulation, taxes (for now) and a funny feeling of the uncertain. The digital frontier has just proven to be way bigger than conceivable, and the question is: who will be first to cash in on the coin rush?
Well, if one is trying to get into the mining game it might be a more realistic option to get into Dogecoin, as Bitcoin has an entire and seemingly already emerged infrastructure for mining. The game for Bitcoin is in trading in a digital currency exchange. Dogecoin on the other hand has a lot more functional utility, and if you own a business consider accepting it as a form of payment. It could possibly increase the value of the Dogecoin’s you’re taking in by providing credibility and legitimacy behind the currency. Accumulating the Dogecoins could also gain entry to meaningful speculation and trade in the market.
Lastly, a reddit community managed to help fundraise $36,000 in Dogecoin for the Jamaican Bobsled team which are competing in this years Winter Olympics. The fundraiser inflated the price of the Dogecoin for a bit, showing it’s volatility.
Whether or not you’re a tech nerd or blue collar, jumping into the digital frontier and possibly prospering from it is a consideration all businesses should undertake.