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Economy

Dogecoin Has Its Day, as Cryptocurrency Fans Push It Up

NEW YORK — Dogecoin, the digital currency advertised as the one "favored by Shiba Inus worldwide," is having its day. 

Fans of the cryptocurrency are touting April 20, long an unofficial holiday for marijuana devotees, as "Doge Day" and imploring each other to get its value up to $1. That may not sound like much, particularly when compared against the $50,000 or $60,000 that a bitcoin is worth, depending on the day. But it would be an astonishing ascent from the roughly half of a cent that a Dogecoin was fetching at the start of the year.

Dogecoin, which is pronounced dohj-coin, has already leaped to roughly 39 cents, up more than 8,000% for 2021 so far. That towers over the roughly 11% return for the U.S. stock market, which itself is getting criticism for rising too high. Collectively, dogecoins have a total market value of roughly $50 billion, according to CoinDesk. That puts it on par with Dow Inc. or Kimberly-Clark, which makes Kleenex and Huggies. 

Supporters of Dogecoin are trying to help it shed its image as a joke cryptocurrency and get seen as a way to make fast and easy transactions, though few retailers are accepting it so far. 

It's also attracting buyers who want to get in on the next "meme" investment after watching the stock of GameStop soar more than 1,600% in January and make eye-popping profits for some smaller-pocketed investors who timed it right. Those buyers have even been using many of the same slogans as GameStop investors, promising to take its price "to the moon."

Critics, though, say Dogecoin's almost unbelievable rise is another example of the fever to buy the next big thing that's been pushing prices up across investments, and that people buying in now are likely setting themselves up for pain. 

Some big companies are also getting involved. Newegg, an online electronics retailer, said it's celebrating #DogeDay and accepting Dogecoin for purchases through BitPay, a payment service provider. 

"The excitement and momentum around cryptocurrency are undeniable, and the recent surge in Dogecoin value underscores the need to make it easier for customers to make purchases with this popular cryptocurrency," said Andrew Choi, senior brand manager at Newegg.

Dogecoin's ascent is slowing a bit on Doge Day, though. After rising above 42 cents in the overnight hours, it pulled back as the morning progressed, and some buyers are coming into the market with trepidation.

"This is like a cross between a pyramid scheme and tulip mania," one user on Reddit, named hazardousmeme, said in a discussion about Dogecoin after another user asked if it's a safe investment. "Safe is the absolute last thing that this is." 

"Let's hope this goes up!" another Reddit user, Enough-Construction5, wrote after saying they bought $500 worth of Dogecoin. "Better than putting it into a slot machine!"

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