It’s been another wacky 48 hours for the internet’s favorite meme crypto, which is not supposed to be worth anything but somehow is. After reaching another all-time high overnight Friday, the price of dogecoin dropped sharply on Saturday night, pretty much the moment billionaire inventor Elon Musk and his mom made a joke on Saturday Night Live about the currency (though not about how the currency was originally launched as a joke) during Musk’s opening monologue. It has since recovered about half that value, aided in part by the news on Sunday that Musk’s SpaceX would be sort of be literally sending DOGE to the actual moon in an attempt to make what may be the most popular meme about boosting the crypto’s value to stellar heights become no-gravity reality.
The crypto already had a pumped-up week, thanks to buzz over dogecoin-superfan Musk’s SNL gig; the news that two big crypto trading exchanges had the DOGE in; and, as always, a lot of memes starring the crypto’s signature Shiba Inu — many of which were rallying cries to boost DOGE’s price to one dollar. That didn’t happen, but the hype prompted dogecoin, which was launched as a parody of bitcoin clones in 2013 and designed to have no value or supply limit, to reach a new all-time high price of 73 cents around 1 a.m. Saturday, according to CoinMarketCap — nearly 1,400 times the price it was at at the beginning of the year. DOGE had ended up at 69 cents by the time SNL started, and then, about four minutes into the show — when Musk’s mom quipped that his Mother’s Day gift for her better not be dogecoin, and Musk joked that it “sure was” — the price immediately began to fall as many DOGE-owners, who had likely been waiting and hoping for another peak to go live on Saturday night, began selling off the crypto.
Almost an hour into the SNL broadcast, DOGE had dropped nearly 30 percent to 49 cents, but briefly went up again to as high as 56 cents in response to another mention of dogecoin by Musk during the “Weekend Update” segment of the show — in which Musk, pretending to be a financial expert, again coined himself the “dogefather,” seemed to acknowledge the DOGE hype was “a hustle,” and howled the DOGE-meme catchphrase “to the moon!”
The trading frenzy overnight Saturday, which was not unexpected, once again resulted in the popular trading platform Robinhood experiencing technical difficulties — the third straight time the service and app become temporarily unfit for a DOGE under intense selling of the crypto.
By Sunday morning, the price of dogecoin had dropped back down to 43 cents, erasing most of the week’s gains. But then it started going back up again, particularly after the midday announcement that dogecoin would be used to pay for a space mission that would send the DOGE-1 satellite to the actual moon early next year. The Verge’s Jacob Kastrenakes explains:
SpaceX is now accepting Dogecoin, and it’ll be paid exclusively in the cryptocurrency to launch an upcoming satellite named DOGE-1 to — yes — the Moon. The DOGE-1 is a cubesat meant to acquire “lunar-spatial intelligence” using onboard cameras and sensors. It’s being sent and paid for by a company named Geometric Energy Corporation, and it’ll be flown up on a Falcon 9 rocket in the first quarter of 2022. …
Investors like to talk about sending Dogecoin’s value “to the Moon,” thus, we’re getting this silly stunt about sending a satellite named DOGE-1 paid to Musk’s company in Dogecoin to the Moon.
Given all that, SpaceX includes in the announcement the exact quote one might assume Musk mandated the company include: “We’re excited to launch DOGE-1 to the Moon!” said SpaceX vice president of commercial sales Tom Ochinero. … Ochinero says the partnership sets “the foundation for interplanetary commerce.” And Geometric Energy Corporation’s CEO says the transaction “solidified DOGE as a unit of account for lunar business in the space sector.” The press release goes on to say that Dogecoin is “sophisticated enough to finance a commercial Moon mission in full” and that it’ll be used for all lunar business between the two companies
As of late afternoon Sunday, the price of dogecoin was hovering north of 55 cents. While that’s still about 20 percent lower than it was when the SNL broadcast began, it’s not far off the second-to-last all-time high it set early last week. Dogecoin may be a risky investment by traditional standards, but so far this year, the potential bubble has been all-rainbow for many of DOGE’s meme-happy fans. And while Musk seemed to admit on SNL that pumping up DOGE was a “hustle” — and last week insisted that “cryptocurrency is promising, but please invest with caution!” — he also sent a tweet on Thursday that suggested their may be at least some method to his madness for the meme:
Whatever Musk’s intentions or how they play out in the real world with real people investing real currency, crypto and joke-crypto included, feeding DOGE-mania with a dogecoin-inspired mission to the moon may be a small step for a controversial meme-loving billionaire (or SpaceX and moon-orbiting science) — but a giant leap for meme-kind. Either way, dogecoin and its speculation aren’t likely going away, and at the very least, DOGE-fanatics have undoubtedly now circled the first quarter of 2022 as another opportunity to pump up the wow.