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What happens when a crypto meme-coin goes viral on social media’s hottest platform?
[Sources linked below]
Crypto finally hit the mainstream this week, thanks to a viral video on TikTok, which has pushed Dogecoin’s price up by around 62% (at time of writing).
The video was made in the usual TikTok style (more on that in just a second) and said:
“Let’s all get rich! Dogecoin is practically worthless. There are 800 million TikTok users. Invest just 25 dollars. Once the stock hits one dollar, you’ll have ten grand. He says tell everyone you know!”
It now has over 72,000 likes and the hashtag #dogecointiktokchallange has 955,700 videos associated with it on TikTok.
It didn’t take long for the mainstream press to pick up the story…
Bloomberg: TikTok Takes on Crypto With Dogecoin Soaring 40% in 24 Hours
The Telegraph: Dogecoin surges 680pc as TikTok users flock to joke currency[that percentage is completely wrong, but it’s nice that they’re trying]
The Sun: TIME IS MONEY TikTok users buy up ‘joke’ cryptocurrency Dogecoin in ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme as price surges
Forbes: ‘Let’s All Get Rich’—Teen TikTok Traders Want To Send ‘Joke’ Bitcoin Rival Dogecoin To The Moon
Fortune: TikTok traders are pumping joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin—and the price is up 95%
Newsweek: The Dogecoin Challenge is the Only TikTok Trend Where There’s Money on The Line
…You get the picture.
Go home “The Telegraph” you’re drunk
My favourite of those was definitely The Telegraph, claiming an outrageous and completely false 680% gain, which at time of writing still hasn’t been corrected.
And it wasn’t just a mistake in the headline, that 680% gain was mentioned throughout the article.
The Telegraph article says, “while the promotion of the coin appears to be largely tongue-in-cheek, it has still managed to boost the value of the cryptocurrency to more than 680pc its average price in 2019.”
So not only is the Telegraph comparing the price now to the average price of last year and attributing a video made this week to that rise (why not compare the price to last week?) but it even gets that figure wrong… and is using a very strange way of reporting prices.
How do you even work out the “average price” of an asset over a year?
Mean… Highest value minus lowest value divided by two?
Median… the price on the 30th June?
Mode… the price it hit most often throughout the year?
I’ve never seen an asset valued like that. And I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a thing.
Putting that aside, even if we look at the lowest value of dogecoin in 2019, which was $0.001856, its value at the peak of this week was only 178% higher.
It’s a fairly big gain. But it still bears no relation to that 680% figure. So I have absolutely no idea where The Telegraph is getting that 680% gain from. It’s baffling.
I mean, The Telegraph is a legitimate newspaper, which has a whole section devoted to finance, and a heritage going back over 250 years. It’s not like it’s just some blog. How could it possibly get it this wrong?
Perhaps it was just too much youth culture for the Telegraph to comprehend.
Another personal favourite was Newsweek’s coverage, which, as the TikTok user did, referred to Dogecoin as “Dogecoin shares”.
I like the idea there is some Dogecoin corporation producing memes for profit, and by buying Dogecoin, you’re getting equity in that company.
It’s a fun image. Completely and utterly wrong. But fun nonetheless.
To be fair, I’d probably put a few pounds into “Dogecoin shares” if there were such a thing.
By now you might be thinking, what even is TikTok? And how did its users manage to make crypto hit the mainstream?
TikTok is the latest darling social media platform.
It is essentially exactly the same as a now defunct social media platform called Vine… although you probably shouldn’t point that out to TikTok users.
Oh, and it’s owned by Chinese corporation ByteDance, which may mean its time in the US and Europe is numbered, given the backlash against Chinese tech firms by the West recently.
TikTok is basically a place where people share 15-second video clips.
The top trending videos tend to be a mix of teens dancing and lip-syncing, and superfast comedy sketches.
It is, as the headlines like to say “Gen-Z’s favourite social media platform”.
It combines the short videos of Vine with the trending topics and hashtags of Twitter and the user feed of Instagram.
As the videos are short, their punchlines tend to be a quick cut to an absurd reveal, or just a series of very quick cuts.
So when I said the “Dogecoin stocks” video was filmed in typical TikTok style, that’s what I meant. A series of quick cuts with a cut up voiceover.
And as TikTok’s users are mostly Gen-Z – people born after 1996 – they certainly come in for some derogatory comments by other generations… and give them back, too.
Which generation do you hate on?
If you’re not familiar with the intergenerational ribbing that goes on through the internet, here’s a brief rundown:
Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964 – make fun of millennials for not being able to afford their own houses because they spend too much money on avocado toast.
Millennials – born between 1981 and 1996 – make fun of baby boomers for their intolerant views with “Ok boomer” memes.
Gen-Z – born between 1996 and now – make fun of millennials because they don’t want to be lumped in with them and are trying to define their own culture, which definitely doesn’t involve Harry Potter, “adulting” or coffee.
And no one seems to care about Gen-X – born between boomers and millennials – which is apt, given they used to be characterised as apathetic slackers in their youth. Although they are the ones running all the world’s biggest companies right now.
Here’s a fun meme to sum it all up:
Source: know your meme
To get back on topic…
Because TikTok users are largely teens with no access to crypto exchange accounts, they have come in for some serious satire from the mostly millennial crypto community.
My favourites being:
But what did the actual Dogecoin community think about it all?
It gave the most considered and intelligent response to the whole debacle.
That’s right. A joke memecoin, with a dog as its mascot gave a more considered response to the situation than all the world’s press combined:
As many pointed out, the TikTok users are basically participating in a very public pump and dump scam… even of the perpetrators of that scam might not even realise it.
(for more on how pump and dump scams fleece people, read my free feature: Why are crypto prices falling? The definitive guide)
In all, it’s been a fun week of intergenerational “bants” mainstream crypto adoption and epic memes.
As a millennial myself, I can’t really ask for much more than that.
Cardano and DeFi articles coming your way soon
In other news, Cosmos, Stellar, Cardano and VeChain have made some significant gains this week – with VeChain still up 64% for the week, even after Thursday’s crypto market correction.
I plan on covering Cardano in more detail soon. It’s been getting a lot of attention recently and has made some great progress. So it deserves a full article.
But I still need to catch you up on the DeFi goings on of the last few weeks and the new “yield farming” craze before that.
(If you’re not familiar with DeFi you can read my free feature on it here: What is DeFi and why is it such a big deal?)
So I’ll just leave you with this for now:
Okay, that’s all for this week.
Thanks for reading.