Alt coins

A viral joke on TikTok briefly sent ‘how to buy DogeCoin’ past ‘how to buy Bitcoin’ on Google. Here’s what happened

DOGE surged 82% within a matter of days as youngsters on the social network were urged to buy $25 of the crypto. Then, it crashed.

Dogecoin has cemented its reputation as a “joke” cryptocurrency—it’s based on a popular meme featuring a Shina Inu dog surrounded by brightly colored text in Comic Sans.

The suspicious face that launched a thousand grammatically suspect doge memes (Photo: Wikipedia)

But after what appears to be a massive pump—and maybe dump—on the popular social networking app TikTok, many teenagers may have very little to laugh about.

It all began at the start of July, when one TikTok user created a video using the hashtag #DogecoinTikTokChallenge.

“Let’s all get rich,” the young man in the video says. “Dogecoin is practically worthless. There are 800 million TikTok users. Invest just $25. Once the stock hits $1, you’ll have $10,000. Tell everyone you know.”

A $1 DOGE is quite a tall order to say the least. Even at its highest point in January 2018, one DOGE was worth just $0.018. It’s been trading for a fraction of a cent ever since—and at the time this clip was made on July 1, it was trading for $0.0023. To hit a dollar, its value would need to increase by 43,378.2%.

Barking mad?

At the time of writing, that video has been viewed 929,000 times. And in the days that followed, it seemed thousands of teens were getting involved in DOGE—with some exchanges, such as Bitfinex, embarking on a mad rush to list the altcoin on their platforms.

Prices started to pick up on July 6—surging 82% to $0.0042 by July 8. After cooling slightly, DOGE hit 52-week highs of $0.0054 later that day.

Anyone who bought in at that moment will now be licking their wounds. DOGE is currently worth $0.0033—down 38% on where it was just a few days ago. Assuming that those who watched the video invested just $25, they will have already lost $10. Which, as investing in crypto goes, is a very cheap lesson. Sadly, it’s looks like some people purchased considerably more than this.

On the day DOGE peaked, the owner of the @dogecoin handle on Twitter was among those urging would-be buyers to be careful, writing: “Be mindful of the intentions people have when they direct you to buy things. None of them are in the spot to be financially advising. Make choices right for you, do not ride other people’s FOMO or manipulation. Stay safe. Be smart.”

Meanwhile, the TikTok video that started this off was being inundated with comments. Some anonymous accounts claimed that they had made $4,500, others said they had put their entire unemployment checks into it. Others saw right through it, commenting: “This is literally a pump-and-dump strategy. If DOGE was stocks this would be absolutely illegal. It might still be.”

Despite the fact that the TikTok user who started this clearly urged people to invest in DOGE, he rowed back in another video on July 12, which said; “None of what I said in my other videos or comments is meant as financial advice, it’s for entertainment purposes only.” The user hasn’t taken down his viral clip—and the video featuring this statement has been viewed just 1,820 times.

such dump. much loss. wow

If you’re over the age of 30, TikTok is probably something that’s passed you by. What’s wrong with sticking to Facebook? Why do we need another social network?

These days, it’s where all the teens hang out—posting short videos, often timed to music, where they take part in viral dance challenges.

But the app is seeping into the public’s consciousness. Last month, TikTok appeared to have a starring role in derailing a Trump rally in Tulsa. Users claimed they registered for hundreds of thousands of tickets using false names—messing up the campaign’s data harvesting efforts, and creating an embarrassing scenario where an overflow area created for attendees was left empty.

At one point, Google searches for “how to buy Dogecoin” overtook “how to buy Bitcoin,” but they have now subsided.

TikTok trends often tend to be short-lived. Even if a user has a low profile and few followers, clips can go viral if they are picked up by one of the social network’s algorithms, which automatically play videos to users based on what they’ve watched before. After a day or two, clips tend to fall off the radar pretty quickly.

The Australian software developer Jackson Palmer initially started DOGE as a joke, but left the project because he was worried that speculators were using Dogecoin to scam people out of money.

Here’s hoping that a group of impressionable teenagers haven’t just become the punchline.

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.