Dogecoin, the meme-based cryptocurrency that has been called a “joke” by its creator, has exploded in popularity over recent weeks.
The dogecoin price has climbed thanks to attention from billionaires, rockstars, and YouTubers—with Tesla TSLA chief executive Elon Musk, who was once voted “dogecoin CEO” and named it his “fav” cryptocurrency, this week tweeting: “Dogecoin is underestimated.”
Now, with the dogecoin price up a blistering 600% since late January, developers who had long ago abandoned the memecoin are back and planning to update the aging software.
“When it took off there was a resurgence in attention and we want to keep the currency operational,” dogecoin lead maintainer, Ross Nicoll, told bitcoin and cryptocurrency news outlet Coindesk.
Created in 2013, Dogecoin saw its last major upgrade in June 2019 and now Nicoll, along with four other developers, want to roll out another major release to address dogecoin’s scalability and security issues within a year.
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“We’ll always prioritize security. I’m not going to say that [development] won’t slow down again, but we will always be there looking for security issues to make sure the software is kept up to date,” Nicoll said.
Dogecoin soared at the end of January when retail traders organized via Reddit’s WallStreetBets and Telegram chat groups, frustrated by GameStop GME trading restrictions, piled into cryptocurrencies. The dogecoin price has fallen from its peak of just over $0.8 but remains many times where it began 2021.
However, internet-savvy entertainers have continued to talk up the tongue-in-cheek bitcoin rival—hoping to push it yet higher.
“Doge is bitcoin’s younger brother. They have the same potential. It’s still early,” YouTuber Jake Paul said via Twitter.
“Neil Armstrong landed on the moon first and now doge is next. I’m holding,” Paul added, retweeting fellow YouTuber Ben Phillips who’s been trying to pump up the dogecoin price in recent weeks—predicting it will go to $2 “within the next few months.”
Meanwhile, the bitcoin price has continued to climb, hitting an all-time high of over $49,000 per bitcoin this weekend as Wall Street finally moves to embrace cryptocurrencies and Elon Musk’s Tesla revealed it has bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin.
“The surge in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, including dogecoin— which was also fuelled by an endorsement by Musk on Twitter—comes as digital currencies become mainstream due to soaring interest from both retail and institutional investors, increasing levels of mass adoption, and as global interest rates remain at historic lows,” Nigel Green, the chief executive of financial advisory group deVere, said in emailed comments.