Dogecoin: what is the cryptocurrency, why has its shares soared by 1000% - and where to buy it in the UK

Reddit group SatoshiStreetBets and Twitter mentions by Elon Musk, Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons has driven up Dogecoin’s stock price, similar to how WallStreetBets sparked the resurgence of GameStop
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Social media mentions from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, rapper Snoop Dogg and Kiss frontman Gene Simmons have sent shares of Dogecoin soaring.

Dogecoin, a digital coin known as a cryptocurrency, has seen its market value soar by more than 1000% after the three public figures gave it a mention on Twitter.

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Coupled with the active discussions of Reddit group SatoshiStreetBets has driven up stock of Dogecoin, similar to how WallStreetBets sparked the resurgence of GameStop.

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So what is Dogecoin - and how can you buy it?

What is Dogecoin?

Founded as a joke in 2013, Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency based on the doge meme at the time, which involved Shiba Inu.

The New York Stock Exchange has experienced volatile streak following investment in GameStop and Dogecoin. (Pic: Getty Images)The New York Stock Exchange has experienced volatile streak following investment in GameStop and Dogecoin. (Pic: Getty Images)
The New York Stock Exchange has experienced volatile streak following investment in GameStop and Dogecoin. (Pic: Getty Images)

Its inventors, software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, wanted to create an instant payment system free from traditional banking fees.

Just weeks after it was launched, in December 2013, its value jumped by 300% as China banned its banks from investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

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It experienced its first market crash three days later, dropping by 80% in value, due to China's restrictions and was hacked, leading to large sums being stolen.

It has seen its value rise and fall over time, along with other cryptocurrencies, which enjoyed a mini boom during 2017 and a decline in 2018.

At its peak value, Dogecoin was trading at $0.017 per coin in January 2018. It had a resurgence in July 2020 when a TikTok trend aimed to get the coin's price to $1.

What role has Elon Musk had in its stock price rising?

Dogecoin has attracted the interest of Tesla founder Elon Musk in recent times, which is thought to have inspired the Reddit community to continue pushing.

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Musk had previously tweeted about stocks before they rose and the same thing happened on Thursday when he posted a picture of a magazine cover.

Titled Dogue - drawing comparisons to the fashion mag Vogue - the picture displayed a dog on the front cover and led to some believing Musk was supporting their cause.

He has since posted on Twitter a meme based on a famous scene from The Lion King featuring the faces of himself, Snoop Dogg, Gene Simmons and Shiba Inu.

Simmons said he “bought a big position in Dogecoin” while Snoop Dogg tagged Musk in an album picture with the face of Shiba Inu on.

Where can I buy Dogecoin shares?

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It can be tricky field to navigate, but if you're confident in buying cryptocurrencies then there are places where this can be done.

Binance, a global cryptocurrency exchange website, requires registration before making a deposit and trading - learn how here.

Other options to UK users are Coinbase, BC Bitcoin, Bittylicious, Cryptomate, Changelly, ShapeShift and Bittrex.

In October 2020, Brits were banned from buying some cryptocurrencies after a rise in the number of people making bad investments and losing money.

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warns people about the risk of investing in cryptocurrencies, referencing price volatility, product complexity, charges and fees, marketing materials and consumer protection.

Is it the same as what's happening with GameStop?

The share prices of both companies have soared due to discussions originating from the social media website Reddit - but there are differences.

GameStop saw Wall Street hedge funds lose large sums after they'd essentially bet against the company, predicting its shares would continue to drop in value.

It did this through a process called short selling - when shares are borrowed, sold, then bought back at a lower price and returned to the owner - with investors pocketing the profit of the trade.

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Reddit group WallStreetBets drove up the price of the stock, leading to the hedge fund paying more than what they had sold it for before returning the borrowed shares, at the cost of professional traders.

Due to its share price increase, users of the same website discussed pushing the shares up of cryptocurrencies - aiming to get Dogecoin's value up to $1 a coin.

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