Since the start of 2021, the price of Bitcoin has surged 89% to over $54,000. That’s seven times as great as the S&P 500’s return during the same period. But those staggering Bitcoin gains don’t come close to the largest return posted this year by a major cryptocurrency.
The top spot also doesn’t go to Ethereum, which is up 343% this year to just under $3,300. Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group, said earlier this week that Ethereum could reach $5,000 by the end of the week. Even if it happens, Ethereum still would be dwarfed by the gains posted so far by Dogecoin: The price of the cryptocurrency, which was launched as a joke, is up over 13,500% this year to $0.63, according to end of Tuesday prices on Coindesk.
For perspective, a $1,000 investment in Dogecoin at the start of 2021 would now be worth over $135,000.
While major cryptocurrencies are up across the board, the gains of Dogecoin in particular are off the charts. The reason? For starters, its capitalization is far smaller than some of the other major cryptocurrencies—meaning an influx of new money will create a higher percentage gain than if the same amount went into Bitcoin or Ethereum. As of the end of the day Tuesday, the market capitalization of Dogecoin stands at $86 billion, according to Coindesk. That’s compared with market caps of $375 billion and $1 trillion, respectively, for Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Like all successful crypto booms, Dogecoin is benefiting from a ton of Internet hype—including from big-name American businessmen.
On Monday, celebrity chef Guy Fieri tweeted images of himself donning Dogecoin merchandise. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban has also tweeted favorably about the crypto. “As long as more companies take Doge for products/services, then Doge can be a usable currency because it may hold its purchasing value better than [money] in your bank. If interest rates skyrocket or the amount spent falls or stagnates, so will Doge. Yes, a joke is now legit,” Cuban tweeted on May 2.
But the biggest driver of Dogecoin’s publicity has come from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who frequently references the crypto in tweets. But he might not be a true Dogecoin supporter: Musk previously said his Dogecoin tweets are “just meant to be jokes.”
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