What's wrong with Doge?

If Doge is dumb, then Bitcoin is dumb. Long live Ethereum?

Sticking mostly to the sidelines of the crypto world is my normal posture, as I don’t like to get into religious arguments on Twitter more often than avoidable. That said, it’s time that someone stood up for Dogecoin, its fans, and its place in the cryptocurrency world.

Dogecoin’s recent pump is good fun. Some of my friends and lots of my Twitter family are making piles of cash. Journalism rules mean that I can’t do anything more than watch, but I generally like the people who are getting rich so I have little complaint about the matter.

But some folks are not happy about Dogecoin’s recent ascent. Mike Dudas, a founder of The Block — a publication that I adore — tweeted this morning that the Dogecoin pump is bad, and that people are going to get hurt:

This view is silly, and for reasons that Dudas, a crypto believer, would recognize.

It’s the same argument that every Bitcoin skeptic has made for around a decade now about Bitcoin. To see a Bitcoin believer apply such historically-reviled logic to Doge is funny.

(That Dudas is comparing the value of a cryptocurrency to that of a traditional trading platform that reports in fiat and tramples on a number of Bitcoin shibboleths is humorous in its own right, but let’s stay on topic.)

Why are take exception with the tweet? Because when Bitcoin pumps like mad, folks like Dudas consider it destiny. But when other cryptocurrencies rapidly appreciate in value, they fret.

This begs the question of whether there is a real difference between the Doge pump and possible crash, and any prior Bitcoin pump-and-crash. Is there?

Bitcoin believers think so, arguing that Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency, the longest-lasting, and a proven store-of-value — so it’s different. It’s also popular to point out that Bitcoin has a hard-cap of issuable tokens, which some think makes it a safer place to invest than Dogecoin, which prints coins like mad.

All of these arguments are silly:

  • Longevity is no real calling-card, because many fiat currencies that coiners dismiss have had much longer lives than Bitcoin.

  • That Bitcoin has proven an ability to retain value is also an immaterial point. So has Bitcoin Cash. And you haven’t heard of Bitcoin cash in years. It’s worth $24.5 billion today, give or take; even forgotten coins can be long-term stores of value.

  • On the hard-cap point, it’s also calorie-free. Ethereum’s ether tokens are not hard-capped. And they are in wide use by oodles of developers. And they are appreciating like mad! Should we mock the ether pump? Nope.

This puts Bitcoin into something of a hard spot. If its tech isn’t the best in the world — and it isn’t, which you can tell by how rapidly we’ve seen the Ethereum blockchain become the defacto locus of crypto innovation in recent quarters/years — and its age doesn’t matter, and its hard cap is being proven by the market to not be a infinite-value-creating-fountain-of-wealth unique to itself, what’s left for Bitcoin to really stand on?

Nothing, not really. Which is why the Doge pump is so embarrassing to the Bitcoin-faithful; if Doge’s pump keeps happening it shows that what Bitcoin has itself managed isn’t special, or grounded in sturdy logic.

If Bitcoin is just another blockchain, why not invest in one that can actually handle lots of transactions, isn’t so friendly to fiat-league government oversight, and can really do more? Right?