Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk, the world’s richest man by a rapidly-growing margin, has repeatedly backed the meme-based bitcoin rival dogecoin this year.
The dogecoin price, up an eye-watering 9,000% over the last 24 months and far outpacing bitcoin, ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies, rocketed into the crypto top ten by value in May—and has so far defied predictions it’s about to crash back.
Now, as the dogecoin price holds on to its massive gains, Musk has revealed workers at his electric car company Tesla and his rocket company SpaceX convinced him to buy dogecoin—calling it “the people’s crypto.”
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“Lots of people I talked to on the production lines at Tesla or building rockets at SpaceX own doge,” Musk said via Twitter. “They aren’t financial experts or Silicon Valley technologists. That’s why I decided to support doge—it felt like the people’s crypto.”
Musk was replying to a post linking to a news story that claimed the dogecoin adoption rate in the U.S. is nearly double that of the rest of the world. Just over 30% of cryptocurrency holders in the U.S. hold dogecoin, according to a survey carried out by price comparison webiste Finder.
The dogecoin price has exploded this year, rising almost 10,000% since October 2020 and propelling the memecoin into the crypto top ten—helped by Musk’s mercurial Twitter persona. For comparison, bitcoin has added 400% over the last 12 months.
The dogecoin price peaked in May ahead of Musk’s much-hyped appearance on U.S. comedy show Saturday Night Live and has since lost around 70% of its value. Meanwhile, other meme-based cryptocurrencies looking to capitalize on dogecoin’s success have also soared, with the doge-based coin shiba inu surging by 500% over the last month.
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Musk, who’s alienated much of the crypto community this year with his tongue-in-cheek support for dogecoin, has said he’s working with dogecoin developers to reduce the memecoin’s fees, speed up transaction times and “beat bitcoin hands down.”
The latest dogecoin version, designed to prepare “the network for lower recommended fees,” was released in August and Musk has called on those running dogecoin network nodes to update their software to help lower dogecoin transaction fees.
In September, Musk said he doesn’t think crypto is “the second coming of the Messiah,” adding a government crackdown could hobble the market.
“There’s some value in crypto, but I don’t think it’s the second coming of the messiah,” Musk said. “It will hopefully reduce the error and latency in legacy money systems.”