Helena Lyng Blak
2 weeks ago

Dogecoin Dog Has Passed Away

Farewell to Kabosu: The Shiba Inu behind the iconic ‘Doge’-meme and Dogecoin
Kuching, Sarawak Malaysia - May 21, 2021: Macro view of gold color shiny coins with Dogecoin symbol — Photo by juliuscwt
Kuching, Sarawak Malaysia - May 21, 2021: Macro view of gold color shiny coins with Dogecoin symbol — Photo by juliuscwt

On Friday, May 24, 2024, Kabosu, the Shiba Inu behind the ‘doge’-meme and the face of the cryptocurrency ‘Dogecoin,’ passed away.

The dog rose to prominence after a picture of her went viral in 2010 and was used as a meme format on the social media site Tumblr. The picture was overlaid with various text using incorrect syntax and the Comic Sans font, creating a silly and oftentimes sarcastic effect.

By 2013, the Doge meme had taken the digital world by storm: It was actually declared ‘meme of the year’ by online meme lexicon Know Your Meme.

Kabosu was not the only Shiba used for doge-memes, but she was by far the most famous. 

And perhaps for that reason, when software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer decided to create a satirical cryptocurrency poking fun at Bitcoin and crypto trading, they used Kabosu’s face for its logo.

After its creation in December 2013, Dogecoin quickly became the cult darling of various online communities, many of whom initially used the coin's surprising popularity for good. 

According to The New York Times, early adopters of the canine crypto set up a foundation named the Dogecoin Foundation, raising thousands of dollars for charitable projects, such as ensuring clean water in developing areas and helping neurodivergent children gain access to service dogs.

But all good things must come to an end. As the coin grew in popularity—and thereby value—so did distasteful and even illegal behaviors: Hackers stole Dogecoins, scammers scammed, and an influx of opportunists hoping for an easy path to wealth eroded what was once a cohesive online community.

In 2015, founder Jackson Palmer left Dogecoin, saying in an interview with CoinDesk,

“All in all, the cryptocurrency space increasingly feels like a bunch of white libertarian bros sitting around hoping to get rich and coming up with half-baked, buzzword-filled business ideas which often fail in an effort to try and do so.”

The story of Dogecoin, however, was just getting started.

Despite Palmer’s criticism, interest in the cryptocurrency continued. Economist and academic Usman W. Chohan described in a 2017 paper that Dogecoin was “not so much an alternative numismatic instrument” as it was a “leisured exploration of community-building around a cryptoasset.”

Soon, a new person would direct their attention to boosting the prominence of the coin: Elon Musk. 

In 2019, the meme-loving billionaire declared Dogecoin as his favorite cryptocurrency, and for the next couple of years, he would regularly tweet positive comments about the coin.

In early 2021, Dogecoin began to climb, spiking in April and reaching its all-time peak on May 7, 2021, before tumbling after Musk mentioned the crypto multiple times while hosting Saturday Night Live.

Since then, Dogecoin has more or less been on a slow and steady decline, with brief upswings, until the memecoin began to make a comeback in March of this year. On March 29, Dogecoin reached its highest price since 2021.

Ultimately, one must assume that Kabosu never cared for internet celebrity nor held any particular passions for the blockchain. 

As a young pup, she was rescued from a puppy mill in Japan and lived in a shelter until she was adopted at three years old by a kindergarten teacher named Atsuko Sato, who is also believed to be the photographer behind the famous photograph.

Kabosu was diagnosed with leukemia in 2022. She passed peacefully in Sato’s arms.

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