Dogecoin (CCC:DOGE-USD) has turned into an interesting economic and societal experiment. What happens to a meme-driven cryptocurrency once most people stop caring about it? Dogecoin is giving us the chance to find out.
The price of DOGE has fallen 20% over the past month. It’s down 42% over the past six months, and it’s now off by roughly two-thirds from its all-time highs set this spring.
To be fair, the current price of DOGE around 20 cents is still an accomplishment, for sure. Dogecoin has traded under a penny per token for most of its lifespan, and its gains over the past few years are still breathtaking. However, the air has really come out of the balloon over the past few months; few people are talking about $1 Dogecoin let alone $10 Dogecoin anymore.
Why not? In large part, the hype cycle has moved on. The same people that were excited about Dogecoin this past spring are now trading Floki Inu (CCC:FLOKI-USD), Shiba Inu (CCC:SHIB-USD) and other newer alternatives. There’s only so much oxygen in the crypto space, and Dogecoin has lost its luster as focus moved to the newest shiny token.
Robinhood’s Crypto Revenues Collapse
It can be hard to track cryptocurrency trading volume. Since there is no central exchange, you don’t have a clean set of trading volume like you’d get for a stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.
However, we can find clues to a cryptocurrency’s popularity from Robinhood (NASDAD:HOOD). Now that HOOD stock is publicly-traded, Robinhood has to report to relevant business metrics to the public every quarter.
And in Q3, Robinhood offered up some disastrous results. Its revenues plunged 35% on the quarter, highlighted by a jaw-dropping 78% decline in cryptocurrency revenues. Back in Q2 of this year, Robinhood earned $144 million from Dogecoin trading revenues alone! In Q3, Robinhood no longer disclosed Dogecoin revenues separately, however its whole crypto revenues from Dogecoin and six other cryptos came in at just $51 million.
It seems Dogecoin-specific trading revenues plunged something like 75% or 80% in a single quarter. The retail spark is long gone on Dogecoin. Perhaps Robinhood can pump its crypto revenues back up if it adds more meme tokens. For now, though, Robinhood has sagged as traders have given up on Dogecoin.
The Dogecoin Bull Case
Why did Dogecoin rise in the first place? It was primarily thanks to the leadership of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk. When Musk speaks, traders listen. So when Musk decided to throw his hat in the ring for the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, that was enough to send DOGE to the stratosphere.
Here’s what Musk said in February in an interview with TMZ on the case for Dogecoin. “There’s a good chance that crypto is the future currency of Earth […] The point is that Dogecoin was invented as a joke, essentially to make fun of cryptocurrency. I think there’s an argument, the most entertaining outcome. What would be the most ironic outcome? The currency that was invented as a joke in fact becomes the real currency.”
This was an understandable argument when Dogecoin was the only prominent joke cryptocurrency. Obviously, we’ve long moved past that point now, though. Almost every week, we hear about new cryptos based on other dogs or animals. The rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has also given traders a way to speculate on more unique types of art than a simple dog coin.
In that same interview, Musk cautioned that: “People should not invest their life savings in cryptocurrency, to be clear. I think that’s unwise.” On that, Musk and I agree. He acknowledged that cryptocurrency is for speculation, and not with funds that you can’t afford to lose.
There’s certainly a reasonable argument for having an investment in cryptocurrencies with use cases. Something like Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD), Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD), or Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD) could end up being a meaningful part of the global payments infrastructure and financial ecosystem in coming years.
However, Dogecoin is exceedingly unlikely to be a major part of that mix. From Musk’s own perspective, the bull argument for Dogecoin was that it’d be the most ironic cryptocurrency outcome. Now, even that is gone. It’d be funnier still if the “winning” cryptocurrency was a parody of Dogecoin itself, such as BabyDoge (CCC:BABYDOGE-USD) or Floki Inu.
It’s not surprising that the price of the original Dogecoin has plunged in recent months as the irony-driven traders move into the more entertaining dog-based tokens. At this point, Dogecoin is an old joke; the punchline just doesn’t connect like it used to. The price of DOGE may pop in future weeks and months on new celebrity endorsements or whatnot. But over time, expect Dogecoin to continue to slide as it loses relevancy in pop culture.
On the date of publication, Ian Bezek did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for InvestorPlace.com and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a $300 million New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.