Dogecoin (DOGE) hogged the spotlight on a tightly crowded stage throughout most of 2021, as Bitcoin (BTC) and the wider cryptocurrency market climbed to new all-time highs.
Fueled by the social media flirtation of an eccentric billionaire, and the coordinated efforts of strategic Reddit traders, Dogecoin’s value increased 15,000% since the turn of the year when it peaked in early May.
As Dogecoin’s price boomed so too did its exposure to a mass of internet users who had previously never heard of an eight-year old cryptocurrency that even industry insiders considered to be long dead. Created purely as a joke, Dogecoin was barely a mention in the ongoing story of the cryptocurrency space, which the mainstream media has long considered synonymous with the word “Bitcoin” itself.
For that reason, it may have come as a surprise in early May when the volume of Dogecoin searches recorded on Google Trends rose to match that of Bitcoin. Searches for both terms were equal in the first week of May, as Dogecoin rose to an all-time high of $0.73. For context, in January, Bitcoin searches outnumbered Dogecoin by over 8,000%.
The Doge’s presence was predictably boosted on Twitter too, where the self-proclaimed Dogefather Elon Musk’s tweets regularly caused Dogecoin mentions to outnumber those of Bitcoin.
Data from Bitinfocharts shows the highest spike in Dogecoin Twitter mentions came in late January, when Reddit traders elected Dogecoin to be the cryptocurrency equivalent of GameStop.
Doge’s price climbed over 300% on the day in question, and a massive 944,000 tweets containing the word Dogecoin were recorded, compared to just 196,000 that mentioned Bitcoin. Musk lent what many regarded as implied support for the Dogecoin pump at the time, when he posted a meme with the word ‘Dogue’ as a modification of the name of the fashion magazine, Vogue.
And so went Dogecoin’s ascension. Amid the furore, new millionaires were created out of thin air, and others lost life savings because they followed what they thought to be the lead of Tesla’s tweet-happy CEO.
Related: When will Elon Musk’s influence on Bitcoin end?
But what goes up must come down, and as Dogecoin’s valuation fell by over 60%, so too did its cheaply won presence on the media stage. After peaking in early May, Dogecoin searches on Google fell by 90%, as the uninitiated horde of casual internet users moved on to something else.
Likewise, after outnumbering Bitcoin mentions on Twitter throughout much of the year, Dogecoin was eventually brought back to heel, and hasn’t outshone Bitcoin on the social media platform in over a month.
Taking a peek at blockchain statistics, we also see that some of Dogecoin’s usage stats have dropped even beyond the extent of the recent price crash. We’d typically expect to see Dogecoin transactions at a lower ebb than during this year’s bull run, but as per data from Bitinfocharts, daily Dogecoin transactions recently hit a near three-year low of under 20,000 — a number not witnessed since October 2018.
A sign that despite all the media hype, people are actually losing faith in Dogecoin as a usable cryptocurrency? Perhaps. As Dogecoin became the plaything of crypto whales in 2021, it was regularly subject to massive fluctuations in transactions, fees and the value of currency transacted across its blockchain.
Related: Only whales move DOGE: Data suggests major Dogecoin wealth gap
Since May 5, when over $82 billion was sent across the blockchain in one day, Dogecoin’s daily transaction value has been on the decline, and stood at $4.4 billion as of June 14. Amid the movement of the aforementioned billions, Dogecoin transaction fees rose 25,000%, from $0.01 to $2.52. The subsequent decrease in the blockchain’s usage has since seen fees drop as low as $0.60 once more.
While attention and usage appear to be falling across several metrics, it would be folly to bet against Dogecoin mustering a resurgence in the months and years to come. Even if Elon Musk were to lose interest in Dogecoin and his tweets died down, what other global celebrity might come along and expose the coin to a mass audience all over again?
Just this week a nonfungible token of the original Dogecoin Shiba Inu picture sold for $4 million in Ether, suggesting hype hasn’t completely cooled on Dogecoin just yet. In May a survey revealed that more Americans had heard of Dogecoin than they had Ethereum — a seven-year-old project which houses the most developers in the cryptocurrency space.