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EXCLUSIVE – Dogecoin founder: “I turned down half a million dollars. Because f*** that”

Dogecoin founder Jackson Palmer has thrown down the gauntlet to the cryptocurrency community declaring that neither he nor his digital currency are for sale, despite huge offers of investment from Australian venture capitalists.

At an Australian meet-up on Thursday night organised via Reddit, where Dogecoin’s community was started, the Sydney-based founder told Techly he is also calling for government regulation of cryptocurrencies – a move that’s unlikely to make him any friends in the Bitcoin community.

For those not in the know, Dogecoin is an internet currency that features ‘Doge’, a Shiba Inu (breed of dog) from Japan, based on the popular internet meme, as its logo. The currency has gained traction as a tipping system whereby Reddit, Twitter and most recently Facebook users donate Dogecoin to each other as a reward for posting interesting or valuable content, or to introduce them to the system.

Unlike Bitcoin, which puts an artificial cap on how many coins can be mined, Dogecoin adds five billion coin worth of Dogecoin yearly after the first ‘cap’ of 100 billion coins are mined – which may be as early as the end of 2014. There are technical reasons behind this, important to the way the currency network verifies transactions.

“It’s a deflationary/inflationary model I like to jokingly call ‘Dogeflation’,” Palmer said.

“We’re trying to stabilise ourselves and get it to a point where it can be treated as a viable currency.”

Palmer said the internet has been crying out for a way of tangibly sending something valuable that can be reused over the internet. In the future, he envisions rather than being able to ‘Like’ something on Facebook (for example), you could tip a few Dogecoins.

“I honestly think it’s on its way to becoming the currency of the internet,” he said.

“This is the reason why, if you have a look at Facebook credits for example, all these different corporations try to force digital credit upon their users.

“That’s why if you try to put something on the Apple store or Facebook App Store at the moment it gets banned because they have their own credit systems they want to control or police and cash in on at the end of the day.

“That’s where Dogecoin fits in.

“The internet is asking for a currency akin to the US or Australian dollar that you can send to somebody else without having to worry about it and it’s more tangible than clicking a button and that person getting a notification that said I liked it.

“Ultimately that’s where I see it landing.

“When somebody likes something that I post it’s more tangible than a little bit of reputation. It’s not something that can be manufactured. It also costs the end user. That’s how a currency works. Or it should.

“The fact that if I post a cool song my friend loves, we can go to the bar on Friday and say ‘I bought you a beer with that’.

“I don’t think you’ll be buying cars, yachts, houses with this stuff, but micro transactions based off social media. Damn. That’s where it’s at.”

Dogecoin (or whatever comes after it) could be a great way for the internet community to give something back to the media outlets, musicians, artists, designers and others they admire, the founder ruminated.

“It addresses the hollowness of the internet,” he said. “At the moment… there are so many fake spam accounts out there that like all these different things.

“You really know who your friends even if they’re just tipping you 10 cents.”

Really it’s the Office Space theory. If consumers donate just a fraction of a cent to a person or organisation of their choosing, everyone makes money.

There exists a distinct rivalry between Bitcoin types and Dogecoin advocates.

Palmer characterised Bitcoin types as “an elitist little group you have to ask for an invite to, whereas Dogecoin is more a grassroots community thing.”

“You can go to a Bitcoin meet up and meet people who are like ‘I have 100 BitCoins, I’m a multimillionaire’,” he said.

“Dogecoin is the community’s currency, open to everyone, and that’s how I want to keep it.”

The big end of town wants in – but Palmer isn’t interested

It’s clear Palmer is totally disinterested in any short-term gain Dogecoin could afford him. A purist, he believes Dogecoin is “the internet’s currency” and end users will decide its success or failure.

In fact on Thursday, Palmer told Techly he turned down half a million dollars from two venture capitalist (VC) firms.

“I’ve been approached by VCs lately who want to cash in on this Dogecoin thing and they’re offering me what in reality is ridiculous amounts of money.

“And I’m sitting there quietly with them saying ‘I want to throw X amount of dollars at this’ and I’m like, ‘take a step back, it’s a dog on a coin’. Has the world gone mad?”

Techly can confirm Palmer met with one Australian VC firm, which shall remain nameless. A spokesperson did not discuss how much money the firm offered Palmer for Dogecoin but confirmed to Techly a meeting did indeed take place.

“The firm’s inquiries into Dogecoin are in the preliminary stage,” the spokesperson said.

Palmer claims a second meeting was held with a US firm, which has failed to return Techly’s emails for confirmation.

And if that throw down wasn’t already enough, Palmer has laid down the gauntlet to the Bitcoin community – which is fiercely anti-regulation – advocating for the Australian government (and others) to regulate and legitimise cryptocurrencies.

“I do ultimately think we need to regulate around this stuff otherwise you will not gain the trust of the average Joe who wants to put $100 into whatever digital currency they’re using.

“That said, we shouldn’t be putting all our faith in centralised institutions because that gets us to where we have landed today.

“The Canadian Government has already decided to regulate against cryptocurrencies and I think that’s absolutely awesome. The fact that a government is even talking about cryptocurrency in the first place is like, booyah. That’s a massive boon for the whole thing.”

Mr Palmer’s hope is that governments will learn about virtual currencies like Dogecoin, understand how they work and eventually see it’s a currency that is facilitating good.

Dogecoin recently raised $30,000 to pair service dogs with children in need and also raised $30,000 to send the Jamaican bobsled team to Sochi.

“That’s why I turned those guys down,” he said.

“A lot of investors come to me and they say ‘you know you could get rich off this, you can make millions. What are you going to tell your grandchildren in the future?’

“And I reply, ‘you know what I’m going to tell my grandkids? I’m going to tell them that we paired service dogs with children in need, off the back of a f***ing joke.’

“The fact is that out of nothing I can contribute $30,000 to a children’s charity that I believe in, that is payment enough.

“I don’t want anything more. I could leave tomorrow but the fact is I’ll be happy for the rest of my life. It’s all I want.”


Some things you might not know about Dogecoin:

Follow Claire: @ClaireRPorter. Her Dogecoin address is D8681EqSkDeRUgyzxjoivEJaCZCpSKiU5E.

About the author

Claire Porter is an award-winning journalist. Previously the tech editor of news.com.au, Claire has had her work published in some of Australia’s biggest websites and newspapers.

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Leave a comment

Comment (22)

    Tristan Rayner

    Monday 17 February 2014

    Jackson Palmer: So ballsy. What a stand up gentleman for refusing money and sticking with the shibes.

    Reply

    Isabelle Sandow

    Monday 17 February 2014

    To the moon!

    Reply

    Brett Stockley

    Monday 17 February 2014

    I love dogecoin. Sign me up

    Reply

    Dominic

    Monday 17 February 2014

    A tip of the hat to our glorious leader!

    Reply

    Jones

    Monday 17 February 2014

    Dogecoin will add 5 Billion DOGE coins a year, not 5 billion dollars worth.

    Thats after the cap of 100 Billion coins has been mined.

    Reply

      Tristan Rayner

      Monday 17 February 2014

      Right you are. Thanks – this has been updated.

      Reply

    Jason

    Monday 17 February 2014

    WOW

    such honourable

    Reply

    Milky

    Monday 17 February 2014

    Thanks for the article! Doges sent to you!

    Reply

    Tristan Rayner

    Monday 17 February 2014

    Guys – you’ve tipping in more than 5k Dogecoins to Claire. That’s awesome. Such wow.

    http://dogechain.info/address/D8681EqSkDeRUgyzxjoivEJaCZCpSKiU5E

    Reply

      Earl Shibe

      Thursday 20 February 2014

      There. I just rounded her up to 35,000 doge. Thanks, Claire! Such article.

      Reply

    Fishlogic

    Monday 17 February 2014

    The best part of this article by far
    “And I reply, ‘you know what I’m going to tell my grandkids? I’m going to tell them that we paired service dogs with children in need, off the back of a f***ing joke.”

    It is true that the future of the coin is through regulation, major retailers wont touch it until this happens.

    Reply

      Mike

      Tuesday 18 February 2014

      Bro, regulation means it’s not decentralized anymore. You have to ask someone for permission everytime you use it. If that’s what you want, why are you interested in fucking cryptocurrency in the first place? Lobby the Disney corporation to start a Goofeycoin, that’s regulated and controlled by them on their servers, and use that. It’ll be so much fun. A safe digital coin for people who don’t want to deal with frightening freedom of cryptocurrency.

      Reply

    Elise

    Monday 17 February 2014

    To the moon!

    Reply

    ALiK

    Tuesday 18 February 2014

    such soul. much love. very quality post, monsieur !

    Reply

    nasim

    Tuesday 18 February 2014

    whenever the right path is chosen over narrow personal gain the whole world benefits. it is so exciting to be able to pass dogecoin tips around every day.

    Reply

    Mr DogecoinUK

    Tuesday 18 February 2014

    Not sure what he means when he says he’s a fan of government regulation of e-currency. I assume he is talking about anti-money laundering checks? (eg. photo id proof of address etc), In which case I agree with him.

    I like though how he’s not gonna sell out to the highest bidder. Keep dogecoin FUN as it’s supposed to be and watch it go to the moon! WOW ^^

    Reply

      Mike

      Tuesday 18 February 2014

      LOL, it will be so fun to have to show your government ID every time you want to send dogecoin to your friend or use it to buy something online.

      You guys have no idea what you’re welcoming.

      Reply

        Mr DogecoinUK

        Wednesday 19 February 2014

        Check my reply below please

        Reply

    Mike

    Tuesday 18 February 2014

    So he wants people to have to show government ID and ask someone for permission every time they use cryptocurrency? If that’s the case, what’s the point of using Bitcoin’s decentralized model? Why not just ask Disney to start a centralized fun digital currency for the kids to play with?

    If you don’t want freedom, then there’s no point in using cryptocurrency.

    Reply

      Mr DogecoinUK

      Wednesday 19 February 2014

      Actually Mike, I don’t mean that at all, of course having to show ID everytime you transact with anyone would be ludicrous.

      What I’m talking about are the standard anti-money laundering procedures practised right now by all e-currency vendors who transact in large amounts. When exchanging fiat currency for e-currency; generally if the amount is greater than £400 or so they will ask you to first confirm a photo id and proof of address.

      This rule doesn’t currently apply when exchanging one form of e-currency for another, and I do hope that remains the case.

      Reply

    Robert Menes

    Thursday 20 March 2014

    Sent some Doge. Such article. Wow.

    Reply

    Brendon Ross

    Friday 20 June 2014

    I laughed at Palmer’s comment about how “it’s just a dog on a coin”. It is ridiculous what some VCs will throw money at these days. I do think that cryptocurrency will weasle its way into our lives at some point in the future but it is so volatile and unstable right now that it would be ridiculous to jump fully on board. They need to work out the kinks before it becomes viable.

    Reply