Dogecoin dares to take root in Hawaii

Paying for Pizza with DogeCoins | Courtesy Eric Nakagawa

Wow! Such Amaze! A cryptocurrency launched largely for laughs is already starting to shift into a serious business, and Honolulu is feeling some of the first ripples.

Dogecoin is a form of digital currency similar to bitcoin, but it’s inspired by an internet meme involving photos of Shiba Inu dogs and funny captions written in broken English. But only two months after it was created, dogecoin is already the third most valuable cryptocurrency in the world.

Of course, “valuable” is relative. Because of their relative abundance compared to bitcoins, dogecoins have so far been worth just a fraction of a cent each. But that makes them an ideal currency for micropayments and thus a fun way to support your favorite content creators and friends.

One of dogecoin’s many fans is Hawaii-born entrepreneur Eric Nakagawa, who founded internet meme site I Can Has Cheezburger  and the travel startup Simple Honey. The latter was acquired by OpenCoin, perhaps not coincidentally the developer of Ripple, the second most valuable cryptocurrency right now. Nakagawa has been positively giddy about the spread of dogecoin, using Twitter-based service TipDoge to donate tens of thousands of dogecoins to dozens of people (including me).

DareShare Dogecoin ContestThough he’s now based in San Francisco, Nakagawa is in town in part to serve as a Startup Weekend judge. And he’s been spending part of his time back home spreading the word of dogecoin, gifting them to every Startup Weekend organizer and participant he can find.

He has also partnered with the local app DareShare to offer a 50,000 dogecoin prize (about $40 at today’s valuation) for the funniest picture posted with an Olympic theme.

To enter, you’ll need to download DareShare from the App Store and submit a funny picture inspired by the Sochi Olympics in the “Dogecoin Contest” category. The winner, determined by user votes as well as by Nakagawa and DareShare founder Hoala Greevy, will get 25,000 dogecoin to keep and 25,000 to go to support the non-profit of their choice.

Finally, just yesterday, Nakagawa successfully purchased a pizza (and beer) using dogecoin, an act that’s becoming a trademark milestone among digital currencies. He used a Twitter-based dogecoin tipping system to trade 10,000 dogecoins for a pizza and a beer from JJ Dolan’s pizza in downtown Honolulu.

J.J. Dolan and Eric NakagawaNakagawa’s announcement of his purchase quickly earned him nearly 800 votes in the dogecoin section of Reddit.

“I am working with his tech team and drafting a how to guide for selling Dogecoin to restauranteurs,” he explained in the thread. “When this post gets to 1000 uprockets, I’m donating 10,000 doge to charity!”

And while dogecoins are flowing freely and largely for fun, there’s clearly excitement over the possibility that they may also see a significant rise in value over time.

“The first thing ever bought with Bitcoin was a pizza for 10,000 BTC,” reads the top comment. “If you look at Bitcoin’s peak historical price, that was a $10,000,000+ pizza that someone ate.”

Photos courtesy Eric Nakagawa/Imgur.

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