Imagine you’re the founder of a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Got a big house? Check. Vacation on an exclusive Caribbean island? Keep the drinks coming. Fast cars? Yeah, got to have those.
How about a used Honda Civic instead?
That’s what Billy Markus, the software engineer who created Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency based on the meme of a smiling Shiba Inu, bought when he cashed in his chips in 2015 after growing weary of harassment from the crypto community’s zealots. Unlike Bitcoin, there is no limit to the amount of Dogecoin that can be created in the so-called mining of the coin.
Now that Dogecoin has reached an unfathomable market capitalization of $9.1 billion — about as much as Dropbox Inc. or Under Armour Inc. — on the back of a dizzying 1,400% year-to-date Reddit-fueled rally from half a penny to seven cents, Markus just wishes people would realize he’s no longer part of the project and can’t limit the coin’s supply to help make them rich.
Markus took to the Dogecoin subreddit forum Monday to clear up his involvement, or lack thereof, in the project.
“I’m no longer part of the Dogecoin project, I left around 2015 as the community started to strongly shift from one that I was comfortable with,” Markus wrote in an open letter. “I don’t currently own any Dogecoin except what has been tipped to me recently, I gave away and/or sold all the crypto I had back in 2015 after being laid off and scared about my dwindling savings at the time, for about enough in total to buy a used Honda Civic.”
Markus, 38, who now works as a software engineer for an education company in the San Francisco Bay Area, told Bloomberg Wednesday that Dogecoin and the mania it’s spawned is surreal to witness considering he and fellow co-founder Jackson Palmer created the token as a joke.
“I see this random crap on the internet saying I have all this money. That’s cool, but where is it?” said Markus. “I’m a normal working person. I’m not in trouble or anything, but I’m not rich.”
That he hasn’t participated in the craze that has engulfed his creation has left Markus in a unique position to assess what exactly it is that’s going on. Which isn’t to say that he can explain it either.
“I’m half detached, but it’s weird that something I made in a few hours is now part of internet culture,” said Markus. “It’s amusing to see Elon Musk talk about it. It feels silly, but there’s this huge upwelling behind it.”
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