The use of the misspelled word “doge” to refer to a dog dates back to June 24th, 2005, when it was mentioned in an episode of Homestar Runner’s puppet show. In the episode titled “Biz Cas Fri 1”, Homestar calls Strong Bad his “d-o-g-e” while trying to distract him from his work.
Doge is a slang term for “dog” that is primarily associated with pictures of Shiba Inus (nicknamed “Shibe”) and internal monologue captions on Tumblr. These photos may be photoshopped to change the dog’s face or captioned with interior monologues in Comic Sans font.
On December 6th, BitcoinTalk forum member Dogecoin introduced an alternative crypotocurrency based on the meme as a satire of the Bitcoin boom in a thread titled “Dogecoin – very currency – many coin – wow – v1.1 Released.” Similar to Bitcoin and its derivatives, Dogecoin can be mined and exchanged for goods and services among the participants, though it is programmed to level out at a higher threshold of up to 100 billion coins and prevent any use of special bitcoin-mining equipment like ASICs. In comparison, Bitcoin will cap out at 21 million coins and Litecoin will support up to 84 million coins in circulation.