DOGE’s Popularity Fails To Spur Greater Development On Its Native Network

June 30, 2021 03:30 PM





Crypto was on balance lower this morning. Google search volume for “bitcoin” in the U.S. is at its lowest point since December 2020.

Crypto Story of the Day 

In spite of the outsized attention afforded to Dogecoin (DOGE)— which added roughly USD 10 billion to its market cap over the past week— the coin continues to see sporadic and at times scant developer activity on its GitHub page (See Chart of the Day)

On May 12, Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would stop accepting BTC as payment, citing concerns about the coin’s perceived energy usage per transaction; he also claimed that the firm would be “looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of [BTC]’s energy/transactions.” In the following days, Musk tweeted that he was “[wo]rking with DOGE devs to improve system transaction efficiency” and that the effort was “[p]otentially promising.” Musk also suggested that if “[DOGE] speeds up block time 10X, increases block size 10X & drops fee 100X. Then it wins hands down.” 

Later that month, crypto media outlet Decrypt interviewed part-time DOGE code contributor Ross Nicoll, who confirmed that Musk had communicated with the asset’s developers. The exact contents of the communications, which Decrypt claimed to have seen, were not revealed. 

According to Decrypt, Musk offered to fund the developers’ work, which was declined. According to Nicoll, “Elon obviously has a background in payment processing, and we're taking advice from him on what that would look like,” and that “he’s improved the higher transaction throughput.” 

Based on data from GitHub, 37% of DOGE code contributions over the past 6 months came in the week of May 8, a week after Google search volume for DOGE peaked. This weekend, DOGE developers revealed a proposed “fee structure” for the coin’s blockchain “to be gradually deployed to the network over multiple software releases.” The upgrade’s writeup describes DOGE’s price appreciation causing transactions to substantially increase in USD-terms. 

The upgrade would include lowering the minimum transaction fee and size. These parameters, according to the writeup, “are prohibitive for Dogecoin to be used for microtransactions” at the moment. 

In early May, DOGE became the first cryptocurrency to see greater Google search volume than BTC, largely driven by attention brought to the asset by Musk. This attention, however, hasn’t translated into sustained developer activity: since the spike in GitHub activity at the start of May, DOGE has seen only 13 code contributions. This is in sharp contrast to the coin’s social media stats. For example, DOGE’s Reddit forum has 2.1 million subscribers, compared to ETH’s 1 million. 

DOGE’s popularity hasn’t seemed to spur greater development and innovation on the network itself, or inspire any practical uptake beyond speculation. The GitHub activity also suggests Musk’s tweets about DOGE development in May were dubious. 

Despite headlines that included “SpaceX accepts Dogecoin as payment to launch ‘DOGE-1',” the coin hasn’t seen the type of development activity typically associated with projects striving for more genuine adoption.

Chart of the Day

Dogecoin GitHub Activity & Google Search Volume For 'dogecoin' - DOGE's burst of developer activity in May corresponded to a peak in interest in the coin and the asset achieving an all-time high price.

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