Cryptocurrencies are much interesting. While bitcoin churns along like some sort of cyber juggernaut, there are a number of smaller currencies created, mostly off-the-cuff, by programmers and hackers. Dogecoin – pronounced dozhe, like the ancient Ventian dukes – is one of those currencies.
Created by Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus, the currency is based on the Doge meme, the one with the Shiba Inu that excitedly prattles on about various topics. The currency has been beset by many controversy and wow problems after a number of coins were stolen from Dogevault. Now Palmer has resigned from the Dogecoin subreddit after the community began to react to a sports memorabilia company called UltraPro that had filed a trademark on Doge-themed products and is using the actual licensed image of Kabosu the dog on which the entire meme was based. Such weird!
I spoke with Palmer about the currency and the controversy.
TC: Much strange. What happened on Reddit?
Palmer: The whole trademark thing was overblown from the beginning. “doge” is a very generic trademark that would be hard to enforce, even if UltraPro are successful in trademarking it. Even then, they’re only doing it to protect themselves and have no intentions of chasing after other people making cool stuff with doge, or Dogecoin branding on it.
Alas, it seems Moolah saw this as an opportunity to swoop in and be praised as the saviors of the Dogecoin, so blew the entire thing out of proportion by posting a very ambiguous tweet regarding trademark filing with the hashtag #dogecoin. The original trademark filing from UltraPro had nothing to do with Dogecoin, it was in regards to “doge”, so you can understand how myself and other people misread their tweet.
I spoke to a few people closer to the situation and it came to light that the company had been throwing around the idea of trademarking Dogecoin with “protective intent” in both public and private IRC chats. I jumped on Reddit to make it clear that I couldn’t support the trademarking of “Dogecoin” and felt it unnecessary given the whole thing started because of UltraPro trademarking “doge”
In my eyes, it’s a total waste of time and money being spent opposing a very generic trademark that can’t and won’t be enforced (as UltraPro have stated themselves). But Moolah are a business, and businesses like to generate hype/PR to win the favor of their user communities, so they’re pushing ahead with their notice of opposition. Over the following 24 hours, I received an incredible amount of hateful messages and comment replies on Reddit, with any of my further comments being heavily downvoted – many have suspected it, but it became quite apparent how many loyal followers Moolah had manipulating the subreddit… and this is specifically what I meant by “cult like” behavior.
The next day, their CEO posted quite an unprofessional response titled “Jesus fucking wept” which reached the top of the front page of /r/dogecoin. It’s since been removed by the moderators, but it fueled even further anger towards me from the community. At that point I just decided that I don’t have the energy to deal with the army over on Reddit, so I peaced out of the conversation and subreddit altogether.
TC: Wow problem. Did you quit dogecoin?
Palmer: This is in no way means I’m leaving Dogecoin, I’ll continue just as I have in supporting the community – albeit through other social media channels.
A lot of folks are asking why I’d trust UltraPro with the trademark of “doge” but publicly speak out against Moolah going after “Dogecoin”. My response is that firstly, “doge” is a generic trademark that UltraPro have no intent of enforcing or using maliciously; secondly I trust a large reputable company with a proven track record like UltraPro infinitely more than I do a 6 month old cryptocurrency company with an abrasive CEO, who have already taken over 750 BTC in investment from regular folks on the internet. I’m in no way trying to slander anyone, and this is just my personal opinion – but that last sentence would raise several red flags with anyone experienced in the world of cryptocurrency.
That’s my side of the story. I’m not leaving Dogecoin altogether, just staying away from /r/dogecoin on Reddit until it’s less driven by people supporting what they seem to forget is a corporate entity, with their making money in mind, not necessarily the well-being of the community. None of this had to happen in the first place, but a corporation wanted to receive some cheap PR by hyping up and white knighting the situation.
I’d much rather all the news stories coming out about Dogecoin be fun, light-hearted and about how awesome the community is (because they are!), so it’s sad for me that this had to get blown way out of proportion.
TC: Much brave. How does it feel to be the creator of such a unique thing?
Palmer: It’s been such a wild and fun ride. The community that grew itself around the currency consists of many amazing people, and we’ve done some incredible things these past 6 months: from sponsoring great charities like Charity Water, to sending the Jamaican Bobsled team to the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Billy (my co-founder) and I never thought that our little for-laughs thing would turn into what is has become, and I hope that people never lose the light hearted, generous attitude they’ve had up until now. This is why it saddens me to see it all switch to being about the money and for the community to be led by a company with a clear conflict of interest.
To the moon!