Apart from the rough start to 2022, cryptocurrencies have been a fantastic asset class to own in recent years. The entire market's valuation went from about $18.5 billion in February 2017 to a whopping $2 trillion today. This performance trumps that of the S&P 500.
And within the world of digital assets, dog-inspired Dogecoin (DOGE -0.30%) has become popular among retail traders. It is now the 11th-most-valuable cryptocurrency in the world, with a market cap of about $20 billion. DOGE, the native token, has returned an astronomical 72,000% over the past five years. This is all while its price has crashed 77% during the last nine months.
Can Dogecoin get back to its winning ways and one day hit $1? Let's take a closer look.
Built on hype and excitement
Dogecoin was created in 2013 as a fun alternative to top cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC 1.02%). Unlike Ethereum, with its smart-contract functionality, Dogecoin is simply a blockchain that's meant to be a decentralized payments network.
Dogecoin largely flew under the radar until about a year ago when meme-stock mania took control of markets. Heavily shorted companies with weak fundamentals, like AMC Entertainment and GameStop, drew massive support online, which caused quick price spikes. This situation spread to cryptocurrencies, resulting in Dogecoin soaring last April.
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who owns Dogecoin, often tweets about the meme token. He even started directly working on the network in 2019 and has offered to fund further development. Having the richest person in the world, who obviously has a huge following in the tech community, support Dogecoin can certainly help to keep it at least relevant in the near term.
Since the price of DOGE reached an all-time high of almost $0.74 in May 2021, it has fallen tremendously and now trades for about $0.15. To eclipse the $1 mark would require major investor interest, something I just don't see happening, even with the backing of Musk.
Dogecoin hitting the milestone isn't likely
Tesla now accepts payment in DOGE as payment for some merchandise. Also, the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, owned by billionaire Mark Cuban, allows fans to buy tickets and merchandise with DOGE. I don't think anyone views these actions as anything more than a publicity stunt. Unless droves of other companies begin accepting the token -- and there's little evidence that they are -- the lack of real-world adoption is what will keep Dogecoin from reaching $1.
Compared to Bitcoin's dominance, with its growing legitimacy as a store of value and deep supporting technological infrastructure, Dogecoin trails far behind. Activity on the network proves it. Dogecoin's average daily transaction counts have stayed within a range of 20,000 to 40,000 throughout its entire history. If the cryptocurrency was gaining more utility, this number should trend higher over time.
Dogecoin's lack of adoption and differentiation are reasons investors should stay away from owning it. Even the original founders, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, stopped working on the project in 2015. If that doesn't demonstrate Dogecoin's lack of long-term viability and potential, then I don't know what will.
Then there's the unfavorable supply-and-demand structure. There now are almost 133 billion DOGE in circulation. And every time transactions are validated on the blockchain, new coins get created. In fact, Dogecoin miners produce 10,000 new DOGE every minute. Demand would need to outpace a rapidly growing supply base for the token's price to rise.
Sure, DOGE could ride another massive wave of social-media hype and skyrocket 525% in a short period of time, which would get it to $1 per token. But this extremely unlikely scenario can't be predicted with any level of certainty because it's not based on fundamentals.
There are more headwinds than tailwinds for Dogecoin, so I suspect it will continue on its downward trajectory.