The cryptocurrency market is still characterized by major uncertainty and volatility, as it has a long way to go to reach the mainstream. But that hasn't prevented speculators from trying their luck in the space, hoping to profit from price movements on even some of the riskiest coins. Dogecoin (DOGE -0.64%), for example, is a favorite token that traders like to bet on.
At just under $0.08 per token as of this writing, a $1 price target implies a nearly 13-fold return, something supporters would certainly cheer. But is this likely?
What is Dogecoin?
Dogecoin was founded in 2013, making it one of the world's earliest crypto networks. It was initially intended to be a fun rival to Bitcoin (BTC -0.08%). Its two founders, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, never thought anyone would even invest in it. And they both stopped working on the project in 2015, which should've been seen as a bearish sign for Dogecoin's prospects.
The token remained largely under the radar until the meme-stock craze took over the markets in spring 2021, a time when fundamentally weak businesses like GameStop and AMC Entertainment Holdings saw their stock prices soar thanks to heightened interest from the retail investing community. This behavior spilled over to the crypto market as well.
Dogecoin skyrocketed in the first half of 2021 to hit an all-time high of $0.74 per token in early May, before falling dramatically throughout the rest of the year. But it still produced a whopping return of nearly 3,000% for all of 2021. And this performance kept it at the top of investors' minds.
Being mentioned by high-profile businessmen like Tesla CEO Elon Musk or Shark Tank billionaire Mark Cuban has helped Dogecoin's price jump at various points in time. But the token has continued its downward trend since last May. In the last month, however, Dogecoin has surged, rising almost 30% as speculative activity rises again.
For many years, Dogecoin has remained a well-known and relevant cryptocurrency, which is surprising given it has no utility. Besides having a history of being a fun, lighthearted crypto that has attracted a strong community of followers, it's difficult to see any differentiation that it can provide. Dogecoin doesn't really solve any real-world problems.
Where's the competitive edge?
Like Bitcoin, Dogecoin's network operates a proof-of-work consensus mechanism. In this system, large amounts of electricity and computing power are required to validate transactions on the blockchain. But unlike Bitcoin, which has a supply cap of 21 million coins that is set in its code, Dogecoin is infinitely abundant. In fact, 10,000 new tokens are created every minute, making it even harder for the price per token to rise over time.
Dogecoin, with a market cap of $10 billion, is not even in the same universe as Bitcoin when it comes to valuation. Bitcoin's network, worth $444 billion as of this writing, is slowly becoming a legitimate store of value and financial asset on a global stage, with an expanding set of ecosystem infrastructure and tools being developed to expand its adoption.
Dogecoin seriously lacks in this department, and it is really only characterized by its fervent community of supporters. This doesn't make for a solid investment case.
Investors should pass
Unsurprisingly, the takeaway here is that I'm not bullish at all on Dogecoin's prospects. And I can't recommend that any long-term investor buy any Dogecoin. Besides getting lucky and profiting off of a quick price pop, which is gambling and not true investing, there is no reason to consider this meme token.
There are larger and more promising cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, that investors should look at putting their hard-earned money in.