In brief

  • Jackson Palmer, inventor of spoof cryptocurrency Dogecoin, says finance is not the best use of blockchain technology.
  • The components of decentralized tech have greater potential in encrypted communication, Palmer said. 
  • Palmer has abandoned Twitter, and other social media platforms, because of his disappointment with lack of progress. 

He’s the Artful Doge-er. Jackson Palmer invented popular cryptocurrency Dogecoin as a joke, a riposte to Bitcoin and the upswell of investment in crypto. Then he walked away. In a rare media appearance on the Keyword Crypto podcast last month, he explained his more recent exit from crypto Twitter—and why he thinks the potential of decentralization is being channelled unwisely. 

Dogecoin—based on an infamous meme showing a Shiba Inu dog—succeeded against the odds after Palmer left in 2015. Although conceived as a joke, its super-active community, low price and low transaction costs mean that it’s stayed, doggedly, in the top 40 most valuable coins. Elon Musk is among its fans and has called it his favorite crypto. He even stood in as its joke CEO last year. 

But Palmer is still revered by Dogecoin’s many fans. Until April 2019, he still hosted a successful podcast, geared towards educating people about crypto, and was an astute voice on Crypto Twitter. But now he’s turned his back on crypto—and financial applications for decentralized technology— altogether.

A world changing technology

“Decentralization lends itself to much bigger world changing things like decentralized communications, and encrypted communications, because it’s that kind of technology that can be used to organise a revolution, organise people, and change the world,” said Palmer.   

He explained that, up until a year ago, he was confident that the financial industry could be recreated on top of a new tech stack, but that hasn’t really happened. He thinks that people are likely to not need money at all, once everyone's needs are taken care of.

But the components of decentralized tech—asymmetric encryption, Merkel Trees and hash chains—still have valuable applications for things like encrypted messaging and the signature and providence of signed assets, he said.

Dogecoin: so much wow (image: Shutterstock)

"You can’t argue with the objective fact that it’s over a decade and not much has happened in the grand scheme of things. Number’s gone up but the money is seemingly just moving around between people who are passionate about it,” he said.  

It’s not meant to be disparaging, he said. “I just think that it makes no sense for people to have this devotion to it. It’s just a technology—cool your jets,” was his advice to the crypto faithful. 

Dodging crypto Twitter

Social media has proven to be something of a double-edged sword for Palmer. At the beginning, he said he found it flattering to be thrust into the limelight, as the creator of Dogecoin. But it quickly became a bind to have his every opinion challenged. 

It was his disappointment in the drama of social media that led Palmer to abandon Twitter, YouTube and all his other social media platforms last year, he said, adding that crypto Twitter would be a great study into mass indoctrination and hysteria. 

“It stopped being fun. I was worn out trying to educate people, only to be disappointed when it all descended into drama,” he explained. The ultimate turning point for him was impersonators—who made it difficult for him to delete his account. 

Since abandoning social media, Palmer said he’s taken up other, less stressful, hobbies—like video games. 

And he sleeps better too.