Elon Musk sure does have a sense of humor, even as he's trying to take over the world.
The Boring Company, which he runs, markets two products: tunnels for a "hyperloop" public transportation system and… a flamethrower. Over at Tesla, which Musk also runs, to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under three seconds in one of its cars, you can initiate "Ludicrous Mode," the name pulled straight out of the sci-fi parody "Space Balls."
And then there's his two greatest loves: Dogecoin and Twitter. Over the weekend, in conversation with an Argentinean Twitter user about the cost of Twitter Blue, a premium subscription service, the Tesla CEO suggested allowing users to pay the $3 monthly fee in Dogecoin.
Maybe even an option to pay in Doge?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 10, 2022
Joke? Reality? Well, as you can see, Musk doesn't mind turning jokes into reality.
And Musk's opinions on the matter have to be taken seriously. In addition to being a Twitter power user, the multi-billionaire this month became Twitter's largest shareholder and was slated to join the board until CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted over the weekend that Musk had decided against it. "We will remain open to his input," said Agrawal. In a regulatory filing today, Musk said he may suggest improvements to the company's services.
Though DOGE wasn't designed with much of a use case besides making fun of the proliferation of cryptocurrencies, its historically low value and negligible transaction cost allowed it to catch on for tipping and charity collection. "Sure," the thinking went, "I'll pitch in 10,000 next-to-worthless coins since it will only cost me $5." It was all mostly for fun anyway.
But then Musk found Dogecoin and things began to change. He first began tweeting about it in April 2019, when he wrote, "Dogecoin might be my fave cryptocurrency. It's pretty cool." Since then, his tweets have spurred general interest in the joke coin, which catapulted from less than $0.01 in January 2021 to a record high of $0.73 on May 8, 2021—not so coincidentally the day Musk hosted "Saturday Night Live."
In the years since, corporations and organizations such as the Mark Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks have begun accepting DOGE for merchandise. Paying for subscriptions in DOGE—or tipping in the currency on Twitter—would further expand its use cases.
There's also another use case: boosting Twitter's stock price via association with Musk.
As Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine noted, "That is how corporate finance works now: The thing you do is tweet some idle musings about accepting payment in Dogecoin, or even better—as here—get Elon Musk to tweet some idle musings about accepting payment in Dogecoin." Whether or not such a feature ever comes is irrelevant, said Levine: "The point is that there are some meme buttons—the Dogecoin button, the Elon Musk button, etc.—and if you press them the stock goes up."
The Tesla CEO is more than a DOGE pumper, however. He's been working with Dogecoin core developers since 2019, but it only became public in May 2021. Musk wrote at the time: "Ideally, Doge speeds up block time 10x, increases block size 10x & drops fee 100x. Then it wins hands down."
He's referring there to a theoretically much faster and cheaper blockchain for transactions than Bitcoin. And even though Musk has publicly dissed Bitcoin, calling it "almost as BS as fiat money," Tesla nonetheless purchased $1.5 billion in BTC in early 2021 and began accepting it for car purchases. (It later reversed the latter decision, citing environmental concerns with the proof-of-work cryptocurrency.)
So, there's clearly a track record of interest in Dogecoin, a willingness to adopt cryptocurrency payments, and—most of all—a desire to be in on the joke.