Dogecoin: The Story So Far

Ross Nicoll bio photo By Ross Nicoll

We’re seeing a lot of old shibes returning to the coin, as well as newcomers, and I want to use this update to reflect on how far we’ve come since Dogecoin was initially released back in late 2013. The coin we are today is both very similar and very different to the coin that launched, and I think it’s important to understand what’s come before, as we look ahead to the future.

Quick update first – primary work is on Dogecoin Core 1.10 and bitcoinj. Dogecoin Core 1.10 now fully syncs both main and test networks, a patch for fees (as previous, not changed) is in testing right now, and I’m hammering out some details in how we index blocks. On that note, it looks like the next release will require a reindex (not a resync), sorry everyone. I’m running timing tests now, but would expect this to take around 2 hours on a fast machine.

Full instructions will be made available once we confirm there’s no feasible way to use the existing format, but I wanted to let everyone know, especially so services can note they’ll need to plan for maintenance. 1.10 will not be a required update except for miners, and we’ll be looking at backporting the critical parts to 1.8 for any services who cannot upgrade for whatever reason.

I’m hoping to get an alpha of Dogecoin Core 1.10 out before the end of August - this will be for the very technical only, and may not even ship with precompiled binaries, but I really want to get something out so progress is more visible.

As you may remember, I’m working on a wrapper library for bitcoinj, which will form the base of new work including Multidoge HD. bitcoinj 0.13 is out now, and there’s three pull requests waiting to be merged into bitcoinj 0.14 to help with Dogecoin compatibility. Once they’re in, we should be able to push ahead with Multidoge HD directly.

That out of the way, lets talk history. Dogecoin was the brain child of Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, and as much as many forget this, was initially intended purely as a joke. The very high quantity of coins and accelerated mining schedule were intended to ensure no-one took the coin seriously, although both of these helped attract much of the community. With its friendly community and lack of emphasis on value, Dogecoin quickly attracted an enthusiastic community of those who found political or economic aspects of other cryptocurrencies discouraging.

Dogecoin has funded some incredible projects, from sending the Jamaican bobsled team to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, to sponsoring the Dogecar, via Doge4Water and many others. We’re all very proud of what the coin has achieved to date, and while fund raising has slowed due to resourcing, I hope we are approaching a point where we can start to make real achievements again.

The coin has faced many challenges, its death often predicted, and every time we’ve pulled through. We achieved an incredibly ambitious hard fork for Dogecoin 1.6 to fix problems with the mining schedule, and the painful decision to adopt AuxPoW in 1.8 has held our mining hashrate far above the dangerous levels if previously dipped to.

In that context, I want to talk about the development team. A number of developers have been involved in coin development over time, including the original founders, voidref, lleti, leofidus-ger and many others who are no longer active in the coin. Our lead developer, langer_hans, has been involved since shortly after launch, while myself and Patrick joined in early 2014. Both founders have since departed from the coin, Billy in late 2014 and Jackson earlier this year.

I want you to understand this, because the departure of the founders is often misrepresented as the death of the coin. This is nonsense - we have a bigger development team than the coin started with, with all of us having gained an huge amount of experience since we joined Dogecoin. We have an incredible community that’s stuck with the coin through thick and thin, and together we can do incredible things.

Dogecoin Core 1.10 will put us back on the release map, Multidoge HD will give us a wallet application that’s much easier for the average user to pick up and use. Hardware wallet support is coming (although no ETA), and will make it much easier to safely hold your Dogecoins. Dogecoin should be leading the charge for adoption of cryptocurrencies, and over the next few updates I’ll be talking about projects we need, and how everyone can get involved.

Ross