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Vitalik Buterin described how he turned a $25,000 investment in DOGE into a $4.3 million profit in three years.
Vitalik Buterin, co-creator of Ethereum, disclosed on the Lex Fridman podcast recently that he gained more than $4 million from a $25,000 investment he made in Dogecoin in 2016.
But, true to tradition, he donated it all to charity.
Dogecoin was created in December 2013 and sought to capitalize on the popularity of the then-popular Shiba Inu-inspired doge meme, with Vitalik describing DOGE as among the first “fun coins” launched into the burgeoning crypto asset ecosystem.
Although he was impressed by the community that had formed around DOGE, Vitalik joked about the lack of investment thesis informing his decision, stating:
“At the beginning, people didn’t take it very seriously […] I just remembered thinking to myself, how am I going to explain to my mum that I just invested $25,000 into Dogecoin […] like the only interesting thing about this coin is a logo of a dog somewhere. But of course, that was one of the best investments I have ever made.”
Although Buterin noted that DOGE “did really well” in the years that followed, he was taken off guard by the speculative frenzy caused by Elon Musk’s infatuation with the meme-coin.
Musk’s interest in DOGE appears to derive from a 2019 community poll that identified Musk as the project’s most-wanted hypothetical CEO in 2019 — four years after Dogecoin’s creator abandoned the project.
“By the end of 2020, Elon Musk began mentioning Dogecoin, and the market cap had risen to $50 billion […] “It popped up several times,” Buterin explained.
He recounted being in lockdown in Singapore when the price of DOGE shot up 775% from $0.008 to $0.07 over the course of a single day, thinking: “Oh my god, my DOGE is worth, like, a lot!”
“I immediately called up some of my friends and told them to drop everything and scramble, and I sold half of the DOGE and I got $4.3 million, donated the profits to GiveDirectly, and a few hours after I did this the price dropped back from around $0.07 to $0.04.”
Vitalik claims he felt like a “amazing trader” after selling half of his DOGE at the local peak, until “of course, the price went back up from $0.04, then to $0.07, then to $0.50.”
Assuming Buterin kept the remaining 50% of this DOGE stockpile, Ethereum’s co-creator would now be in possession of over $20 million worth of the dog coin.
Despite his early support for the project, Buterin stated that he did not expect Dogecoin to grab the general imagination and re-emerge as a top crypto asset by capitalisation:
“DOGE becoming this big phenomenon, where there’s even a lot of people that have heard of DOGE that have not heard of Ethereum, is something that even I was not predicting.”