Cryptocurrency has become serious business. Since late last year the internet has been abuzz with stories of original cryptocurrency Bitcoin’s massive price spike, along with anecdotes about people buying Tesla and Lamborghini sports cars with the digital currency. After spiking up around $1,200 – that’s TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for a single unit of digital money – it’s settled back around the $800 mark. But where Bitcoin has notoriously become the payment method of choice for online drug dealers, hit men and deep-end Libertarians trying to avoid taxes, there are a lot of people interested in the technical side of cryptocurrency. Some of them have created alternatives to try to spread the idea of digital money not tied to a particular government or banking institution to a wider audience without the worrying associations Bitcoin has acquired. One of those alternatives is trying to be as un-serious business as possible while still remaining a viable currency: Dogecoin. Created by Billy Markus of Portland, OR and Jackson Palmer of Sydney, Australia, Dogecoin’s identity is based on the popular “doge” meme. Doge is a variation on the “I Can Has Cheezburger?” cat meme, in which people take pictures of cats and add text in broken English associated with whatever the cat is doing. The doge meme started with a picture of someone’s Shiba Inu with text in bright Comic Sans giving it a sort of internal monologue: “such good doge, wow.” Dogecoin’s mascot is a Shiba Inu, and as you read the official site at phrases such as “so crypto, how money, such coin,” pop up on the page in that same style. Even the Dogecoin wallet software has menu options such as “Pls Send” and “Much Receive.” That humor is what gives Dogecoin so much appeal. Bitcoin has become associated with the darker parts of geek culture, the dank corners of 4chan and Reddit where anyone who’s not a particularly noxious strain of straight white male isn’t welcome. It’s become something that takes itself so seriously that newcomers feel unwelcome. Choosing the Shiba Inu as their mascot with all the meme trappings makes Dogecoin immediately friendlier. I’ve yet to find a soul so cynical and hardened – and I know many cynical, hardened souls – who finds the chatty shibes annoying. It lends a lot of padding to the sharp learning curve associated with cryptocurrencies. The people behind Dogecoin have also been polishing their good guy image with fundraisers to help send the Jamaican bobsled team and an Indian luger to the 2014 Winter Olympics. This has gotten them attention from serious news outlets such as NPR and the Guardian, and they have plans to draw further attention to the currency as the Olympics draw near. Another thing that sets Dogecoin apart right now, though, is value. Where a single BitCoin will set you back over $800 in the current market, you can get 3,000 Dogecoins for less than $5. The low value right now makes it a good lottery ticket-style investment for people new to cryptocurrency who want to get their feet wet. Spend $5 and maybe you make a lot more down the line, or maybe you’re out $5. The low value has also led to it being used as a tipping currency, something you can give someone a few of in place of a Like or a +1 or whatever other social media functions you’d like to never use again, just to let them know you like what they’re doing. It may not be worth much, but it’ll definitely make them smile. You’re not likely to hear about people buying ridiculous sports cars with fewer than a hundred Dogecoins, but if you’re interested in seeing what cryptocurrency is all about it’s a great place to start.