The world’s richest man giveth, and the world’s richest man taketh away.
The value of Dogecoin (DOGE) sunk 23% in a matter of hours on Feb. 15, after Elon Musk drew attention to the vastly unequal distribution of DOGE coins and urged major holders to sell off their holdings.
Dogecoin has one of the most unequal coin distributions in the cryptocurrency space, with 28.7% being held by just one person, and the top 12 holders possessing almost 50% of the supply. Just before midnight on Feb. 14, Musk tweeted:
“If major Dogecoin holders sell most of their coins, it will get my full support. Too much concentration is the only real issue imo.”
Little over seven hours later, the Dogecoin price had plunged 23%, from $0.063 to $0.048. While Musk’s tweets have previously been credited with moving cryptocurrency prices, not least Dogecoin, his role in Monday’s drop was less clear given that over $105 billion departed the rest of the global market cap at the same time.
Losses in excess of 20% were a common sight among the crypto market cap rankings, with altcoins in particular subject to an enormous pullback. Analysts suggest this was caused by Bitcoin’s (BTC) push to a new all-time high just hours earlier, which pulled volume out of the altcoin market.
Calculating the exact distribution of a given cryptocurrency can be difficult since public blockchains tend to be either pseudonymous or anonymous. But data from several available sources shows that almost 70% of the entire Dogecoin supply is held in just over 100 addresses.
The founder of Dogecoin recently revealed that he sold all of his DOGE holdings in 2015 in the midst of financial difficulties after losing his job. Billy Markus started Dogecoin as a joke in 2013 based on the then-popular Shiba Inu dog meme. Markus said he struggled to comprehend, let alone explain, the meteoric rise of something that appeared to offer no real utility or value.
Elon Musk’s flirtation with Dogecoin appears to be largely in the name of humor. The Tesla founder once proclaimed himself the self-appointed CEO of Dogecoin (an open-source cryptocurrency), and his interactions with the coin thus far have mostly been based around memes, rather than any kind of investment strategy.