Rescue Pup To Meme Star: The Real-life ‘Dogecoin’ Dog

Although her fluffy face has faded now, Kabosu still has an enigmatic smile on her face. Her smile has made her the go-to meme dog for millennials, and she inspired Elon Musk’s beloved $23 billion cryptocurrency.

She is best known as the Dogecoin logo, but for Atsuko Sato, Kabosu is an elderly former rescue pup who follows her every day to work at a kindergarten.

“It felt very strange” to learn that his dog was an online celebrity in the city of Sakura, where vast tracts of land in eastern Tokyo are being replaced by rice paddies and solar panels, Sato told AFP.

In 2010, two years after adopting the Shiba Inu, Sato posted a photo on her blog of Kabosu sitting cross-legged on the couch, looking seductively at the camera.

The image became the “Doge” meme and later an NFT digital artwork that sold for $4 million.

“You look weird,” Sato said with a laugh. “Now I think she looks great,” she said of the famous photo, but “at first I thought she might get trashed.”

Kabosu, best known as the face of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, sits in front of a manhole cover with her portrait painted in Sakura, Japan.

Philip Fong

The meme grew from an online forum post to an anarchic inside joke that made its way from college bedrooms to office emails.

“One of my friends sent me a message saying, “Isn’t this photo a kabosu?” So I searched for it and found all kinds of memes, such as kabosu turning into donuts,” Sato said. Ta.

The 62-year-old is now so accustomed to “unbelievable” events that she was “not really surprised” when Tesla boss Musk changed his Twitter icon (now X) to Kavos’s face last year.

“Over the last few years, we have been able to connect the online version of Kabosu, all the unexpected things seen from afar, with our real lives.”

Kabosu spends most days resting on a cart at kindergarten or on a large cushion at home, where a fan-made tribute to Doge is displayed on the wall.

Atsuko Sato (left) and her Shiba Inu Kabosu playing with students at kindergarten

Philip Fong

This meme usually uses the silly broken English of Kabosu and other Shiba Inu characters to reveal their inner thoughts: “Doge.” It’s usually pronounced like pizza “dough,” but with a “j” at the end.

“I love you so much. You’re such a great star. You’re so comforting. I’ve painted so many pictures,” says one framed print with this signature “Doge Speech.”

Kabosu was diagnosed with leukemia and liver disease at the end of 2022, but Sato believes the “invisible power” of the prayers of fans around the world helped her overcome it.

And last November, a $100,000 crowdfunded statue of Kabosu and his couch was unveiled in a park in Sakura City by Own The Doge, a cryptocurrency organization specializing in the meme.

Mr. Sato and Mr. Own the Doge have also made significant donations to international charities, including more than $1 million to Save the Children. The NGO says this is the “single largest crypto donation” it has ever received.

“The Doge is the most popular dog of our time,” said TriDog, a pseudonymous member of Own the Doge, who described Kavos as “the Mona Lisa of the Internet.”

Dogecoin was started as a joke by two software engineers and is now the eighth most valuable cryptocurrency in the world with a market capitalization of $23 billion.

The true birthday of Kabosu, a rescue dog, is unknown, but Atsuko Sato estimates his age to be 18 years old, which is longer than the average lifespan of a Shiba Inu.

Philip Fong

“The Doge meme became pretty big on the internet in 2013. At the time, I spent a lot of time on Reddit and other forums,” Dogecoin co-founder Billy Marcus told AFP. Told.

Marcus is no longer affiliated with Dogecoin, but was amused by the meme’s “silliness and innocence.”

“I was having a beer and saw the Doge meme and Bitcoin on the news and thought it would be a funny tweet to say I would invest in Dogecoin,” said fellow founder Jackson Palmer.

Marcus thought the idea was “interesting” and created the coin in “a few hours” before contacting Palmer and making it public.

“A lot of strange things happened after that,” he said.

Since then, Dogecoin has been backed by the likes of stoner hip-hop mogul Snoop Dogg, “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Mark Cuban, and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, who once tweeted “I bought Dogecoin…6 figures.” Ta.

But perhaps its most ardent supporter is billionaire Musk. He jokes about X’s currency, causing its value to skyrocket and hailing it as “the people’s cryptocurrency.”

Dogecoin has also inspired a number of other cheap and highly volatile “meme coins”, including spin-offs Shiba Inu and others based on Dog, Cat, or Donald Trump.

A lone figure wearing a Doge mask looks out over the Los Angeles skyline. This is TriDog, and he says he’s been “working on dog photography for almost three years.”

Own the Doge member TriDog poses for a photo wearing a Doge mask during an interview in Los Angeles

Frederick J. Brown

The governor’s job is his full-time job and preaches their motto, DOGE, or “Do only good every day.”

In 2021, Sato sold Kabosu’s viral photo as a non-fungible token (NFT), a digital certificate of ownership that can be traded online, for $4.2 million to a group of crypto art collectors called PleasrDAO.

As such, it is “in the top five photographs ever sold,” Tridog told AFP.

PleasrDAO split the value of NFTs into a new meme coin called $DOG, allowing many people to collectively “own” a meme.

Own the Doge has been bringing fans and other meme stars to Japan to meet Kabos and Sato, and recently secured the intellectual property rights to the famous photo, as well as other Doge toys, movies, and more. It paved the way for manufacturing products.

The true birthday of Kabosu, a rescue dog, is unknown, but Mr. Sato estimates his age to be 18 years old, which is longer than the average lifespan of a Shiba Inu.

“The world will mourn” Kabosu’s death, but “the legend will always live on,” Tridog said.

He hopes people remember the “deeper values” behind the Doge meme: “sanity, stupidity, and not taking yourself too seriously.”

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