Doge – a very popular internet meme from a few months ago - is a cute dog that people use to express child-like inner thoughts on a given subject. For example, Style Weekly’s Doge would look like this:
Here’s how that dog is about to bite us in the ass.
As you may have heard, Richmond is competing for a $33,000 grant from Bell, the bicycle helmet company, to build 20 miles of new bicycle trails in the city.
Up until very recently, Richmond was winning by a landslide. Awesome.
Then, organizers of one of the three projects we are competing against harnessed Doge. Not just Doge, but an offshoot of Doge: Dogecoin.
Without making this anymore convoluted than it already is, Dogecoin is basically a Doge-branded variant of Bitcoin, which, of course, is an increasingly popular online currency that can be used to send money to people and buy stuff. (Currently, 1,000 Doge is worth about $0.46, but whatever.)
Dogecoin is quite popular, at least among a few thousand people – 84,000 users subscribe to the currency’s forum on the website Reddit.
Typically, this wouldn't be especially relevant to most people in Richmond. But yesterday, one of the bike projects the city is competing against for the aforementioned Bell grant, colluded with Dogecoin, promising to name their trail “The Dogecoin Downhill Trail,” if they win.
Further, the trail would be marked by Doges:
The project that’s won Doge’s backing, planned by the Western New York Mountain Biking Association, has since seen its standing in the competition surge.
They appear to have successfully convinced hundreds of Doge-obsessesed people from around the world to vote, and are now neck and neck with Richmond, narrowing the gap from 800 votes yesterday to a mere six as of this writing.
The tally isn’t updating in real time, so it’s difficult to say how Richmond will fare. But if you like riding mountain bikes in Richmond, or hate internet memes and sell outs, you should consider voting now.
The competition ends Sunday.
Update: Richmond won, despite those meddling Doge fanatics. Or perhaps, because of them: After some Richmonders raised objections, members of the Dogecoin community had second thoughts and some decided to support Richmond instead, because, in their words, Richmond's project "may be a better cause."
Update 2: The Western New York Mountain Biking Association issued a formal apology to Richmond for involving Dogecoin in the voting contest:
By now, many members of both WNYMBA and Richmond More are aware of the Dogecoin voting fiasco. While WNYMBA most certainly accepts responsibility for the entire situation, it is our hope that you in turn, can accept and will believe, that the pursuit of e-mail votes through this method was the result of the completely unauthorized actions of a single member. Neither our general membership nor our club executive board was involved in this scheme. From the very beginning of this campaign, we were determined to run a clean, honest campaign - one with no possibility of illegal votes. It is completely distasteful to us to realize that we must now confront a much different reality.