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The Japanese dog from the famous “Doge” meme, which inspired cryptocurrency, has died

This photo taken on March 19, 2024 shows the Japanese shiba inu dog Kabosu, better known by the logo name of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, resting in his owner's office (Photo | AFP)

This photo taken on March 19, 2024 shows the Japanese shiba inu dog Kabosu, better known by the logo name of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, resting in his owner’s office (Photo | AFP)

TOKYO: The Japanese dog whose photo inspired a generation of bizarre online jokes and the $23 billion Dogecoin cryptocurrency beloved by Elon Musk died on Friday, his owner said.

“She died quietly as if she was sleeping while I petted her,” Atsuko Sato wrote on her blog, thanking fans of her shiba inu called Kabosu – the face of the “Doge” meme.

“I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner,” Sato wrote.

As a rescue dog, Kabosu’s true birthday was unknown, but Sato estimated his age at 18, exceeding the average lifespan of a shiba inu, with his birthday being celebrated in November.

In 2010, two years after adopting Kabosu from a puppy mill where she otherwise would have been abandoned, Sato took a photo of her pet crossing her paws on the couch.

She posted this image – with the fluffy shiba inu giving the camera a seductive look – on her blog, from where it spread to the online forum Reddit and became a meme that bounced from college dorm rooms to office email chains.

The memes typically used clunky broken English to reveal the inner thoughts of Kabosu and other shiba inu “doges” — pronounced like “pizza dough” but with a “j” at the end.

The image also later became an NFT digital artwork that sold for $4 million and inspired Dogecoin, which was started as a joke by two software engineers and is now the eighth most popular cryptocurrency. more valuable with a market capitalization of $23 billion.

“Incredible” events

Dogecoin has been backed by hip-hop star Snoop Dogg, “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons.

But its strongest supporter is probably billionaire Musk, who jokes about the currency on X – causing its value to skyrocket – and calls it “the people’s crypto”.

Dogecoin has also inspired a plethora of other cheap and highly volatile “memecoins”, including the Shiba Inu spin-off and others based on dogs, cats or Donald Trump.

Kabosu fell ill with leukemia and liver disease in late 2022, and Sato said in a recent interview with AFP at her home in Sakura, east of Tokyo, that the “invisible power” of prayers from fans around the world helped her get through it.

Sato, 62, said she had become so accustomed to “incredible” events that when Tesla boss Musk changed Twitter’s icon from X to Kabosu’s face last year, she “wasn’t even surprised.”

“In recent years, I have been able to connect the online version of Kabosu, all these unexpected things seen from afar, with our real lives,” she told AFP.

A $100,000 statue of Kabosu and his couch, funded by Own The Doge, a crypto organization dedicated to the meme, was unveiled at a park in Sakura in November last year.

Sato and Own The Doge have also donated significant sums to international charities, including over $1 million to Save the Children. The NGO claims this is “the largest crypto contribution” it has ever received.

“The Doge is the most popular dog of the modern era,” said Tridog, a pseudonymous member of Own The Doge, describing Kabosu as “the Mona Lisa of the Internet.”