The Shiba Inu Dog Was the Meme and Face of Dogecoin

Kabosu, the dog behind the “doge” meme, has died after 14 years of internet fame, his owner announced.

The Japanese shiba inu inspired a generation of online jokes and became the face of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency.

She suffered from leukemia and liver disease and died on May 24.

“She died quietly as if she was sleeping while I caressed her,” Atsuko Sato wrote on his blogthanking Kabosu fans.

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

As a rescue dog, Kabosu’s true birthday was unknown, but Ms Sato estimated his age at 18.

In 2010, two years after adopting Kabosu from a puppy mill where she would otherwise have been abandoned, Ms. Sato, a teacher in Sakura, east of Tokyo, took a photo of her pet crossing its paws on the sofa.

She posted the image on her blog, from where it spread across 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 “doge” — 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 (£3.1 million) and inspired Dogecoin, which was started as a joke by two software engineers and is now the eighth most valuable cryptocurrency, with a market capitalization of $23 billion. .

Dogecoin has been endorsed by hip-hop star Snoop Dogg and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons.

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

Kabosu fell ill with leukemia and liver disease in late 2022, and Ms Sato said in a recent AFP interview that the “invisible power” of prayers from fans around the world had helped her recover. ‘get out.

Ms Sato, 62, said she was so accustomed to “incredible” events that when Mr Musk last year changed Twitter’s icon from I wasn’t even surprised.”

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.

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