Billy Markus: Dogecoin’s Co-Founder Shibetoshi Nakamoto

Also known as Shibetoshi Nakamoto, Billy Markus is the founder of DogeCoin.

Billy Markus standing in the middle of the road on a floating island next to a doge hiding behind a mountain.

When Dogecoin co-founder Billy Markus created DOGE, he had no idea that the meme coin would become one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies. What began as a simple joke between friends created billionaires and rallied the crypto community around the power of memes.

Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) might be the future of finance, but DOGE made crypto relatable to thousands for the first time.


What do we know about the man behind digital currency’s most accessible altcoin? Why did the founder of Dogecoin (DOGE) abandon the blockchain project after less than two years into its lifespan?

Your questions about the creator of Dogecoin are answered here.

Who Is Billy Markus?

Billy Markus is a software engineer and programmer. Despite a successful professional career, Markus is best known for founding Dogecoin alongside co-creator Jackson Palmer. Within the crypto community, Markus is also known by his social media pseudonym, Shibetoshi Nakamoto (@billym2k). 

Billy Markus portrait.

Early Career

Before bursting into the blockchain development scene, Markus worked as a software developer for International Business Machines (IBM). Markus assisted with the company’s web services and cloud computing software during his time at IBM.


In late 2013, Billy Markus partnered with his co-founder Jackson Palmer to create Dogecoin. The cryptocurrency was intended to be a light-hearted alternative to Bitcoin and began as nothing more than a joke between friends. Within its first month, the Dogecoin website has received over one million visitors.

Dogecoin logo.

What many people don’t know about Dogecoin is that the world’s largest meme coin is actually a fork of a serious altcoin. Markus and Palmer forked the infrastructure of the Litecoin network. This enabled the Dogecoin network to provide faster and more affordable payments than Bitcoin.

Markus and Palmer believed the crypto space was becoming too anxiety-ridden and stressful. Cryptocurrency market caps were emotional rollercoasters due to crypto’s volatility, and the co-founders wanted to make crypto less intimidating. 

According to his personal website, Billy Markus left Dogecoin in 2014. After receiving online harassment and death threats from Dogecoin investors, Markus chose to step away from the project. Markus and Palmer offloaded the future of Dogecoin onto a new team of developers who continue to drive the Dogecoin ecosystem.

Collage of Billy Markus, Honda civic, and Elon Musk holding Doge like a new lion ling.

Around this time, Markus also lost his job and sold most of his cryptocurrency holdings to buy a Honda Civic. 

When looking back on the entire phenomenon, Markus acknowledges its influence and absurdity. He reflects, “It’s weird that something I made in a few hours is now part of internet culture.”

Billy Markus’ NFT Career

Despite stepping away from involvement with Dogecoin, Markus hasn’t completely left the Web 3 world. Under his Twitter alias Shibetoshi Nakamoto, the Dogecoin founder has released several NFT collections on the Ethereum blockchain.

Who Leads Dogecoin Now?

By now, you’re probably wondering: If Billy Markus has left Dogecoin behind, who’s walking this dog towards its bright future?

Established in 2014, the Dogecoin Foundation was birthed to advocate for and support the Dogecoin project. A simple yet profound mantra drives the Dogecoin Foundation: “Do Only Good Everyday.” This ethos, deeply embedded in the Dogecoin community’s DNA, guides the Foundation’s endeavors and ensures that Dogecoin remains true to its roots in a market plagued with speculative and selfish interests.

At the head of the pack, the Dogecoin Foundation is led by a team of developers, Jens Wiechers, Michi Lumin, and Timothy Stebbing. Their collective expertise and passion for everything Dogecoin represents has remained steadfast throughout several crypto cycles, giving DOGE holders faith that the cryptocurrency project will continue to endure.

Why Does Elon Musk Like Dogecoin?

One of Dogecoin’s most influential supporters is none other than Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. In Elon’s eyes, Dogecoin is ‘the people’s currency’ and objectively superior to Bitcoin or Ethereum due to its lower fees and faster transaction times. 

Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus is also an issue for Elon Musk. After announcing that Tesla would accept BTC payments in exchange for their electric vehicles in 2021, Musk retracted this feature on the grounds that Bitcoin was unsustainable. This goes against Tesla’s vision of environmentally-friendly transport options. Dogecoin, on the other hand, is less energy intensive.

Elon Musk’s belief in the future of Dogecoin extends beyond simple statements of support. In 2022, Tesla began accepting DOGE for payments on their site. Dogecoin holders can also use DOGE to pay for Tesla services at SuperCharger stations.

Billy Markus and Elon Musk

As you’d expect, Elon Musk’s avid support of Dogecoin has led to several humorous engagements between the two on social media. In particular, Musk’s posts are known to cause significant movements in the price of DOGE.

Most recently, Elon Musk changed the Twitter bird icon to a picture of the Dogecoin logo within the app. This easter egg sent ripples of excitement throughout the cryptocurrency community, who anticipate that DOGE will somehow be integrated into future updates of 𝕏, the newly rebranded social media platform.

Since Elon has taken the reins, Billy Markus has quickly pointed out that his earnings revenue from the platform took a nosedive. Markus noted that his payouts were only around a third of what had been just two weeks ago but attested that it’s “all magic bonus money,” diffusing any potential tension.

Elon responded, lamenting that 𝕏 revenue share is still “very much beta code” and expects it to become more stable over time.

How Is Dogecoin Different from Shiba Inu?

While Dogecoin might have been the first canine-themed cryptocurrency, it’s far from the last. Shiba Inu (SHIB) is rapidly establishing itself as a competitor in the meme coin space. The Shib Army is one of the most devout and vocal crypto communities, with visions of replacing DOGE as the top meme coins in the industry.

The development and rollout of Shibarium, the Shiba Inu blockchain network, will play a pivotal role in the ongoing DOGE vs. SHIB battle. A dedicated blockchain for the Shiba Inu community is a significant advantage for SHIB and will give Shiba Inu holders native exposure to DeFi within the Shiba ecosystem.

It’s worth mentioning that while Dogecoin released its own network, DogeChain, in 2022, the network has failed to grasp significant traction amongst users. 

On the Flipside

  • Billy Markus stepped away from the Dogecoin ecosystem because he received death threats and harassment from the crypto community. DOGE investors were upset with price volatility and directed their greed and anger at someone who created the digital asset as a joke.

Why You Should Care

Despite its silly origins, Dogecoin is integral to the cryptocurrency world. Without DOGE, most of crypto’s favorite meme coins wouldn’t exist.


How much Dogecoin does Billy Markus own?

Billy Markus claims he sold most of his cryptocurrency in 2015 for roughly the value of a second-hand Honda Civic. In December 2021, he allegedly held around 220,000 DOGE. This was mostly received from tips through his personal website.

Why did Billy Markus make Dogecoin?

Billy Markus made Dogecoin to make fun of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry’s vision of changing the world. His light-hearted joke became one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies.

Is DOGE a good long-term investment?

DOGE is a meme coin with a history of dramatic price swings. We’d recommend you conduct thorough research before buying DOGE and objectively consider any investment advice around cryptocurrency in general.

Can Dogecoin reach $1?

Dogecoin’s previous all-time high price was $ 0.73. While a $1 price target is not dramatically distant from previous all-time highs, the cryptocurrency market is extremely unpredictable, and DOGE may never return to these prices again.

Did Elon Musk put money in DOGE?

Yes, Elon Musk vocally supports Dogecoin and has admitted that Tesla owns DOGE. It has not been disclosed exactly how much DOGE Elon Musk or Tesla owns. 

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Finn Miller

Finn Miller is a New Zealand-based blockchain writer for DailyCoin who specializes in simplifying complex blockchain topics. He is experienced in crafting whitepapers, researching on-chain data, and advising emerging crypto projects, and uses his unconventional approach to learning and passion for knowledge to provide cornerstone educational content for readers of all levels. When not exploring the depths of DeFi, Finn can be found exploring his other passion, the great outdoors.