Elon Musk on SNL Spurs Dogecoin Watch Parties After 20,000% Gains
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., arrives at a ceremony. (Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg)

Elon Musk on SNL Spurs Dogecoin Watch Parties After 20,000% Gains

They’ll be setting up taco bars, monitoring price movements on dedicated screens and taking a drink every time someone says “doge.”

Dogecoin traders around the world are organizing watch parties for Elon Musk’s appearance this weekend on “Saturday Night Live,” with their apps open in case the Tesla Inc. chief and crypto booster’s comments move prices.

“A lot of this depends on what Elon Musk does, what he says,” said Alma Cortez, 28, of Fresno, California. “Everyone is going to be on their phones, but at the same time trying to pay attention to see what’s moving, because you don’t want to lose.”

Musk teased the action on early Friday evening in a tweet with a picture of himself and the two other SNL guest stars — The Kid Laroi and Miley Cyrus — with Dogecoin’s mascot, a Shibu Ina, photoshopped in. Shortly after, the price of the cryptocurrency rose to an all-time high of above 72 cents before falling slightly. Crypto volatility has prompted urgent warnings from central bankers — as recently as Thursday — that people buying in should be prepared to lose all of their money.

Undeterred, Cortez will have a taco bar, music and a bartender on hand at her house for a group of about 10 friends watching Musk’s performance.

Her enthusiasm is part of the mania over Dogecoin, which has emerged from its genesis as a cryptocurrency that was coded on a whim to delivering astonishing profits for some traders.

Consider the case of Ramy Bekhiet, a 27-year-old engineer from Ewing, New Jersey. Last year, he plonked down about $750 to buy 250,000 Dogecoins when it was trading at $0.003 — that’s not a typo. Yes, a fraction of a cent. As of Friday evening, the cryptocurrency was trading at about 70 cents per coin, making Bekhiet’s investment worth about $175,000. 

Prices have soared an astounding 12,000% this year and about 30,000% since a low last July. The fact that Dogecoin traded at fractions of a penny was part of its appeal, making it seem fun, approachable and cheap — attracting fans ranging from ordinary investors to celebrities.

Dogecoin’s market cap — the value of all the coins known to have been digitally minted — is now about $88 billion, up from $35 billion just last week.

Musk, a billionaire many times over, has been given at least some of the credit for the rally. The billionaire has long been a fan of the cryptocurrency, and he’s previously moved its price through tweets and other winks and nods. Indeed, some say Musk’s hosting gig is the reason behind Dogecoin’s doubling over the past week.

Bekhiet says he wouldn’t be surprised if Dogecoin reaches 80 or 90 cents on Musk’s appearance, then plummets as people try to cash out. But he’s still wondering whether the spike will happen before or after the episode runs.

“People are pushing it to hit that mark,” Bekhiet said, adding a slogan associated with Dogecoin: “And power to the people.”

He’s invited about 30 people over to watch the show on a projector in his backyard, an allowable crowd under New Jersey Covid guidelines. Even though Bekhiet hasn’t yet been vaccinated, most of his guests will be, so he says he’s not worried.

Over whiskey, pizza and Chinese food, Bekhiet will be closely monitoring two computer  screens, one set to the price of Dogecoin and the other on the broader crypto market. He expects his guests to be trading on their phones during the broadcast.

“We’re going to have our graphs up to see if what he says is actually affecting the market,” Bekhiet said. “And any time he says Doge, we’re taking a shot.”

Earlier this week, Musk was approached by paparazzi and autograph-seekers in New York City who pelted him with questions about whether he’d make Dogecoin jokes on the show.

Musk, who depending on the day is either the richest person on the planet or the second-richest after Jeff Bezos, didn’t give anything away. As he entered his car, one bystander shouted across the street, begging him to mention Dogecoin: “Say something on Twitter please!”

Yosef Adelman, 34, from Los Angeles, has been day trading Dogecoin since 2019. Most recently, he sold his stake when it hit 62 cents on Tuesday, after buying in at around 22 cents a few weeks prior.  As of Wednesday, he didn’t hold any positions but was looking to jump back in ahead of Musk’s appearance on SNL. Instead of trading during the episode, he expects to trade the momentum leading up to Saturday night.

“I’m trading the anticipation more than anything he will say on SNL,” Adelman said. “No matter what he says, it will disappoint because there’s nothing that will be good enough compared to the anticipation.”

Adelman, who founded the digital agency called Falcon Marketing, will be monitoring market sentiment on social media websites like Twitter and Reddit, which he says is more important than “any other signal when you’re day trading right now.”

One worry that Adelman has? Potential outages on the Robinhood trading app, which has glitched and crashed in recent weeks as demand for Dogecoin soared.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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