Doge King (DOGEK), a cryptocurrency introduced in September 2021, soared by more than 2,300% from its original price of around $0.0000000004 to a high point of $0.0000000092 in the early hours of Tuesday morning, likely triggered by a skit in the Chinese New Year’s Gala held by state broadcasters the night before.
The Chinese New Year’s Gala, also known as Chunwan in Chinese, is an annual TV extravaganza produced by China’s national broadcaster CCTV. Positioned as the most important cultural event during the Chinese New Year celebration, often including top performers from all across the country, the Gala is the most watched show in China and has become an indispensible part of Chinese families’ Lunar New Year’s Eve since its launch in 1983. This year, the average viewership rate on TV reached 21.93%, and approximately 4.932 billion people watched the live show and its video clips via digital media platforms.
The Gala usually lasts from 8 p.m until 12 a.m. on the first day of the Lunar New Year, and offers a variety of performances ranging from singing, dancing and magic shows to comedy skits and crosstalk. One of the most popular comedy skits from this year’s Gala featured Chinese comedian Shen Teng, and tells the story of a man who refuses to repay the debt he owes.
At one point, Shen Teng tried to use “metaverse investment” as an excuse for his not being able to repay the debt. “I have invested all my money into the pet business in the metaverse. I’m going to sell dogs there. I will be the dog king of the metaverse!” The two creditors were then lured by Shen’s idea and lent him even more money to get a piece of the action.
The punchline won laughter and applause from across the country. In the meantime, crypto investors around the globe were also surprised to see the rocketlike rise of a cryptocurrency with the same name as the Chinese comedian’s new title, Doge King, a self solvent token inspired by Dogecoin.
Doge King’s price soared to as high as $0.0000000092 around 5 a.m. on Tuesday (GMT+8), a 2,300% rise. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the price has lowered to 0.0000000027, still representing a 650% rise compared with its average price (approximately $0.0000000004) during the past three months since its launch in November 2021.
Like most of the state-supervised cultural productions in China, performances for Chinese New Year’s Gala are carefully crafted. They serve not only to entertain, but also to convey important messages highly relevant to domestic affairs throughout the past year. The “metaverse dog king” joke reminds audiences of China’s metaverse hype throughout 2021, with internet giants such as Tencent and Baidu rushing into the global race for metaverse innovation. Entering 2022, however, China’s rencent rebuff of various metaverse trademark applications seems to signal that regulators are discouraging all the excitement. By representing the concept of the metaverse as a scam which Shen uses to escape his debt and cheat for more money, the moral of the comedy skit is clear: The metaverse is a minefield with which you don’t want to mess around.
China has also banned cryptocurrencies and their mining since last year in an effort to curtail financial crime and prevent instability within the financial system that cryptocurrencies may cause due to their highly speculative nature. On Chinese social media platform Weibo, search results for a topic about Shen Teng’s punchline and Doge King has now been blocked “according to relevant laws and regulations,” but news reports on the topic are still available.