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Doja coin skyrockets, then plummets after hackers use Doja Cat’s X account to boost sales

Doja Cat performing with her long blond hair blowing wildly around her head.
Doja Cat advised followers via Instagram that messages promoting cryptocurrency on her X account were not coming from her.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
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The meme coin named after recording artist Doja Cat surged in value Monday when posts on her X account urged her 5.6 million followers to buy it.

The ringing (and sometimes profane) endorsements, however, came from hackers who had taken over the account, the singer-rapper said shortly thereafter via Instagram. The coin’s value quickly sank back to the crypto equivalent of penny-stock territory, where it remained Tuesday.

The roughly 1 billion Doja coins had a total market value of $13,700 as of Tuesday afternoon, or less than $.000014 each.

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Like other cryptocurrencies, meme coins — virtual currencies based on a meme or a parody of one — have no intrinsic value, so their worth depends entirely on what people are willing to pay for them at the moment. The most popular meme coin, Dogecoin, has a market capitalization of more than $15 billion; dozens of meme coins have each drawn tens of millions of dollars in investment.

For every meme coin that’s successful today, there are hundreds worth nothing or next to nothing. Nevertheless, a number of celebrities have sought to capitalize on the phenomenon, including rapper Iggy Azalea, whose recently introduced Mother coin had a market capitalization of more than $200 million on June 8. By Tuesday, Mother’s price had dropped about 85% from its June peak.

Beyond the volatility of the market, meme coins based on celebrities with large followings on social media have been the target of numerous hacks like the one Monday on Doja Cat’s account on X (formerly Twitter).

The hackers’ goal is to persuade enough people to jump on the coin’s bandwagon to raise its value, at which point investors could sell their holdings at a profit — at least until the market reacts and the value drops again. “Buy $DOJA or else,” read one post on Doja Cat’s X account, illustrated with a picture of the artist in chain mail brandishing a sword. Another directed an epithet at Azalea, then said, “and buy $DOJA.”

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The posts, which have been removed, coincided with a flurry of Doja transactions — about 15,000 — that caused the coin’s selling price to skyrocket, according to GeckoTerminal.com. Within an hour and a half, however, the gains had all but evaporated in a tidal wave of sell-offs.

Doja Cat’s representatives did not respond immediately Tuesday to a request for comment.

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