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Jamaican bobsled Olympic team gets huge donation of dog-inspired Internet money

Published January 20, 2014 6:37 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jamaican bobsled team — perennially famous thanks to the movie "Cool Runnings" — is a little closer to competing in the Sochi Olympics thanks to an Internet community that uses a small but growing form of online currency.

As of Monday, users of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin had raised more than $35,000 for the island nation's two-man bobsled team, made up of Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon. And if the that last sentence didn't entirely make sense to you, don't worry; though growing, "cryptocurrency" and "Dogecoin" are still relatively new inventions. Here's the lowdown:

A cryptocurrency is basically a type of digital currency that is used primarily for online transactions, but can be exchanged for more familiar kinds. And unlike traditional currencies — the dollar or the euro, for example — these digital currencies aren't controlled by any world government. Instead, they're "open source," meaning people trade them and use them on their own.

Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, but Dogecoin has been gaining traction recently. And in case you were wondering about the name, Dogecoin is based on an Internet meme featuring dogs.

So, back to the Jamaican bobsled team. The team had its own fundraising page, but the Dogecoin users skipped that and started their own. And it took off; though each Dogecoin is worth only about $0.002, more than a million poured in, achieving the initiative's goal.

As the International Business Times reports, Dogecoin users tend to have a stronger sense of community than users of other cryptocurrencies.

In case you're wondering, the Jamaican team just recently qualified for the Sochi Olympics, but needed donations to be able to afford the costly trip and competition.

—Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii