In this month’s instalment of ‘What does the data say?’, we look at the incredible rise of Dogecoin, Nike’s direct-to-consumer strategy and the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada.
Has Dogecoin outperformed Ethereum and Bitcoin?
What was a satirical token launched as a joke by two software engineers over a decade ago has become one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies. Dogecoin, named after the viral dog meme, has been on a wild rise this year.
Dogecoin has been on a wild rise this year
This is due, in part, to the “Elon Musk effect”. The Tesla billionaire’s supportive tweets have acted as jet fuel to Dogecoin’s price all year – pushing it from less than one cent at the beginning of the year to an all-time high of 74 cents in May.
At its peak, the cryptocurrency had a year-to-date gain of more than 15,000 per cent – quadruple those on the S&P 500, including dividends, since 1988. In percentage terms at least, its price increase has also left Ethereum and Bitcoin for dust.
Figure 1: Dogecoin’s price change this year (versus Ethereum and Bitcoin) since January 1
Source: Coin Metrics, as of July 21, 2021
Although the cryptocurrency has since fallen (see Figure 2), Musk’s tweet on July 1 (“Release the Doge”1) pushed the price up once again, highlighting his influence on Dogecoin’s fortunes.
Figure 2: Dogecoin’s share price since January 1
Source: Coindesk, as of July 21, 2021
Is Nike’s direct-to-consumer strategy paying off?
The iconic sportswear brand had an incredible pandemic performance, with its share price jumping from $66.08 on March 16 last year to a record-high of $156 last month.
The company realised the importance of branding to drive consumer preference when competitors are just a click away; it also realised the need to take control of its distribution and deepen its connection with consumers.
Nike reported its highest ever revenues for its own brand in the twelve months ending May 31, 2021 ($42.3 billion). Figure 3 shows that a whopping $16.4 billion came from D2C sales – a 32 per cent increase on the previous year. The sportswear giant has more than doubled its percentage of D2C sales from 16 per cent in 2010 to 39 per cent today.
Figure 3: Nike’s revenue since 2010 ($bn)
Source: Nike SEC Filings, as of May 31, 2021
North American heatwave
Abnormally high temperatures have been recorded in North America in the last few years as climate change intensifies. Lytton, a village in British Columbia, recently recorded the country's highest ever temperature – a staggering 49.6 Celsius (as shown in Figure 4).
Figure 4: Daily high temperature in Lytton2
Source: Dr. Robert Rohde, as of June 30, 2021
The issue with such high temperatures is not just that they are dangerous to the human body (temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius can cause heat exhaustion), but they are also catalysts for devasting wildfires.
High temperatures are catalysts for devasting wildfires
The paradox here is that wildfires are caused by climate change, but they also contribute to global warming, which creates a dangerous feedback loop. Indeed, emissions from US fires last year were three times higher than usual.3 The fear is that this year’s fires will be even worse, particularly as western US states are already experiencing soaring temperatures and wildfires.