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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The current stratospheric levels of cryptocurrencies in general, and Dogecoin in particular, can make it a lot easier to spend money.

Driving the news: Another part of the thinking behind the Tesla cryptocurrency announcement is that for someone sitting on a lot of bitcoin, it's psychologically easier to transfer a single bitcoin to Tesla than it would be to try to write a check for $40,000.

  • An economist would say that transferring the bitcoin is exactly the same as selling the bitcoin and spending the proceeds. Which goes to show the limitations of economics.

For instance: Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum, announced this month that he had transferred exactly $4,280,784.20 of his crypto assets to GiveDirectly, the nonprofit that gives cash payments to the neediest people in the world.

  • "They take crypto," he wrote — a decision on the charity's part that clearly paid off handsomely. Buterin then added cheekily: "They don't yet take DOGE directly but maybe that can change."

GiveDirectly didn't need to be asked twice — they immediately set up a wallet for Dogecoin donations.

  • The result: Elon Musk donated 150,000 Dogecoin, worth just over $11,000. His tweet helped precipitate a rash of other Dogecoin donations, too.

The bottom line: Crypto can feel divorced from reality, in an easy-come-easy-go kind of way. Weirdly, that can make them an excellent fundraising vehicle.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Feb 10, 2021 - Economy & Business

Interest in crypto remains low but is growing fast

Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Use of and interest in cryptocurrency remains far from mainstream, but it's growing at a sizable clip. Companies like PayPal, Square and most recently Tesla are helping by launching crypto payment programs.

Driving the news: A survey from data firm CivicScience provided first to Axios shows that since the third quarter of 2019 the number of people investing in cryptocurrencies has risen 50% — to 9% from 6% — and the number of people who intend to use crypto has more than doubled, rising to 7% from 3%.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens in Atlanta, Georgia, late Tuesday. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.