Throw everything cool and techy in a blender and what do you get? Million Doge Disco. It’s an augmented reality game similar to Pokemon Go with NFTs ✅ and blockchain ✅ and augmented reality ✅ and partying ✅ and Tamagotchi ✅ and Dogecoin ✅ and … free money.
Or free Dogecoin, at least. One million free Dogecoin.
Which you have to capture, then dance with, and babysit while they increase in value.
Yes, it’s insane. And so is (in a good way!) its founder and CEO Gary Lachance, who co-created the Distributed Dance Party and sees gaming as a way to bring about world peace.
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Read: Million Doge Disco is everything techy and cool in a blender
(This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
John Koetsier: Can you get more 2021 than Million Doge Disco?
You’ve got crypto in Dogecoin; you’ve got NFTs; you’ve got a cross between sort of a CryptoKitties and Tamagotchi style pets; you’ve got kind of Pokémon Go type game mechanics, augmented reality, dancing in public, and a million Dogecoin giveaway … all to unify humanity via a political movement called the Decentralized Dance Party.
So the question is, did the people behind this game just throw everything funky and cool and tacky into a blender and throw it against the wall? We’re going to find out as we chat with the co-founder and CEO, Gary Lachance. Gary, welcome to the show!
Gary Lachance: Great to be here. Thank you.
John Koetsier: Hey, let’s start right at the beginning. What is Million Doge Disco?
Gary Lachance: Million Doge Disco is a master plan to get the entire world dancing together. Is that all the detail you require?
John Koetsier: No, no. I require much more detail. [laughter]
Gary Lachance: The idea is we are dropping one million Disco Doge, Dancing Doge NFTs all across the globe with Doge within them, over the next three months leading up to World Peace Day. And these NFTs are also a Tamagotchi-style Dogeagotchi pet. And the idea is that people will receive them and we have proof of partying mechanisms where people will dance, post to social media, and be showered with Dogecoin in return.
And the idea is that it will hopefully kickstart this whole new augmented reality metaverse party layer on top of the world where it’s just starting out now with phones. But pretty soon I think augmented reality glasses are going to be cheap and plentiful, and then … press of a button, you can opt into an alternate universe that’s alive with sound and light and Doge everywhere. And it’s a great way to unify and liberate humanity.
John Koetsier: So this was not the first thing that you’ve done. You’ve done a variety of things before, but you have done the Decentralized Dance Party which this kind of plays into.
What is the Decentralized Dance Party?
Gary Lachance: So, yeah, the Decentralized Dance Party began 12 years ago here in Vancouver. And the idea was to get a portable FM radio transmitter and hundreds of old vintage boomboxes [turning around to grab one]… this is not a virtual background. [Video clip: “Our first party was just us and a few close friends, but within six months we were attracting literally tens of thousands of people.”]
And so we get the boomboxes and the transmitter, have a starting point, hand them out to a bunch of people waiting there, and it creates this mobile synchronized sound system. And you basically run all over the city on a crazy party adventure with hundreds or thousands of friends and strangers, and everyone basically has the best time ever.
And yeah, we started 12 years ago, toured it across Canada a couple times, across the States. We’ve gone to Europe, other spots all over the globe and … at first we just thought it would be an awesome, ridiculous, hilarious thing, but we realized during the Olympics in 2010, this is like a new form of social alchemy. [Video clip].
Nothing like this had really existed before. Any normal show, it’s like a central stage, a performer, it’s usually ticketed, and there’s usually a profit motive.
This is totally decentralized; everyone’s on the same level; everyone’s a node in the network. And it’s totally free for anyone to join at any time, even if they weren’t expecting it. And yeah, just this party atmosphere with the right intention and vibe and music, like it totally just breaks down people’s inhibitions and normal social/cultural conditioning, and you just have these amazing connections. So…
John Koetsier: Cool. So you’ve started this app. You started this game with Million Doge Disco … what’s the game? How do you play it?
Gary Lachance: So, the game, we are just figuring it out as we go. The initial idea was, well, this was something that arose out of the DDP. Like in 2016, when Pokémon Go was first happening, I was looking at it and I was like, wow, this is like, we always wanted to do giant simultaneous global parties.
Then I saw that happening. I was like, man, if we could combine Pokémon Go with a crazy dance party and some sort of crypto incentivization, like that is how we get the whole world partying together … hopefully with the side effect of world peace. And so this idea was kind of in the back of my head and we never had like billions of dollars of development money.
And then we were getting into researching NFTs late last year, and … that’s a whole other story, I could tell you about peace bonds later. And we discovered my good friend, Thomas, who’s the co-founder of this project, he introduced me to this company called BLOCKv, and they’ve kind of very quietly been creating this amazing, super robust NFT platform for the last three or four years where they’ve created this kind of like Pokémon Go sort of AR infrastructure where you can drop NFTs literally all over the world.
John Koetsier: Nice.
Gary Lachance: So when I connected with them, I was like, wow, like this is, I think this is what we’ve been waiting for.
John Koetsier: Nice.
Gary Lachance: And that was three months ago and we just went full steam ahead trying to figure out exactly how to build this thing and how it’ll work and…
John Koetsier: So I’ve played Pokémon Go. I probably still have it on my phone somewhere and I walk around and I run into something, I roll some balls at it, and there you go.
I’m playing Million Doge Disco, and so I walk around and I run into … a little dog? What do I run into?
Gary Lachance: Well, this is what we’ve been figuring out. Like the initial, the first idea I had was we should just have Doge that are running across the globe and the further they run, the more money or the more Doge gets built up within them.
So we’ve got people chasing them, but you don’t want to catch it because it keeps increasing in value.
John Koetsier: Ohhh.
Gary Lachance: So we still might have that integration. It seems like a lot of fun, but Thomas has done all kinds of game design and development and thinking and philosophizing, and he’s like, ‘We really need to keep people engaged long term.’
So then he proposed the idea of a Tamagotchi-style thing, so a Dogeagotchi like virtual pet. So you’ll get your Dancing Doge Dogeagotchi and you can put all kinds of crazy costumes and outfits on it. And there’s a function where you have to dance with it, ideally every day to keep it loyal. If the loyalty score dips too low, it’ll run away.
And once you have your Doge there’s also a…
John Koetsier: What is the proof of dancing? How do you know? I mean, like maybe I’m just walking, maybe I’m just swinging my phone in the air. What’s the proof of dancing there?
Gary Lachance: So for that, yeah, we’re calling it Proof of Partying, which is, obviously it’s just a play on Proof of Work or Proof of Stake. So for the Doge within the app right now, there’s no way to prove you’re actually dancing every day, but really you’re only cheating yourself if you’re not dancing with your Doge and that’s just to keep it loyal.
We’ve had to think pretty hard on this because pretty much any system there’s ways to cheat it. But the initial Proof of Partying we’re doing is everyone on the beta waitlist, we send them a message and we say, ‘You gotta do Proof of Partying to earn your Dogeagotchi.’ So…
John Koetsier: Nice.
Gary Lachance: They do like a short dance and then they make the Doge Disco salute and/or cross the paws as the Doge did.
John Koetsier: Very, very nice. So…
Gary Lachance: One momentous moment. So that’s how they get it initially and then there’s a Proof of Partying 2.0 … we’re still figuring out exactly how it should work, where we want to get people partying together. And we can even integrate like Chainlink Oracle things where it’s like a thousand people dance here, maybe it’ll release a thousand Doge somewhere else in the world to go to some charity or…
John Koetsier: Wow.
Gary Lachance: All these ideas are just coming up, like just kind of forging ahead and seeing what develops.
John Koetsier: When you have a virtual currency and you have augmented reality and virtual things running around, the limit is your imagination and your ability to create it, right? I mean, that sounds very cool.
A social aspect of this game where your Doge meet with others could be very, very cool. Proof of Partying would be easier if you’re with a bunch of people and sharing some things between the games.
Now you had at one point a million dollars worth of Doge. How did that come about?
Gary Lachance: So, it’s actually, it’s a million Doge and a bit more on a paper wallet, and that was acquired way back in the early days, 2014, when Doge was first happening.
We were like, yeah, this is the best. I was like, I need to have a million Doge. So it was like 300 or 400 bucks back then, which was like, I was still like all my credit cards maxed out keeping the DDP going, but I was like, I need a million Doge, like who cares?
So I had it sitting on the paper wallet and it’s gone up and down in value. The peak in 2017 was 2 cents which made it, I guess $20,000 for day or two, and then way back down to like a couple grand.
And then yeah, a few months ago it went totally wild. And when we were first discussing this concept with BLOCKv, talking about putting Doge, like it blew ’em up. I didn’t think it would be possible.
I was like, can we put actual Doge in these NFTs? And they’re like, yeah. I was like, ah, I have this old paper wallet and it was worth, it had gone up to like $30,000 at that point.
And I was like, I was planning to just like be buried with it, just as a hilarious thing. But I was like, man, this is way better if we just send this Doge around the world as part of this crazy dance party concept. And then it went way — like it almost was worth a million dollars Canadian a couple of months ago. And they’re like, Gary, do you still want to do this? I was like, oh yeah. This makes it way better.
John Koetsier: You weren’t tempted even for a second to like sell all that Doge, thank Elon Musk for all his help, and retire on a beach somewhere?
Gary Lachance: No, it just … it’s always felt like the right thing to do.
John Koetsier: Cool.
Gary Lachance: I mean, this is why we got into Doge back in the day. It was just about fun and giving and being ridiculous and we were just like throwing Doge all over the world having the best time and…
John Koetsier: Nice.
Gary Lachance: I’m sure, yeah. Everything comes back around so … it’s fine.
John Koetsier: So, talk about this game a little bit.
You’ve put in so many elements: the NFTs, the cryptocurrency, the kind of CryptoKitties Tamagotchi thing, the PokemonGo stuff. How did this come about? How— did you literally put it in a blender or did you just pull the string and one thing came out after another?
And, maybe end that off with do you think more games are going to come out like this?
Gary Lachance: Yeah, I mean, it started with the Pokémon game idea thing like five years ago and then, yeah, elements just kept coming in on many late night Zoom calls as we were discussing the possibilities.
And it’s cool too, we filmed all the late night Zoom meetings as it evolved, so [laughter] … documentary someday. Yeah. It’s been crazy, like I’ve never really read any science fiction novels. Apparently this is all kind of talked about, like Neal Stephenson, Metaverse stuff but … as we were thinking this through, I was like, man, this gets crazier and crazier with, like this is the real power of NFTs, I think.
Like you can create, we were realizing within this Dogeverse, like it doesn’t have to be just Doge, you can with the new iPhones they have the lidar scanner.
So you can scan yourself or anything. And you could put like a million of you all over the world and then once you have that scan, they have these like haptic bodysuits where your movements can translate. So you could have yourself dancing all over the world times a million, interacting with other people that could like step into augmented reality and see it.
So you can turn the whole world into this crazy party layer. And this was always our ultimate objective too, is … there’s a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. it says, ‘Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.’ Obviously those who love war, they have trillion dollar budgets, but this, I was realizing this is how you can create a giant global Doge party army and like teleport it across the world. And with AR, like turn the whole world into a party, and partying is waging peace. So…
John Koetsier: Nice.
Gary Lachance: With like no technology or infrastructure, we could organize more effectively than those who love war. So, it’s exciting.
John Koetsier: Very, very cool. Is this your first game?
Gary Lachance: Yeah. I mean, I played games back like 8-bit, 16-bit. Once we hit beyond 16-bit I was like, I’m out. Too many buttons, too many dimensions, and was on to other stuff. So yeah, I haven’t really done much gaming, but we have gamers on the team who have lots more experience. So we’re just trusting their advice. The only thing for me is like, it should be fun and simple and get people dancing together. So, we’re not trying to over-engineer it or make it anything ridiculous. Just…
John Koetsier: Not ridiculous at all. No. With the virtual currency and augmented reality…
Gary Lachance: I don’t even notice.
John Koetsier: …currency based on a dog, [laughter] and virtual pets that you need to take care of — not ridiculous at all. I have to ask, what is this fixation with dancing?
Gary Lachance: With dancing?
John Koetsier: Yes.
Gary Lachance: I guess it’s, like I grew up in small town Northern Ontario, where … it wasn’t much of a dance party, it was just like every weekend, just get as wasted as you can and like risk your life and be totally insane.
So we had all these wild, crazy party ventures that were like, what’s your threshold for excitement? Very high. So, normal life became pretty mundane and we were always looking for the next thrill, like way into the whole extreme sports craze as well.
And then we moved to Vancouver and things were a lot less exciting here. So we started running around with one boombox connected to an iPod, and then when the music started to fuel these party adventures we were like, this is awesome. And then, it wasn’t necessarily … I guess there was a lot of dancing that happened. Singing, dancing, just like music adds so much to any adventure. And then once we got the hundred boomboxes synchronized it was just like, wow, this is the thing.
Yeah, it’s just this, like when you start thinking about it deeply, you don’t even really think what is music? What is dancing? Why do we do these things? Like you take it for granted, but it’s really weird. We’re the only creature that does it and…
John Koetsier: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen pets dance, at least appear to dance on TikTok. But [laughing] I could be mistaken. In any case, it is cool. I will look for it. I may even try to play it and win some of the Dogecoin. Where can people find it?
Gary Lachance: Dogedisco.com. It’s the main landing page, [crosstalk] it will list everything.
John Koetsier: Excellent. Well, Gary, thank you so much for your time, appreciate it. And looking forward to it, hope it’s a great success and you inspire billions of dancers.
Gary Lachance: Hope so. Thanks for having me on.
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