Richard Lenz, a 31-year-old project manager for a hazardous waste disposal company in North Ridgeville, Ohio, bought his Dogecoin in March 2014 after a subreddit for NASCAR fans teamed up to sponsor driver Josh Wise using cryptocurrency. (Mr. Wise drove in a doge-wrapped car.)

“I was done within a year,” he said. “That was literally just a joke.”

Then, a few months ago, Mr. Lenz saw headlines about the Dogecoin price hike. He also got nervous: he knew he had stored his coins on the hard drive of his old computer, but he wasn’t sure where that hard drive was.

“I started looking for it a month, two months ago and couldn’t find it,” he said. Somewhere he had $ 10,000 worth of Dogecoin, then $ 40,000. “My father was kind of angry,” he said, a feeling that increased as the price went up.

Mr. Lenz resigned himself to the fact that his coins were gone. “If God wanted me to have the money, I would have had the money,” he said. Then, on May 7, the day before Elon Musk was due to host Saturday Night Live, he found the hard drive and immediately sold his coins for around $ 70,000. (According to “SNL,” where Mr. Musk joked about the currency, the price fell.)

Mr. Lenz gave some of the money to his parents and plans to pay for his sister’s wedding. As for the rest? “I’m not kidding when I say I did,” he said of hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s shares in SPAC, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings.