It also came up during his opening monologue, when he confirmed to his mom’s playful dismay that she was getting dogecoin for Mother’s Day.
Dogecoin had been trading at about 65 cents Saturday ahead of Musk’s appearance but fell abruptly just after midnight, sliding to as low as 44 cents early Sunday.
It had topped 70 cents for the first time just days earlier — a surge that Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at the currency data and analytics company Oanda, attributed to the buzz surrounding the Tesla and SpaceX chief’s hosting gig. “Musk will undoubtedly have a sketch on cryptocurrencies that will probably go viral for days and further motivate his army of followers to try to send Dogecoin to the moon,” he wrote.
Yet even with the recent plunge, dogecoin is up a staggering 10,000 percent since the start of the year. It is now among the four most valuable cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, worth more than such corporate giants as Ford, Kraft Heinz and Marriott, at about $65 billion.
Musk’s appearance did provide the ratings boost that SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels and NBC appeared to be hoping for. The show notched the third-highest ratings of the 20 planned episodes this season. Its 4.8 household rating — that is, nearly 5 percent of homes with a TV watched it — marked a 33 percent increase over the most recent new episode in April, hosted by the actress Carey Mulligan.
It was outpaced by the Nov. 7 episode hosted by the comic Dave Chappelle, which scored a 5.7 household rating, and one hosted by Chris Rock. It tied with the show hosted by singer Adele.
The numbers, measured overnight by Nielsen, could still shift slightly.
Meanwhile, digital traffic — a key metric for SNL popularity — has been strong for the episode. As of Monday, Musk’s monologue had racked up nearly 6 million views, while his appearance as Wario — a meme-ready sketch Musk has already tabbed as his favorite — surpassed 3 million. Both figures are higher than many comparable clips in other episodes this season.
Throughout the year, Musk has been vocal in his praise of dogecoin, with his pronouncements often coinciding with price surges. Last month, Musk tweeted: “The Dogefather SNL May 8.”
On Sunday evening, Musk continued his doge-evangelism, tweeting details about SpaceX’s “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon” scheduled for early next year. SpaceX, on a Falcon 9 rocket, plans to deliver a 40-kilogram satellite from Geometric Energy Corp., which will finance the mission using dogecoin.
“To the mooooonnn!!” Musk tweeted, alongside a YouTube link of a meme-inspired dogecoin song.
By Monday morning dogecoin was trading at just under 50 cents.
Dogecoin’s astounding rise is part of a broader rally in the world of cryptocurrency. Several popular tokens have doubled or tripled in value within months.
Bitcoin, the most well-known and valuable cryptocurrency, began the year at less than $30,000, but has catapulted to around $60,000, marking a roughly 100 percent climb. Ethereum, the second-most valuable cryptocurrency, surpassed $4,000 for the first time this weekend, blazing a path upward of more than 450 percent.
The S&P 500, a benchmark index for the overall stock market, by contrast is up roughly 13 percent for the year.
Steven Zeitchik contributed to this report.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said a recent "Saturday Night Live" episode hosted by Carey Mulligan aired in March. The episode aired in April. The story also incorrectly referred to an SNL episode hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The episode was hosted by Chris Rock.