What is shiba inu coin? Is there anything real behind its blistering rally, or is it pure hype?

·3 min read
Close-up view of a cute shiba inu dog yawning and sticking out his tongue because he just woke up from a nap.
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Altcoin season is upon us again, though most are selling off Wednesday, and one unsuspecting front-runner continues to set new records: shiba inu.

The meme token, which seemingly vaulted out of nowhere, now could take over dogecoin's spot to become the 10th-largest digital asset in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Shiba inu surged as much as 45% Wednesday to a fresh intraday high of $0.00006220, according to data from CoinGecko, taking its gains over the past month to nearly 710%. With a market value of $30.9 billion, it is the 11th-biggest crypto.

But what is shiba inu in the first place?

Shiba inu is an ethereum-based alternative to dogecoin, a meme token favored by the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Cuban. It even calls itself a dogecoin killer and, like dogecoin, features the Shiba Inu as its mascot.

"I don't know if there is room in the market for multiple meme coins," Chris Kline, chief operating officer and cofounder of Bitcoin IRA, told Insider. "Is it a zero-sum game?"

The token was founded in August 2020 by someone going by the name Ryoshi, whose goal was to move away from "rigid social structures and traditional mindsets," according to its 28-page white paper, or in shiba inu's case, woof paper.

Instead, shiba inu wanted to be "an experiment in decentralized spontaneous community building" and to give power back to the "average person."

So why is it rallying?

A couple of reasons. On Wednesday, the rise in price could be attributed to an online petition on Change.org that's gotten more than 300,000 signatures calling for Robinhood to be the first traditional brokerage to list shiba inu coin.

Recently shiba inu also released a series of nonfungible tokens called "shiboshis" that are written on the ethereum blockchain. Some of these feature shiba inus wearing a party hat or with laser eyes.

And in May, the coin made headlines when the ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin donated 50 trillion (then worth around $1 billion) to a crypto-based COVID-19 relief fund for India.

Beyond that, it's really just the Shib Army rallying behind the coin.

"The crypto universe is full of coins that represent diverse use cases and themes," John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the team behind altcoin avalanche, told Insider.

And meme tokens, he said, "are driven by culture and represent an underlying theme or movement, rather than special technical use cases."

So does that mean shiba inu has no real use case?

It is tough to say - for now at least. Wu said shiba inu "wasn't built with a sophisticated use case like borrowing, lending, trading, or gaming," but it is trying to be useful.

Since shiba inu is written on the ethereum blockchain, it might have more advanced smart-contracting capabilities, Wu said. One example is Shibaswap, a platform launched in July that aims to provide utility for the token in terms of staking and rewards.

How much is a shiba inu?

If you think dogecoin at $0.244775 is cheap, wait until you hear how much shiba inu is. The coin trades for just $0.00006289. So owning 1 million shiba inu coins will amount to only $62.89.

But nominal price isn't the best way to measure the attractiveness of a crypto. Instead, it's the future use cases of the asset as well as the potential it brings. And having a passionate community behind it doesn't hurt either.

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