Furry haired ‘meme coin’ enthusiasts rejoiced and seasoned investors rolled their eyes this week as the self-proclaimed “Dogecoin killer” Shiba Inu skyrocketed to the highest price it’s been since its release in May. It’s now sitting, at the time of writing, on AU $0.00004061.
But before we get into why Shiba Inu is blowing up, and whether it’s too late to buy, first: what the hell is Shiba Inu?
Shiba Inu is one of a few new ‘meme coins’ on the block, which appears to have been inspired by Dogecoin’s heroic spikes (which began in Jan/Feb), when people started looking for the next Dogecoin (one they could get in early on this time).
Shiba Inu is far from the only one – plenty of developers have tried to riff off it (with catchy names and the like). Shiba Inu, however, is arguably the catchiest spinoff right now (Shiba Inu being the name of the breed of dog the Dogecoin meme is based on).
Shina Inu’s origin story goes as follows: Russian-Canadian programmer and writer (and co-founder of Ethereum) Vitalik Buterin was, without his permission, gifted 50% of Shiba Inu’s coins by its anonymous founder (who goes by the pseudonym Ryoshi), according to SHIB’s white paper.
Buterin is a respected figure in the crypto space. However, this gave him the power to rug pull at any time. Which he promptly did – but not quite in the way you might expect. Buterin donated a huge number of Shiba Inu (as well as a couple other of his other coins) to help support India’s Covid relief cause.
This caused panic among investors and saw Shiba Inu’s price plummet drastically soon after its inception. It’s price dropped from just over 0.00004 to around $0.00001, and has hovered around the 0.00001 range for months. After a couple of mini price hikes in September, however, Shiba Inu’s value has now started soaring in October. It is now worth $0.00004061 – more or less back to where it was before Buterin’s charitable rug pull.
This week Shiba Inu holders have woken to see 50% price increases – and then last night 70% price increases – overnight.
These rises have come after billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk posted a photo of his new Shiba Inu puppy with the caption, “Floki Frunkpuppy” on Twitter on the 4th of October.
Floki Frunkpuppy pic.twitter.com/xAr8T0Jfdf
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 4, 2021
Elon has a history of playing with the crypto market, and many users seeked further clarification on his cryptic message (or non message, depending on how you view it).
Hello, it is floki coin or shiba inu ?
— KShop (@KogiShopp) October 4, 2021
Many supporters and holders of Shiba Inu, with a vested interest in seeing its price skyrocket, took this chance to generate hype and FOMO (as did fans of every coin which could conceivably be linked in any way to the Tweet).
Naturally, for the time being, the price has shot up, with Shiba Inu making it into CoinSpot’s #1 ‘gainer’ spot at certain points this week (it’s currently the number 2 gainer across the entire market, with BTC Standa sitting at #1 at the time of writing).
But is Shiba Inu’s growth sustainable?
Take this as a compliment or an insult (take your pick), but Shiba Inu is sustainable in much the same way Dogecoin is sustainable – it will last so long as there is people buying more of it. As long as there is hype and cult-like belief.
Although figures like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk like to pontificate about the potential real uses of meme coins (see video below, where Elon Musk calls Dogecoin the best medium of exchange), and though it is true that Dogecoin, for instance has quicker transaction speeds than Bitcoin, there is already a more serious segment of the crypto market dedicated to solving that problem and becoming the next Ethereum (see: Cardano). At this stage, there’s nothing more than random Elon Musk tweets that suggest meme coins like Dogecoin – which was originally built to be unusable – are practical enough to go down that route.
Elon Musk & Mark Cuban talk about the potential ‘real life’ applications of meme coins – beyond just cash.
That said, Dogecoin saw some ridiculous highs earlier this year based on what some call idiocy, and what others call groupthink. And the same phenomenon could now be at play with Shiba Inu. So if you are happy to risk your money (and know you might not get it back) then Shiba Inu could be worth a flutter (much like a trip to the casino) and it could keep on booming for a bit, with bigger spikes potentially around the corner. Or it could just totally die off again and never see another spike after this one. Who knows.
So – to answer the question, ‘is it too late to buy?’, that really depends on whether the hype grows, or whether those that have just made serious money breathe a sigh of relief and cash out, and leave you holding the bag.