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All about Shiba Inu, the memecoin

The very idea of Shiba Inu might evoke images of a cute and cuddly Japanese breed of furball, but for crypto enthusiasts it is a different ball game altogether.

The powerful cryptocurrency is a dog-themed altcoin. Built by an anonymous creator who goes by the name Ryoshi, it was launched in August 2020.

The Shiba Inu cryptocurrency is also known as a memecoin, which means it is created based on internet memes and trends. Meme coins generally appeal to a small group of investors and are based on an inside joke.

This altcoin (any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin is termed as altcoin), is gaining massive popularity and viewership. Additionally, in 2021 it emerged as the most popular crypto for the year, with around 43 million more views than Bitcoin. It is safe to say that last year its bark echoed the most among other meme coins with dog themes like Floki Inu, Doge Dash and Dogelon Mars.

Branded for a long time as the coin ‘designed to kill Dogecoin,’ Shiba Inu soon became an overnight sensation in October 2021 after its price increased tenfold. Its value skyrocketed such that Shiba Inu reached a whopping USD 35 billion, which got it the tenth place among all cryptocurrencies. If you’re even remotely interested in cryptocurrencies and the world of digital assets, it is hard to miss out on Shiba Inu.

Here’s everything you should know about the Shiba Inu altcoin

Shiba Inu origin

Shiba Inu altcoin
Image credit: Quantitatives/ @quantitatives/ Unsplash

As already mentioned Shiba Inu is a meme coin that has its roots in internet trends and memes. It was launched as a direct competition to Dogecoin. The coin originated from a 2013 meme featuring Shiba Inu dogs. What started as a community-driven token representing a meme, soon snowballed into a multi-billion dollar crypto project.

According to its 28-page white paper or ‘woof paper,’ the Shiba Inu coin is ‘an experiment in decentralised spontaneous community building.’ With the Shiba Inu dog as the mascot, it has a staggering market cap of USD 11,920,753,119 at the time of writing the article.

The Shiba Inu mechanism

Most cryptocurrencies are coins which have their own separate blockchains. However, for Shiba Inu, the mechanism is slightly different. It is a token and not a coin. Tokens are created on top of existing blockchains. Shiba Inu doesn’t have its own blockchain system.

Shiba Inu is built on the existing Ethereum blockchain. Unlike this, popular cryptocurrencies like DOGE and BTC have their own blockchains which make them coins and not tokens. According to the woof paper, Ryoshi launched his meme coin on Ethereum due to the platform being ‘secure and well-established.’ This allows Shiba Inu to be decentralised and hence accessible to a large user base.

Shiba Inu ecosystem

Shiba Inu memecoin
Image credit: Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu ecosystem consists of three tokens — the eponymous token (SHIB) which is its main and most important token, Leash (LEASH) and Bone (BONE).

With over one quadrillion tokens, Shiba Inu (SHIB) is the face of the ecosystem. It would be quite a natural thing to think that Shiba Inu’s anonymous founder Ryoshi’s token asset would know no bounds. Hold that thought. To make things more interesting, Ryoshi claims to own no SHIB token. Half of the SHIB tokens are locked in a liquidity pool while the other 50 percent was sent to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. It doesn’t end there.

Instead of keeping the stake with him, Buterin burnt almost 90 percent of his SHIB tokens, worth USD 6.7 billion and donated over USD 1 billion to charity towards the India Crypto Covid Relief Fund to help fight a growing COVID-19 crisis in India. According to a Coindesk report, Buterin mentioned in a note attached to another transaction at that time,“I’ve decided to burn 90% of the remaining shiba tokens in my wallet. The remaining 10% will be sent to a (not yet decided) charity with similar values to cryptorelief (preventing large-scale loss of life) but with a more long-term orientation.”

Next comes LEASH. It is Shiba Inu’s second token. It was initially launched as a rebase coin to ‘tame’ and counter the DOGE. A rebase coin is a stablecoin but for cryptocurrencies. Its value is not tied to any fiat currency like the USD but to another major digital currency.

BONE has a slightly different purpose. It is the governance token for Shiba Inu which allows Shiba supporters called ‘SHIB Army’ to vote and take calls on proposals and make decisions.

Utility and support

Shiba Inu utility
Image credit: Shiba Inu

It is true that popular meme coins are mostly based on internet hype and have a short lived craze. But the Shiba token goes a step beyond that. SHIB supports a number of utility elements like Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and even has its own decentralised-finance (Defi) platform called ShibaSwap. Its purpose is to make the process of crypto trading safe and secure while remaining decentralised.

Branded for a long time as the Dogecoin killer, Shiba Inu is also making progress in developing its Layer 2 protocol called Shibarium to add more utilities and make the trading process more economical.

The Elon Musk touch

Tesla founder, Elon Musk has the power to turn the tables in the crypto world by just a single tweet. His cryptic tweets can lead to the rise and fall of crypto values. On 4 October, 2021 he tweeted this image of a Shiba Inu puppy and it led to the rise of the memecoin’s value. There have been times in the past when it has actually surpassed Dogecoin in rankings as listed by major crypto exchanges like Binance and Coinbase.

In another instance, Elon Musk’s tweet caused a downfall in Shiba Inu’s market value. According to a News 18 report, when a user asked Musk how much SHIB he was holding, the answer came ‘None’. Following this there was an instant dip in the SHIB value. The report stated that in the period between 24 October and 26 October, 2021, the cryptocurrency saw major fluctuations. What had once bagged a position among the top 10 leading cryptocurrencies ranked 13th on the list of largest cryptocurrencies by market cap. In the week preceding the tweet Shiba Inu price had increased by 43.09 percent. It continued to rise by 3.81 percent but dipped by 1.55 percent after the tweet.

Should you invest with all the risks?

Siba Inu investment
Image credit: Shiba Inu

It is not unknown that the whole crypto genre is quite a gamble and is highly volatile in nature. Added to it is the lack of regulations that makes the crypto market laced with risks. One one side there are investors and cryptocurrency owners who are billionaires, on the flip side there are stories of many who have incurred heavy losses as well.

But coming to Shiba Inu. The risks involved here are slightly different. If we take Bitcoin, it is a cryptocurrency which has its own mechanisms and though has its own set of downsides and volatility, it was created as a peer-to-peer financial system to replace traditional banking. Its blockchain brings with itself several utilities like widespread visibility, smart contracts and autonomy.

However in the case of Shiba Inu and other meme coins, they are largely based on social media hype and frenzy. An offspring of internet jokes, it was directly launched in a pre-existing blockchain. Its price keeps fluctuating and is proportional to celebrity tweets and support.

But looking at 2021, the year that was, Shiba Inu had a huge market value and we cannot deny that. Should one invest in this altcoin? It is advised that one should do a thorough research, study trends and make an informed decision.

(Main and feature image credit: Quantitatives/ @quantitatives/ Unsplash)

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