What is Shiba Inu (SHIB): A Memecoin Striving to Shed its Meme Label
Shiba Inu (SHIB) is a memecoin project on the Ethereum blockchain. It was created in August 2020 by an anonymous developer (or group) pseudonymously known as "Ryoshi". Intended as a competitor to the original meme cryptocurrency, Dogecoin (DOGE), it earned the moniker "The Dogecoin Killer".
SHIB is the foundational ERC-20 token of this project. It currently ranks 16th among all cryptocurrencies listed by TokenInsight, making it one of the top cryptos by market cap.
It started with a supply of 1 quadrillion, out of which about 589.33 trillion are in circulation. Adopting a Fair Launch approach, the team neither pre-mined nor held any tokens. Ryoshi sent 50% to Ethereum's co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, effectively "locking" half the supply. The other 50% was paired with 10ETH and added to a liquidity pool on Uniswap.
Notably, in May 2021, Buterin burned 90% of his SHIB holdings (around 40% of the total supply) valued at roughly $6.7 billion at the time. He donated the remaining 10% to an India Covid relief fund.
Over the years, the SHIB project seems committed to shedding its meme tag, pushing for innovations across various fronts. It evolved from a memecoin with Shiba Inu dog themes to a decentralized ecosystem boasting rich elements and a vast community, known as the "ShibArmy". However, its diversified growth has led to critiques: Is it spreading itself too thin? Why would a meme project undergo such transformations?
Let's see what SHIB has been up to beyond its meme status.
The Expansive Shiba Inu Ecosystem
Decentralized Exchange Shibaswap and Three Tokens
Shibaswap, launched in July 2021, is a DEX offering services similar to other platforms, like token trading, liquidity provision, and NFT management.
It runs on the Ethereum blockchain, aiming to provide a secure, decentralized marketplace for crypto traders.
BONE is the governance token, with a total supply of 250 million, letting the ShibArmy vote on proposals and steer the platform's direction. It's also the foundation for SHIB's Layer 2 solution, Shibarium, which we'll introduce in the next section.
It was originally set up as a rebase token pegged to the price of Dogecoin and is currently used to promote liquidity on exchanges. When users provide liquidity to pools (“Puppy Pools”) on Shibaswap, they receive LEASH as certificate and reward.
Rebase tokens can also become elastic tokens, which will dynamically adjust their circulation according to the price of the linked asset. Its core purpose is to maintain a certain ratio between the user's holdings and the total supply, thereby stabilizing the actual holdings value.
Layer 2 Network Shibarium
In August 2023, Shiba Inu launched its Layer 2 scaling solution, Shibarium, aimed at enhancing Ethereum's scalability and focusing on metaverse and GameFi.
Running on a novel consensus called Proof of Participation (PoP), the network selects validators based on their token holdings. Validators need to lock 10,000 BONE to participate.21 million BONEs will also be used as rewards for verifiers and delegators in the Shibarium ecosystem, and will be used to pay Gas fees.
NFTs and NFT Games
In October 2021, the SHIB team launched 10,000 "Shiboshi" NFTs on Ethereum, which sold out in 34 minutes. These lay the foundation for future NFT initiatives of SHIB. The NFT card game "Shiba Eternity", based on Shiboshis, has been released on both Apple and Google Play stores, surpassing 100,000 downloads now.
Metaverse: Shib The Metaverse
This is a virtual world akin to Decentraland, focusing on digital real estate and value creation from derivative digital assets.
Set for an official launch at the end of 2023, it's yet to go live.
Current State: Is SHIB's Effort Bearing Fruits?
The outlook isn't particularly bright now, especially when it comes to Shibaswap.
Although they've adopted the "vampire strategy" previously used by Sushiswap, hoping to lure Uniswap's liquidity providers (LPs) with rewards, Shibaswap has yet to fully launch all its features. Therefore, it might be premature to pass a judgment. However, it's hard to ignore that this decentralized exchange (DEX) might not have garnered much market attention. According to data from TokenInsight, Shibaswap's daily spot trading volume is currently around $1.6 million, which is somewhat underwhelming for an exchange backed by a top 20 cryptocurrency project.
Then there's Shibarium, which generated a significant buzz before its launch.
On August 17, 2023, the SHIB team announced the official launch of Shibarium. Unexpectedly, tokens like SHIB and BONE didn't bask in success but instead experienced a drop in value. This was attributed to technical issues that emerged shortly after Shibarium's launch, leading to a halt in block production. Screenshots from internal Telegram conversations among the SHIB developers reveal that the lead developer, Shytoshi, stated that their team couldn't recover the assets bridged to the Shibarium network.
Crypto detective ZachXBT said that he has not yet confirmed whether the assets are actually lost, but pointed out that RPC is no longer functional, and called the block explorer Shibarium Scan "very bad."
Its launch in August 2023 saw an unexpected decline in SHIB and BONE tokens after technical issues halted the blockchain operations shortly after. While the team assured funds were safe, this hiccup reinforced the market's skepticism towards the SHIB team's "valueless endeavors".
As for the metaverse product set to launch by the end of this year, it remains to be seen if it will offer substantial differentiation or highlights compared to leading projects in the space.
As a memecoin project, SHIB stands out for its longevity and efforts to build "real things" beyond memes. With ongoing development and community support, SHIB may establish a vibrant and interesting blockchain ecosystem. However, recent hiccups, like Shibarium's issues, may be indicative of challenges the project faces. The upcoming launch of Shib The Metaverse could be a critical juncture, determining whether Shiba Inu sheds its meme image or becomes another quirky meme in the market.
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