Given the massive move higher recently, followed by a just as impressive crash days later, it’s no wonder people might be wondering about the Shiba Inu coin. Sure it features the cute Shiba Inu Japanese dog breed, just like the more famous Dogecoin, but is that where the similarity between the two ends?

Truth be told the Shiba Inu token does have some things in common with Dogecoin, aside from the doggy mascot. In fact, Shiba Inu bills itself as a better version of Dogecoin, and the “Dogecoin Killer”.

The interesting part about that is Dogecoin was released in 2013 as nothing more than a joke. It’s a meme-coin that we all acknowledge has no real-world value, and no real-world utility. Dogecoin has been little more than a vehicle for speculation.

Shiba Token Overview

Is it really the Dogecoin killer? Image via Shibatoken.com

Well, if Shiba Inu has a goal of improving on Dogecoin, then I suppose it needs to be a better speculative coin. It hasn’t proven that point yet, but judging by the whitepaper (called a “woofpaper” on the Shiba Inu website), that’s exactly what the founders of Shiba Inu intend.

Let’s have a look at the Shiba Inu project and see what’s under the hood. You can expect this review to be somewhat different than previous project reviews, simply because the information being released by the Shiba Inu team is somewhat different than what you might normally find with a blockchain project.

So, with that bit out of the way here’s everything you need to know about Shiba Inu coin.

Why is the Internet Obsessed with Shiba Inu?

The Shiba Inu is a medium sized dog that was bred in Japan as a hunting dog for small game. The breed is considered to be “spirited” by the Japanese, and this can make for a dog that is challenging to train.

Shiba’s have also been characterized as stubborn dogs, but others say that “free-thinking” is the best way to characterize this breed. Some have likened the Shiba Inu as the “cats of the dog world”, and this is one reason why they have become spectacularly popular on the internet. Another is the tendency for the Shiba to look like it is always smiling.

The original Doge meme was created from a photo of a Shiba Inu called Kabosu who lives in Japan. In the original photo Kabosu was looking at the camera with paws crossed and some suspicion in her manner. The photo soon appeared in a number of memes, with the now well-known truncated or broken English expressions.

Original Doge Meme

The original Doge – much cuteness. Image via Wikipedia

Like so many memes, the original Doge meme worked instantly and captured the imagination of internet users who spread it far and wide.

What is the Shiba Inu Coin?

The Shiba Inu coin launched on August 1, 2020 and at the time was priced at less than $0.00000001. With 1 quadrillion tokens minted it remained at that level for some time, but more recently thanks to the increasing interest in Dogecoin, Shiba Inu has also come to life.

Created by an anonymous developer going by the name Ryoshi, the Woofpaper for Shiba Inu says the project was begun from the simple question of:

“What would happen is a cryptocurrency project was 100% run by its community?”

Ryoshi Shiba

Who is the pseudonymous Ryoshi? Image via RyoshiResearch blog.

We don’t yet know the answer to that question, but Shiba Inu is an interesting experiment in, as founder Ryoshi says in the Woofpaper:

“decentralized spontaneous community building (…)”

The community is said to be more than 300,000 strong and while it may not be completely spontaneous, it is creating quite a stir in the cryptocurrency community.

As of May 14, 2021 and even after dropping by roughly 50% of its all-time high, the SHIB token is up more than 1,200,000%. I honestly don’t know of any other coin with that kind of return in under a year. The real question though is what is the Shiba Inu project doing to deserve such a massive gain in price?

Honestly very little. While the founders of Shiba Inu call it a potential “Dogecoin Killer” based on its ability to surpass “the value of Dogecoin, exponentially, without ever crossing the $0.01 value”, there’s nothing under the hood to give the coin value. Which is very similar to the Dogecoin that it’s looking to surpass.

Dogecoin Killer

It hasn’t been yet, but can SHIB be the Dogecoin Killer? Image via Ryoshi Reserach blog.

While there are certainly proponents of the Shiba Inu coin, there are just as many who call the coin a joke. Which might seem cruel or unjust, but as a direct competitor of Dogecoin, which was openly called a joke by its creator, it’s actually very accurate. And yet even as a joke it seems to have massive potential for gains as people have poured massive amounts of capital into the token, hoping for it to continue building on the more than 1 million percent gains already delivered.

The Shiba Inu coin uses the ticker symbol SHIB and is an ERC-20 token that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Interestingly, the creators of the Shiba Inu coin sent half the total coin supply to Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin, while the other half was locked on Uniswap, with the key thrown away. Or so the Shiba Inu woofpaper claims.

What Makes Shiba Inu Different?

The creators of Shiba Inu claim it is an improved version of Dogecoin, and improvement would be very welcome in the longevity of the project, given that Dogecoin was admittedly created as nothing more than a joke token. Since then it has been used first as a tipping coin on the internet forum Reddit, and later has been used extensively by speculators on cryptocurrency markets.

It does look as if Shiba Inu has maintained the speculation aspect of Dogecoin, which was likely intended by the creators given that the “Woofpaper” reads more like a marketing pamphlet than a technical document.

One of the noted differences in Shiba Inu was the creators decision to “burn” half the total supply by sending it to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. Of course this is nothing like burning, because the coins still exist in the possession of Vitalik. So, unlike traditionally burnt coins, these are still available, and as we will see below still quite usable.

Shiba Inu and Vitalik Buterin

The creator of Shiba Inu claims to have “burned” half the total supply of SHIB by sending it to a wallet address controlled by Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. However this is not burning in the traditional sense as the coins are still available. Notably, the value of the SHIB tokens sent to Vitalik was as high as $15 billion at one point, completely dwarfing the value of the 330,000 ETH tokens he also holds.

Vitalik Buterin

Sending half the total supply of SHIB to Vitalik Buterin was not truly burning those tokens. Image via ParaTeknik.com

Shiba Inu followers learned exactly how this is not a true coin burn on May 12, 2021 when Vitalik sent over 50 trillion SHIB worth $1 billion to a Polygon run fund to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in India.

At the same time he also pulled 90% of SHIB liquidity from Uniswap. Buterin’s actions caused a multi-day move that sent the SHIB token 50% lower, although it’s worth noting the token was up 3,300% over the seven days prior to the drop.

SHIB Token Price

We’ve already mentioned that SHIB is up more than 1.2 million percent since it was created on August 1, 2021. There a 1 quadrillion tokens, half of which were sent to Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, and half of which are locked in a Uniswap contract. That’s a lot of tokens, so it’s no wonder Shiba Inu has such a small value per coin.

As of May 14, 2021 the SHIB token is trading at $0.00001997, but just a few days earlier it was at an all-time high of $0.0000388. The drop of roughly 50% over four days was primarily due to a broader market correction that saw the entire market tank following news that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin for payment.

Of course prior to that 50% drop the SHIB token had climbed roughly 3,300% higher over the course of a week.

SHIB Chart

SHIB certainly looks like a rocket to the moon. Image via Coinmarketcap.com

Getting your hands on some SHIB tokens isn’t too difficult. It can be purchased using Uniswap, but you can also pick it up at dozens of other exchanges. Binance added the token recently, and other CEXs and DEXs have rushed to list the token as well due to its immense popularity. And while Coinbase has said it will list Dogecoin in a few weeks, there’s been no indication that exchange will include the SHIB token.

What is ShibaSwap?

Not surprisingly given the popularity of decentralized exchanges in the mold of Uniswap, the Shiba Inu project says it is working on its own DEX which will be called ShibaSwap. There’s no set date for the launch of the exchange, but the proponents of Shiba Inu claim it will be a safe, decentralized exchange.

ShibaSwap

Do we need another AMM DEX? Image via ShibaToken.com

The ShibaSwap DEX is expected to revolve around the three tokens that the project is creating. That’s right, I did say three. So, there is the SHIB token that we’re already discussing, but there is also a LEASH token and there will be a BONE token.

The LEASH token is the opposite of the SHIB token in terms of tokenomics. LEASH was created with a total supply 107,647 tokens. Originally it was meant to be a rebase token with its price tied to Dogecoin, but that decision was later changed and the rebase feature was removed leaving LEASH as a regular ERC-20 token.

The low supply of LEASH is reflected in its price, which was $5,467.68 as of May 14, 2021. Note that LEASH is also quite volatile, and on May 14 it had a range of $3,404.83 to $6,575.68. LEASH is only available from Uniswap and 1inchexchange as of the writing of this review.

Finally there’s the BONE token, which has not been released yet. It will hit the sweet spot between the other two tokens, with a total supply of 250 million tokens. The woofpaper claims it will only be available on ShibaSwap, but I’m unsure how they can keep it from being traded on Uniswap if it’s an ERC-20 token.

BONE is also intended to be a governance token that will allow community members to put forward proposals and vote on those proposals.

According to the Woofpaper:

On ShibaSwap your Shibs will DIG for BONES, or even BURY their tokens. The best trainers even teach their Shibas to SWAP which allows the pup to exchange one token for another token. When Shibas DIG, BURY, or SWAP they generate “Returns” that are distributed to the Puppy Pools where #SHIBARMY has either BURIED their tokens or are DIGGING for BONES.

Perhaps a visual will help decode that for you:

Shibu Overview

Is it better to BURY BONES or DIG them up? Image via Shiba Inu woofpaper.

Shiba Inu and NFTs

The project is also getting itself involved in the NFT space, and will offer the ability to create, sell, but, and trade NFTs on the ShibaSwap platform. Already they have run a search program for their artist incubator.

Our artist incubator invited the best artists in the Shiba Inu community to join us on a special project. We invite speakers from various genres and platform to speak with our new Shiba artists, build camaraderie and foster lasting relationships over a few weeks. These artists will lead the artistic Shiba movement as we explore how to bring our unique position into the NFT market. Over 75 entrants applied and we are excited to update the community on our cohort, portfolio day and our first official NFT ventures .

Shiba Artist Incubator

Three’s plenty of interest in NFTs for ShibaSwap. Image via Reddit.

Shiba Inu Rescue

Shibas may be the cutest dog breed ever but they aren’t the easiest dog breed to keep. This means that surprisingly many Shibas need to be rescued worldwide. For this reason, Shiba Inu token launched a community effort utilizing the built in Amazon Smile feature to donate for this cause.

This no cost method allows any Shiba Inu member to help Rescue Shiba Inus by simply using smile.amazon.com when they place orders on Amazon and put their preferred non-profit organization to Shiba Inu Rescue Association a 501(c)3. A percentage of your purchases go to support automatically. No cost to you! And thus as a community the project seeks to help Rescue Shibas.

Conclusion

It’s hard to ignore the massive gains experienced by the SHIB token, until you realize they only came about because of the similarity to Dogecoin, combined with the dedicated shilling from the ShibaArmy. There’s no use case for the Shiba Inu token, and no technical backing either.

I’ve seen no mention of a development team, and the founder of the token “Ryoshi” fully admits in his initial post on Medium that the token wasn’t even rolled by him, but instead was created by a friend who locked half the supply in a Uniswap contract and then sent the rest to Ryoshi’s wallet.

While there’s a ShibaSwap exchange now in the works, it seems it was brought in as a second thought, or perhaps another way to cash in on cryptocurrencies, given the popularity of the DEX recently.

I thought it a serious coincidence that there was no white paper created back in August when the token was launched, but instead it was released in late April 2021. Consider too that the “Woofpaper” (whitepaper) is really more concerned with talking about ShibaSwap then with discussing anything related to the tokenonics or utility of SHIB or any of the other tokens being launched by Shiba Inu.

In short, if you want to simply speculate on the price of the SHIB token that’s entirely up to you. Just be aware that the project throws up a number of red flags, from the anonymous nature of the creator, to the lack of any technical documentation, to the fact that pretty much everything about the project screams shitcoin.

Featured Image via Shutterstock

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

Posted by Steve Walters

Steve has been writing for the financial markets for the past 7 years and during that time has developed a growing passion for cryptocurrencies.