Once upon a time, there was a very special dog. That dog was a Shiba Inu, and this dog inspired millions of people around the world to invest money into tokens with the dog’s image on it.
According to the SHIBA INU website, SHIB is the “DOGECOIN KILLER” and is listed on their own ShibaSwap, a DEX. Shiba Inu coin was created anonymously in August 2020 under the pseudonym “Ryoshi.” Ryoshi says about himself that he is a nobody and not important and that the efforts to unmask his identity, even if successful, would be underwhelming.
This meme coin quickly gained speed and value as a community of investors was drawn in by the cute charm of the coin paired with headlines and tweets from personalities like Elon Musk and Vitalik Buterin. Vitalik Buterin was long believed to be the originator of Shiba Inu, but denied such rumors on the Lex Fridman podcast on June 5, 2021.
Shiba Inu aims to be the Ethereum-based counterpart to Dogecoin’s Srypt-based mining algorithm. Shiba Inu and the SHIB token are part of a swarm of dog-themed cryptocurrencies, including Baby Dogecoin (BabyDoge), Dogecoin (DOGE), JINDO INU (JIND), Alaska Inu (LAS) and Alaskan Malamute Token (LASM). These lesser-valued tokens have attracted investors who missed the Dogecoin pump from 0.0002 to nearly 0.75 USD.
Shiba’s success sparked an avalanche of copycats, such as BitShiba, Shiba Fantom, Shibalana, King Shiba, SHIBAVAX, Captain Shibarrow, SHIBA2K22, SpookyShiba and countless others. In total, there may be well over 100 Shiba Inu copies, and the number keeps rising constantly.
On Sept. 17, 2021, Coinbase, the largest U.S.-based crypto exchange, listed Shiba Inu on their platform. This news caused Shiba Inu price to rise by over 40% in the following two days, bringing the meme dog token into the spotlight again.
Shiba Inu has since attracted more interest from other exchanges as well. Bitso, Mexico’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, announced in September that SHIB would start trading on its exchange. Giottus, an Indian crypto exchange, announced the same. Bitstamp, the biggest crypto exchange in Europe, said that it would list Shiba Inu for trading at the beginning of 2022. Korbit, a South Korean exchange, became the country’s first exchange to list the SHIB token in 2021.
The SHIBA INU WoofPaper has three reasons why their team created SHIB:
- “We started from zero, with zero.”
- “The brilliant minds behind Shib had never collaborated before.”
- “We love Shiba Inu Dogs.”
The anonymous creator of the Shiba Inu coin is known as “Ryoshi.” However, very little is known of the mystery founder of the dog-themed cryptocurrency, much like the founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.
In his blog RYOSHI RESEARCH, he characterizes himself as “just some guy of no consequence tapping at a keyboard.” Ryoshi said that usually in projects there are different roles like a CEO, a “tech guy,” and a roadmap, resulting in “someone plebs can bitch at.” He stresses that with Shiba, no one person is accountable or responsible and underlines that he owns 0 SHIB to this day. For this reason, Ryoshi can be “pure and unbiased,” getting satisfaction from Shiba “in other ways.”
It has been speculated that Vitalik Buterin was behind the initial liquidity that helped set up Shiba Inu’s liquidity on Uniswap. According to Ryoshi, he had “a fren” he met at Devcon in Osaka that sent him 10 ETH to set up the liquidity pair on Uniswap. Ryoshi also stated that Shiba Inu was an experiment in decentralized community building, and he thus declined all the influencer requests and pitches from different exchanges he received. His “job” is to defend the brand and give suggestions, although he does so very sparingly, as his last blog entry dates back to May 2021.
The SHIBA INU website invites dog-inspired artists from all over the world to foster the “artistic Shiba movement” as they bring their SHIBA INU community into the NFT market. SHIBA INU has also created a campaign using Amazon Smile in order to collect donations to escue real, live Shiba Inu dogs with the Shiba Inu Rescue Association.
After initially being only one meme coin of many, Shiba Inu skyrocketed to popularity after Vitalik Buterin famously burned his share of the SHIB supply. Ryoshi had given Buterin 50% of the SHIB supply, announcing that “as long as Vitalik doesn’t rug us,” Shiba Inu would be fine.
However, Buterin decided to burn 90% of his share, which later would have been worth billions thanks to the soaring value of SHIB. The remaining 10% were sent to a charity, as were about 50 trillion SHIB more that Vitalik had donated to a COVID-19 relief fund. He stated that he did not want “to be a locus of power” and thus gave the tokens away. This resulted in a temporary loss of value for SHIB, which the token later recovered from after the community agreed on an arrangement with the charity in question.
Ryoshi’s goal for Shiba Inu has been to see if a perpetual decentralized organization could work with no central leadership. In a blog post, Royshi noted that the rift caused by Buterin’s token donation made the community stronger and would enable it to distribute further and decentralize the movement. His vision for the core ecosystem is to perform its utility while the Shiba Inu-own stablecoin becomes the globalized exchange of value.
In October 2021, SHIB surged on the news of a possible Robinhood listing and briefly flipped Dogecoin to become the most-valued meme coin by market capitalization. Thus far, Robinhood has not listed SHIB, despite a petition with over 500,000 signatures calling for it. Robinhood executive Christine Brown has lauded the efforts of the Shiba Inu community, saying that one of her favorite things was seeing it engage with the community to make its wishes heard. However, Robinhood would prioritize safety over the “short-term gain” of a new token listing and has left Shiba Inu fans waiting since.
The October 2021 price surge famously minted a billionaire, as one wallet was uncovered that had bought $8,000 worth of SHIB in summer 2020, which was worth over $5.7 billion at SHIB’s all-time high valuation. The wallet owner has not been determined, although the person appears to have sent parts of their fortune to other wallets several weeks after the price explosion.
The price surge also led to increased adoption across token holders. WhaleStats compiled data of the largest ETH wallets and found that SHIB represents over 20% of the combined market shares of all ERC-20 tokens held by Ethereum whales. CRO was a distant second with only 5%. SHIB also surpassed the one-million holder mark following its all-time high.
Moreover, retailers increasingly started adopting SHIB as a means of payment following its popularity among small-time investors. American electronics retailer Newegg added SHIB at the start of December 2021, partnering with crypto payments platform BitPay to unlock payments in SHIB. This followed the adoption of SHIB by over 500 merchants, according to payments firm CoinGate, with even Samsung-backed digital wallet provider ZenGo adding SHIB to its options and a restaurant in Paris accepting it as a payment option. At one point, the Shiba Inu community called for McDonald’s to accept Shiba Inu, although the social media effort eventually fell short.
A major reason for the surging price of SHIB was a continued effort by the SHIB community to build a utility for the Shiba Inu token and the subsequent emergence of an entire Shiba Inu ecosystem.
ShibaSwap is the coin’s designated DEX that started as a fork of Sushiswap that has, in the words of Ryoshi, its “own little twists and elements.” Furthermore, Shiba Inu also plans to develop SHI, which will be the “global exchange of value for plebs,” an algorithmic stablecoin pegged to one cent instead of one dollar as most other stablecoins. Its launch is planned after the Shiba layer-two solution called Shibarium, and Ryoshi envisions SHI to work in a similar way to DAI. That way, SHI would have collateral as a backstop that would push it back to one cent if the peg was lost.
According to Ryoshi, the end goal is that SHI becomes a global stable currency “that plebs across all countries are able to use as both a store of value and method of payment.”
In addition to SHI, a financial ecosystem is planned, and SHI would be added as a weighted pool pair on Curve. In that case, Ryoshi expects forks of the major DeFi protocols to appear in the Shiba Inu ecosystem, which would require an immutable bridge to function.
Shiba would also start hosting localized meetups and a once-a-year ShibaCon convention that would be hosted at an easily accessible location in a country without oppressive visa restrictions “for the sake of inclusiveness for global plebs.”
One immediate change Shiba Inu has implemented is increasing token burns, which have sparked renewed interest in the token at the beginning of 2022. Bigger Entertainment, a crypto record label selling merch, NFTs and concert tickets, organized a SHIB burn party that burned over 239 million SHIB over Christmas. In total, the team has burned almost one billion SHIB since the end of October.
While looking to expand the utility of SHIB, the development team introduced a metaverse — a virtual reality project powered by non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Here, users can mint parcels of digital lands using ETH or its equivalent amount in SHIB tokens. Interestingly, other Shiba Inu-related tokens – BONE and LEASH – will also play various roles as different phases of the metaverse come to life.
According to the team, the goal is to create a fun, immersive and interactive environment where users can explore, earn passive income and collect in-game resources. Importantly, the metaverse will allow users to develop and launch their own projects. In total, there are 100,595 plots of land on SHIB: The Metaverse. Of the total, 36,431 digital lands were unlocked on April 13, 2022 – the launch date of the introductory phase of the metaverse.
Like most existing metaverses, the parcels of lands found on SHIB: The Metaverse are categorized based on the desirability of their locations. Naturally, lands in strategic areas are valued higher than the rest. The four tiers of lands on Shiba’s metaverse are as follows:
- Tier 4: Silver Fur: 17,030 Lands
- Tier 3: Gold Tail: 7,356 Lands
- Tier 2: Platinum Paw: 5,714 Lands
- Tier 1: Diamond Teeth: 2,024 Lands
Below were the launch prices of the tiers listed above:
- 0.2 $ETH for (Tier 4) Silver Fur
- 0.3 $ETH for (Tier 3) Gold Tail
- 0.5 $ETH for (Tier 2) Platinum Paw
- 1 $ETH for (Tier 1) Diamond Teeth
Originally, the plan was to allow the use of ETH alone to mint unlocked lands. However, the team later decided to add the SHIB token as a minting currency, thereby expanding the utility of the token.
Although users have begun to purchase SHIB lands, the SHIB metaverse will not officially launch until Shibarium, an upcoming layer 2 scaling network that will eventually house the entire Shiba ecosystem, is deployed. The plan is to have a layer 2 ecosystem built on top of Ethereum’s layer 1 network to meet the computational and memory demands for running the fast-expanding Shiba ecosystem. Apart from hosting the SHIB metaverse on Shibarium, the team is also looking to deploy a stablecoin, called SHI, on the layer 2 solution.
Another notable development that coincided with the introduction of SHIB: The Metaverse was the launch of a new website where future developments and expansions, including the launch of the metaverse, will take place.