What is Shiba Inu (and should you buy some)?


Markus Scharnowski

Updated on December 21

If you’ve followed sh**coins, ehm, pardon, meme coins at all, you’ve likely come across Shiba Inu. But besides the dog on its face, what do you really know about it?

Let’s dive in.

Shiba Inu, with the ticker SHIB, is an Ethereum-based altcoin with the hunting dog breed Shiba Inu as its mascot. It was created in August 2020 by an individual or a group called Ryoshi, and is often touted – or likes to see itself as – the “Dogecoin killer.”

In spite of the lack of purpose typical to meme coins, Shiba Inu features quite a fervent following: The over 500,000 users in the Shiba Inu community call themselves the SHIBarmy, and defend the project with almost religious zeal.

There are two noteworthy episodes in the young life of Shiba Inu:

First, in May of 2021, Shiba Inu experienced its first major spike in price. At roughly the same time, the developers decided to send half of the entire supply to Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum. Buterin then proceeded to “burn” 90% of these coins by sending them to a dead wallet and donating the rest – most notably to India’s COVID-Crypto relief fund, which received SHIB worth over $1 billion.

Second, another even bigger spike happened in late October of that same year, tripling the all-time high achieved just a few months earlier. This spike catapulted SHIB’s market capitalization to over $40 billion, briefly surpassing the arch-enemy Dogecoin.

SHIB’s price development

SHIB dropped brutally in price since that episode: Its market cap, as of late 2022, sits around $4 billion, which is half of Dogecoin’s market cap. But still, those two episodes gave SHIB enough of a reputation to cement a place in crypto boulevard news.

How is Shiba Inu different from Dogecoin – and is it really a “Dogecoin killer?”

Well – it is the same dog: Dogecoin is based on Shiba Inu (the breed of dog, that is) as well. Also, they’re both meme coins without any particularly useful application in sight.

But there are some differences.

  • Doge was created in 2013, seven years before Shiba Inu
  • Shiba Inu has a max supply of one quadrillion tokens, while Doge has no limit
  • Doge is a standalone coin, while Shiba Inu has SHIB, LEASH, and BONE tokens
  • Doge is supported by the richest man alive – Elon Musk

Does that make one better than the other? Not really. They’re simply both meme coins with a ridiculous number of tokens available – and no apparent use case besides providing a bit of fun.

The Shiba Inu ecosystem

Even though it lacks a purpose, Shiba Inu features an entire ecosystem of tokens:

SHIB is the main token that most crypto users are familiar with.

LEASH is limited to 107,646 tokens and provides staking rewards for validators of SHIB.

BONE has a supply of 260,000,000 tokens and is Shiba Inu’s version of a governance token: Holders get to vote on various proposals surrounding the Shiba Inu project.

And last but not least, there is a collection of 10,000 unique Shiba Inu-themed NFTs called “Shiboshis” out there.

SHIBOSHIs for sale on Opensea

SHIB is the most popular token and can be traded on many different exchanges. BONE and LEASH are somewhat more limited, and the Shiboshi collection is best viewed on Opensea. However, there is Shiba Inu’s own decentralized trading platform called ShibaSwap, which allows the trading of all tokens within the Shiba Inu ecosystem.

Is Shiba Inu a good investment?

Crypto users with exceptionally fortunate timing have certainly been able to make some gains off Shiba Inu. But then again, with exceptionally fortunate timing, gains can be made off any token.

Having said that, it is and always was a meme coin with no specific use case. As such, all the supposed value the token is creating is purely based on hype and an overly eager community around it. The project has no specific purpose or underlying value, making it a questionable investment at best.

Can someone make money off Shiba Ina? Sure. Does that make it a good investment? Most certainly not.


Shiba Inu is a meme coin based on a popular Japanese dog breed. It was created in 2020 and has seen some turbulent movements, similar to other meme coins. The community around Shiba Inu calls itself the SHIBarmy is quite active, and there are additional tokens in the ecosystem, such as LEASH and BONE. But at the end of the day, Shiba Inu remains a meme coin without any specific use and should therefore be handled with care – if at all.

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