For the first time, meme coins started making headlines in early 2021; some of them rocketed thanks to “TikTok pumps” in Q4, 2022. Since then, the net capitalization of crypto markets plunged, but meme coins are still in the spotlight.
What is the secret sauce behind meme coins' popularity on bear markets? Is it safe to invest in meme coins right now? Which one of them can become the next DOGE or SHIB?
What are meme coins in 2022: Highlights
Meme coins should be considered a special class of digital assets (cryptocurrencies) built around mainstream Internet memes. Typically, meme coins go live without significant technical innovations and do not try to solve major blockchain problems.
At the same time, even with their semi-ironic ethos, meme coins remain the most overhyped segment of the Web3 sphere.
- Meme coins are cryptocurrencies associated with Internet memes, i.e., humorous narratives, images or viral Internet jokes;
- Dogecoin (DOGE) was the pioneering meme coin; it was launched in 2013 to mock the first-ever cryptocurrency euphoria and the greediness of its victims;
- Dogecoin’s (DOGE) popularity spiked again in 2020-2021 thanks to a retail-driven investor mania and popular cheerleaders, including Elon Musk, Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons;
- As the majority of meme coins tried to mimic the Dogecoin (DOGE) narrative, they are also dubbed “dog-themed coins,” “canine coins” or “dog coins”;
- As of August 2022, there are 85 meme coins in Web3, and their net capitalization is over $17 billion.
Interest in meme coins has brought a new generation of enthusiasts and investors into Web3. Despite their ironic and humorous ethos, they are an essential part of the modern crypto sphere.
What are dog coins?
“Dog coins,” or “canine coins,” are meme coins that use images of various dogs as their symbols. For instance, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu coin (SHIB) are associated with the Japanese breed shiba inu. Samoyed Coin (SAMO), Shih Tzu (SHIH) and CorgiCoin (CORGI) have chosen samoyeds, shih tzus and corgis as their logos.
According to statistics from the CoinGecko tracker, two dog coins — Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu Coin (SHIB) — have 10-digit capitalizations, three dog coins — BabyDoge Coin (BABYDOGE), Dogelon Mars (ELON) and Floki Inu (FLOKI) — have nine-digit capitalizations, while eight more coins saw their capitalizations spiking over the $10,000,000 level.
Why are dog coins popular?
Dog coins — like all other meme coins — are popular because of their unbelievable volatility, which is impressive even by the standards of the crypto world. For instance, Dogecoin (DOGE) was the first-ever mainstream cryptocurrency to rally 10x overnight.
As such, retail investors do not need to create sophisticated strategies; mostly, they are just seeking the “next DOGE,” treating crypto investing like gambling.
This is a very dangerous strategy: less than one year after the last wave of crypto euphoria, the majority of meme coins are down 80-90% compared to the all-time high. The vast majority of their investors are underwater in 2022.
What is Dogecoin (DOGE)?
Dogecoin (DOGE) is the first-ever meme coin invented in 2013. It was proposed by veteran software developers Billy “Shibetoshi Nakamoto” Marcus, Jackson Palmer, Michi Lumin and Ross Nicoll. Dogecoin became popular under the ticker DOGE and the symbol Ð. The 2013 Reddit meme “doge” (“dog” in broken English) — a picture of a Shiba Inu dog, Kabosu — gave its name to the new crypto.
Technically, Dogecoin (DOGE) is a fork of Litecoin (LTC), which in turn is a fork of Bitcoin (BTC), the first cryptocurrency. Just like Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE) uses Scrypt algorithm and therefore can be mined on Litecoin (LTC) equipment.
Dogecoin’s (DOGE) popularity rocketed due to the “TikTok pump” of 2020, a viral campaign that invited amateur investors to pump the DOGE price over $1. However, its peak popularity should be attributed to relentless shilling by Tesla’s Elon Musk in early 2021.
What is Shiba Inu Coin (SHIB)?
Shiba Inu (SHIB) is the first mainstream Dogecoin (DOGE) copycat. Unlike Dogecoin (DOGE), it does not run on its own blockchain: SHIB is an ERC-20 token that works on top of Ethereum (ETH).
Shiba Inu (SHIB) was unveiled in August 2020; its developers transferred 50% of its liquid supply to Ethereum’s (ETH) founder, Vitalik Buterin. Shiba Inu (SHIB) was among the best performers of 2021 and one of the most popular symbols of the meme coin euphoria.
Currently, Shiba Inu (SHIB) is the only meme cryptocurrency that underpins the “real” DeFi ecosystem with an NFT incubator and marketplace, yield farming module and decentralized crypto exchange ShibaSwap.
New Meme Coins at a Glance: ELON, FLOKI, BABYDOGE
Despite crypto markets being trapped in a bearish recession, the popularity of meme coins shows no signs of exhaustion. That is why Web3 teams are developing more and more spin-offs of DOGE and SHIB.
Dogelon Mars (ELON)
The Dogelon Mars (ELON) name is a mixture of Elon Musk’s name and Dogecoin (DOGE), the first meme cryptocurrency. Dogelon Mars (ELON) has two versions: it is live on Ethereum (ETH) and on Polygon (MATIC). Dogelon Mars (ELON) creators published a comic to cover the adventures of a fictional dog in 2042.
Floki Inu (FLOKI)
Floki Inu (FLOKI) is another popular meme cryptocurrency named after Elon Musk’s shiba inu, Floki. Not unlike SHIB, FLOKI underpins a multi-product ecosystem with an NFT marketplace, Metaverse, educational initiative FLOKI University and its own DeFi module.
What is BabyDoge Coin (BABYDOGE)?
BabyDoge Coin (BABYDOGE) was unveiled in June 2021 as a reaction to Elon Musk’s jokes about his puppies. BabyDoge Coin (BABYDOGE) is a classic “community coin”: it is not associated with technical innovations or real-world use cases. Shortly after launch, BABYDOGE capitalization spiked to $200 million despite the project having nothing but a Twitter account with a dozen messages.
Baby Doge, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 1, 2021
Baby Doge, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
Baby Doge, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
Bonus: mid-cap meme coins in 2022
Besides that, a number of dog-themed meme coins have already exploded among the mid-cap class of cryptocurrencies.
Due to well-designed community management, an interesting narrative, aggressive marketing and listing campaigns, Samoyed Coin (SAMO), Kishu Inu (KISHU), Hoge Finance (HOG), Shiba Predator (QOM) and The Doge NFT (DOG) crossed the $10 million capitalization mark together with the only “cat-themed” coin in the club, CateCoin (CATE).
Meme coins (dog-coins, dog-themed cryptos) are cryptocurrencies associated with memes; typically, they have no game-changing technical development behind them. Their popularity can be attributed to aggressive marketing and community management as well as to enormous volatility.
Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) remain the most popular dog-coins with the largest capitalizations. However, their supremacy is challenged by the next generation of memetic coins: ELON, FLOKI and so on.