It’s been an incredible week for shiba inu, the meme coin that rallied 150% and overtook and another, earlier cryptocurrency with a cute puppy mascot.
But while both shiba inu and dogecoin started as jokes, they are now among the top 10 largest digital assets by market valuation, according to CoinMarketCap. And that may be a sign of what’s to come as cryptocurrencies continue to grow.
“They’re part of the evolution of digital finance in their own unique way,” Chris Kline, co-founder of Bitcoin IRA, told Insider.
He acknowledged that some coins may not withstand the test of time and wonders how many meme coins the industry can sustain.
But regardless of which specific ones survive, Kline is confident meme tokens, in general, are here to stay.
“That’s my big thing is that they obviously are part of the crypto revolution. They’re here. They’re a piece of this concept,” he said.
The examples of shiba inu and dogecoin illustrate key features of meme coins.
Shiba inu was founded in August 2020 with the goal of moving away from “rigid social structures and traditional mindsets.” Dogecoin was founded in December 2013 in the hopes of becoming the “fun and friendly internet currency.”
What these meme coins have in common, among other things, is the community behind them, Kline said. And many crypto investors can be put into two categories.
First, there are those who want to take down traditional financial establishments. The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated the widening disparity of the country’s rich and poor. A decade earlier, the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged to protest against economic inequality.
Kline draws a throughline between the two events. “Crypto actually came to being right around that,” he said, referring to bitcoin’s creation in October 2008.
The second crypto-investor category is those who want to see money evolve. These investors bemoan the intricate labyrinth of instructions and restrictions banks put them through in contrast to the quick, anonymous, and cheap transactions available 24/7 that cryptos are known for, Kline said.
He isn’t surprised at the resistance from regulators and traditionalists. Every disruption has been met with opposition, but at the end of the day “crypto is consensus-driven,” he added.
For now, however, Kline said investors should expect more volatility.
“The market is still in a very speculative stage at this point,” he told Insider. “It’s going to come down to adoption and utility.”