Experts call such financial innovations a gamble rather than a reliable investment opportunity, but neither advice nor obvious risks can keep millions of people from huge losses. Digital roulette – in the material “Lenta.ru”.
Off the radar
Investors are attracted by the possibility of trading without intermediaries, primarily banks, as well as a decentralized data storage system (blockchain), which is available to everyone, but does not belong to anyone. In addition, anonymity reigns in the cryptocurrency world – the holder of digital coins is not required to link personal data to his wallet, and when transferring.
it is enough to indicate the account numbers of the sender and recipient. Interest in the new payment system went beyond the local IT communities after the success of Bitcoin (BTC). The first transaction with bitcoins was made in May 2010 – American Laszlo Henoch ordered pizza delivery by paying 10 thousand BTC. Then Henoch spent about $40-50, but now the purchase would cost him $630 million, since since then the demand for digital currency has steadily increased.
Soon, the creator of bitcoin had followers who wanted to repeat the success of bitcoin. They took the BTC code as a basis, made minimal changes, and received a new, albeit similar, product. This is how altcoins (“alternative coins”, or any digital money other than bitcoin) appeared. Over time, altcoin developers began to set themselves new challenges, trying to overcome the technical limitations that the Bitcoin system has.
To some extent, they succeeded. At the moment, the creation (mining) of any altcoins is usually easier and cheaper. In addition, additional features began to appear in new cryptocurrencies and related payment systems. For example, the second largest cryptocurrency by capitalization, Ethereum (“ether”), allowed the creation of decentralized applications and smart contracts (when payments are automatically made with predetermined conditions). Another system – IOTA – provided secure data transfer in the Internet of Things (information exchange between devices).
Memes for money
However, while stable “giants” like bitcoin and ether were rising in price, some developers began to enjoy the popularity that surrounded the cryptocurrency market. Players appeared whose plans did not include the creation of innovative IT projects – they saw digital money.
first of all, as an opportunity to make quick money. New market participants began to use cryptocurrency not as money, but as virtual shares. The creators of new currencies understood that their potential investors are primarily Internet users. Therefore, they began to associate their projects with memes – viral images or ideas.
Some of the “meme” currencies are not full-fledged cryptocurrencies, but tokens (coins). Anyone can issue a digital coin, even without purchasing computing equipment – according to CoinMarketCap, the number of mem-tokens is approaching seven thousand. Unlike cryptocurrencies, tokens can be issued by one person in unlimited quantities, and it is not necessary to use blockchain in the process of their creation.
If meme tokens gain popularity and rise in price, it is mostly due to promotion on the network or celebrity advertising, and not because of financial efficiency. These projects are short-lived – as soon as the coin rises in price, investors sell it, making a profit. Due to the lack of any benefit to the financial world, meme tokens are unlikely to exist in a few years, experts say.
The most famous, and even relatively stable meme coin was Dogecoin. At the moment, one coin is worth $0.2648, and the market capitalization of the project has exceeded $34.9 billion. All thanks to the fact that the token attracted the attention of Tesla founder Elon Musk: the billionaire regularly writes about him on Twitter, and once even called Dogecoin his favorite cryptocurrency (on that day, the token price soared by 24 percent).
Musk’s publications increased the value of the altcoin by 1330 percent from February to April 2021. Later, the businessman succinctly explained why he liked Dogecoin: he “has memes and dogs, while other projects don’t.” In the wake of the popularity of the “doge”, other coins began to appear with the image of the Shiba Innu. In the ranking of meme-tokens on the CoinMarketCap website, nine analogues of Dogecoin are now in the top thirty.
The most successful of these so far is the Shiba Innu token, which went up in October when Musk got a puppy of this breed and posted his photo on Twitter. So far, Shiba Innu is ranked 13th on the Coin Gecko website, and the total value of all coins is 15.5 billion dollars. For some time, a coin with the image of a popular meme frog, Pepe Cash, competed with the doge in price. The token peaked at $0.157 on January 13, 2018, when Dogecoin was worth $0.136. The Pepe Cash project lost popularity – the price fell by 77.6 percent, today it is trading at $0.036, ranking 754th in the CoinMarketCap rating.
Investing in meme currency is very risky and looks more like a game of chance than a real investment. The director of the Alfas ash crypto exchange, Nikita Soshnikov, believes that interest in such tokens is growing during periods of calm in the sector of larger and more stable cryptocurrencies, when traders want to trade more actively and receive more “quick” income.
“Meme cryptocurrencies provide an opportunity to enjoy risky trading, the pleasure of such trading is in many ways similar to gambling or a roller coaster, and it is definitely entertainment for an amateur,” he explained. Roman Nekrasov, co-founder of the decentralized finance platform ENCRY, agrees that it is the price swings of meme coins that attract traders. In his opinion, speculation on them is “a very gambling and exciting game”, which gives a chance to increase your assets.
At the same time, Nekrasov noted that it is definitely not worth investing all your savings in such crypto assets. You should be careful with meme tokens, as the prospects for their development are almost impossible to predict.
“Meme cryptocurrencies are a great demonstration that an asset is valuable solely because it has value in the eyes of market participants,” says Nekrasov. As Vladimir Smetana, CEO of the Swiss financial company Newsnet, explains.