Shiba Inu Coin (SHIB): A Beginner’s Guide for 2023

The Shiba Inu token is a doggy-themed cryptocurrency that everyone is barking about. Here’s what you need to know about SHIB.

Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:43 p.m. UTC

Shibu Inu coin isn’t new, and saw its first surge alongside dogecoin (DOGE) in 2021 as the Wallstreetbets subreddit breathed new life into meme coins, especially ones with dogs as icons. Elon Musk regularly tweeted memes and support of dogecoin and investors looked for other canine coins to invest in, with the shiba inu token (SHIB) happily benefiting from the interest.

In 2023, support for shibu inu coin continues to grow, with crypto analytics platform Nansen’s data showing that in January, SHIB was the most common non-stablecoin to appear in new wallets while also soaring with crypto natives ​​trading on both decentralized and centralized exchanges. In just one 24-hour period  between Jan. 17 and Jan. 18, Nansen reported that over $1 billion in SHIB has traded hands.

Some of the movement may be attributed to the upcoming launch of Shibu Inu’s upcoming layer 2 blockchain, Shibarium, which will “focus on metaverse and gaming applications” and could strengthen the fundamentals of Shiba Inu’s three ecosystem tokens, SHIB, BONE and LEASH. But before we get into how BONE and LEASH work, we need to start with the basics of SHIB itself.

What is Shiba Inu?

Shiba inu coin (SHIB) is an Ethereum-based ERC-20 token that has risen in popularity, largely because of its dog-themed ecosystem, speculation on its price by retail investors and strong community engagement. The official Shib Twitter account, for example, has over 3.6 million followers – more than leading crypto companies such as Cardano, Kraken and Solana.

The digital asset was inspired by the Japanese breed of dog of the same name, which sparked a viral meme trend in 2013 and subsequently led to the creation of the infamous dogecoin cryptocurrency. Shiba Inu, along with dogecoin and the hundreds of other pet-inspired digital assets, have become collectively known in the industry as “meme coins.”

Ordinarily, a meme coin offers owners little to no utility compared with more established cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether. In the case of shiba inu coin, however, there seems to be a legitimate attempt by the development team to provide more value to SHIB holders, including launching a decentralized exchange, ShibaSwap, which we’ll explain more later in the article.

Notably, the desire to provide more utility to users has seen the self-proclaimed “doge killer” become the second-most popular meme coin in the market. And although the market capitalization of dogecoin is still nearly twice that of shiba inu as of January, 2023, the underdog project has managed to create and build up a large community and narrow the gap between itself and DOGE.

What are Shiba Inu's key features?

The first notable thing about the shiba inu coin is its total supply. A fixed total supply of 1 quadrillion SHIB tokens was minted during the project’s official launch in 2020. A quadrillion is a number followed by 15 zeros. Some 50% of the supply of shiba inu was locked in Uniswap SHIB/ETH liquidity pool – a decentralized exchange where users deposit pairs of assets into liquidity pools that other investors can trade against. That is known as an automated market maker system.

The other 50% of SHIB token’s supply was donated to Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, who burned a vast majority of them by sending the tokens to a dead crypto wallet address. The remaining tokens (worth $1.2 billion at the time) were donated to an Indian COVID-19 relief cause and other charities.

The Shiba Inu universe also consists of two other tokens, “LEASH” and “BONE” (see below).

The community also champions a rescue campaign for Shiba Inu dogs. Until recently, you could support it through purchases on Amazon through and select Shiba Inu Rescue Association (a 501(c)3 as your preferred nongovernmental organization), but Amazon is currently winding down their Smile program.

What is ShibaSwap?

ShibaSwap is a decentralized exchange – a type of peer-to-peer trading platform similar to Uniswap that allows users to trade SHIB and other cryptocurrencies without an intermediary company. It also features the “Shiboshis” non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace.

ShibaSwap allows users to provide liquidity (deposit funds into pools that other traders can use to trade against) and stake tokens (deposit them into a smart contract) to earn interest using SHIB token and two additional ERC-20 tokens that exist within the Shiba ecosystem; Bone ShibaSwap token (BONE) and Doge Killer token (LEASH). BONE serves as the community's governance token. LEASH launched as a rebase or elastic token, with it’s supply adjusted to track the price of DOGE at a rate of 1/1,000.

LEASH tokens have since been “unleashed,” and now serve mainly as a store of value for investors.

Who created SHIB coin?

Shiba inu coin launched in August 2020 as a direct competitor to Dogecoin. But unlike Dogecoin, the mysterious creator(s) of Shiba Inu, known as Ryoshi, made some design decisions that have since set the token apart. According to Ryoshi, SHIB has “the ability to outpace the value of dogecoin, exponentially, without ever crossing the $0.01 mark.” To put that into perspective, SHIB was trading for $0.000025 at press time, which is a long way from $0.01. And yet, its market cap has already reached a third of Dogecoin’s market cap.

As noted above, following the launch of Shiba Inu, Ryoshi transferred half of the token’s total supply to Buterin, while the other half was locked in Uniswap, a decentralized exchange. As written in the project’s white paper, which the shib community calls the woofpaper, the goal was to transfer ownership of 500 trillion SHIB to Buterin with the hope he would lock them away forever. Unlike dogecoin, where new coins enter circulation in perpetuity via mining, all of Shiba Inu coin’s supply was released at launch.

What is Shibarium?

Shibarium is a layer 2 solution for Ethereum. Layer 2s reduce bottlenecks and lower the cost to transact by bundling multiple off-chain transactions into a single transaction on the layer 1 or mainnet, in this case Ethereum.

In a blog post, the developers wrote the focus will be on the Metaverse, gaming and NFTs as well as be used as a cheap settlement for decentralized applications (dapps) built on Shibarium. Every transaction will burn SHIB tokens, but the details are still to be determined.

Further reading on Shiba Inu:

The viral success of shiba inu coin (SHIB) in 2021 means it’s easier than ever to purchase the dogecoin competitor across a range of platforms.

The meme coin continues to expand its utility with a move into the metaverse.

This article was originally published on Dec 14, 2021 at 7:08 p.m. UTC


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Andrey Sergeenkov

Andrey Sergeenkov is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in many cryptocurrency publications, including CoinDesk, Coinmarketcap, Cointelegraph and Hackermoon. He holds BTC and ETH.

Toby Bochan

Toby Leah Bochan was the Managing Editor of Web3 and Learn at CoinDesk. Toby holds BTC.

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