The tokens have risen 20% over the past week, compared with nominal gains for bitcoin and ether (ETH). Among alternative currencies, higher returns were generated only by rollbit (RLB) and unibot (UNIBOT).
Trading volumes hit $315 million over a 24-hour period on Thursday, their highest point since February. Crypto analytics firm Kaiko pointed to increased developer activity on Shiba Inu earlier this week, which suggests that the price gains weren't without cause.
Traders of the meme coin, which is vying to be a decentralized-finance powerhouse, are likely buying tokens ahead of the expected launch of Shibarium, a Shiba Inu-based blockchain, later this month. Some of the recent bullish sentiment came as developers said last week they would tie digital identity verification to all Shiba Inu developments in the future, including on Shibarium.
Dubbed self-sovereign identity, or SSI, the IDs are the digital alter ego of identity documents, like passports and driver’s licenses. In the digital world, SSI is said to give users more control over their personal data and its distribution online.
The developers said the rising interest in digital identities and data protection in Canada and the European Union could help position Shiba Inu as a more serious — and compliant — project compared with other blockchains.
Some say such developments could ultimately make the case for shib tokens as a long-term holding among serious investors.
"Shiba Inu is one of the very few meme coins that has a thriving community but lacked the backing of serious long-term crypto believers due to its inherent nature lacking any valid use case. But the launch of Shibarium is definitely a positive and bold step in the right direction," Khaleelulla Baig, co-founder of crypto exchange KoinBasket, wrote in a Telegram message.
"If they can pull this off well, I see this trend spreading across to other meme coins with strong communities and network effects," Baig added.
Shiba Inu developers have previously said Shibarium would have a focus on metaverse and gaming applications, especially as the non-fungible-token sector is expected to heat up in the coming years. A test blockchain for Shibarium has seen meaningful activity in the past months with 27 million transactions from an estimated 16 million wallets as of July, indicating brisk demand for the network.
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