It's an exhausting trend that's plagued crypto for years: opportunistic developers whipping up bunches of tokens inspired by some hot concept.
The latest inspiration is one of the most influential figures in crypto, at least among those obsessed with memes: Elon Musk, whose controversial words this week inspired the birth of hundreds of tokens, with some hitting market capitalizations exceeding $25 million.
GFY, short for "go f--k yourself," led the pack. The token was issued by someone soon after Musk, in an interview Wednesday, shot those words toward advertisers who are withdrawing from his social network X.
More than 250 GFY tokens have since been issued on several networks, mainly on Ethereum, Solana, BNB Chain and Arbitrum. The market capitalizations of these vary from under $15,000 to more than $25 million – with the largest one attracting $19 million in trading volumes in the past 24 hours from some 4,000 holders.
Anyone can issue tokens on Ethereum (or other blockchains) with relative ease. It generally costs just a few cents. And they can be issued on decentralized exchanges basically instantly, with essentially guaranteed liquidity for anyone wanting to trade them given how DEXs operate.
Scores of TRUCK tokens popped up, another apparent nod to Musk, whose carmaker Telsa debuted its Cybertruck this week.
These followed GROK, a token seemingly named the GrokAI chatbot built by xAI, a division of X. That token surged more than 10,000% after issuance in early November, only to drop 50% after its developer was linked to failed projects.
Why are meme coins so popular?
"Meme coins are huge parts of the crypto trading landscape, whether we like it or not," James Wo, founder of crypto fund DFG, said in an interview conducted over Telegram. "While the biggest currencies like bitcoin and ether have very low volatility, it's only natural that traders will look for opportunities elsewhere."
Wo added: "Meme trading is a risky way to try to seek excessive return, but when it pans out, the upside can be huge. So, even in a bear market, some of the meme coins will have large up-swing, even if it's just short-term."
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