How do we define “shitcoin?” After all, one man’s shitcoin is another man’s paradigm-shifting, industry-disrupting crypto-moonshot. For Bitcoin maximalists like the inimitable Max Kaiser, “Every coin’s a shitcoin, apart from Bitcoin.” That’s a little harsh for most crypto fans, but who would disagree that DOGECOIN is a shitcoin? Well, me, as I shall describe later.
So what makes a coin shit? My favorite things to complain about are –
- Lack of use case
- Bad tokenomics
- Implicit moral hazard
- Criminal intent
One of these afflictions is enough for a coin to make the list, but there are some very dodgy projects with a combination of issues. There are some surprises on the list, but I think all the coins justify their inclusion. They get shitter as we go along, so stick with it.
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I’m obliged to mention Dogecoin because it’s the original shitcoin. It has a market cap of $25 billion, so clearly, there’s more to Dogecoin than cute dog pictures. How did this fork of a fork of Bitcoin go from being an amusing anecdote to an iconic token?
This ironic critique on the state of the crypto community back in 2013, was once the fastest and cheapest way to transfer value between major exchanges. That’s how I first learned about it. Dogecoin has recently found another use case for tipping content creators and sharers on Reddit. Dogecoin has done its time and paid its dues out in the real world.
It had always worked fine and survived hack-free longer than most other blockchains, but it wasn’t yet the classic shitcoin. So what did turn the original meme coin into a shitcoin? Or rather, who? Don’t get me wrong, the guy lands rockets back on the ground, and he did the impossible by building an electric car that people actually want to drive. Put in this context, DogeCoin was not one of Elon’s proudest moments.
He exposed his lack of understanding and embarrassed himself very publicly. Cryptocurrency is bigger than Musk, and to quote Max Kaiser again, “You don’t change Bitcoin, Bitcoin changes you.” I think Elon will get with the program soon enough. In the meantime, he should probably just stick with simultaneously revolutionizing the spaceflight and automotive industries.
Large Market Cap Shitcoins – Shiba Inu/SafeMoon/Cumrocket
These shitcoins represent the biggest risk to retail crypto investors. They have the key attribute of all good shitcoins – a total lack of use cases – but the real danger is that they now have an air of respectability. After all, Shiba Inu has a market cap of $2.5 billion and ranks 39th on Coin Market Cap. DogeCoin is currently worth more than $25 billion, down from a peak of $88 billion in early May. That’s according to the numbers, so they must be serious if they’re worth that much, surely?
No. The problem is that the numbers are fake, or at least, entirely sentiment-based and therefore illusory. The major holders of these coins could release them at any time, crashing the price and leaving the average Joe holding the bags. Hodlers are relying on the whims of capricious, narcissistic billionaires, praying that they don’t have a hissy-fit on Twitter. These projects create no value. Indeed, they are designed specifically to extract value others have created.
People will just get bored and go away, as happens to all memes eventually. Shitcoins are content and marketing businesses, and like any other business, they need to re-invest, innovate, and stay ahead of the competition. The meme needs constant maintenance and the crowd must be kept engaged. Shitcoins must sustain the attention or they will perish. Once the cute dog joke isn’t funny anymore, why would people stick around?
Just don’t find yourself holding 2 billion animal-themed ERC20 tokens that no longer trade. By the time the hype has reached you, there’s a good chance that the party is already over. Treat these mega-shitcoins like the lottery. It’s fun, but we all know that it’s the least efficient form of investing. There’s nothing wrong with holding a few SAFEMOONDOGEMARS tokens for shits and giggles if that’s what makes you happy.
If you really want to lose your money, then some notable shitcoins that currently have unfeasibly large market caps are –
- Shiba Inu
- Cumrocket Cummies
- Doggy Doggy
- Dogelon Mars
- Tiger King
- SafeMars, SaferMars, SafestMars
- FEG Token
These shitcoins are personal. I was testing out some DeFi wallets for a review and needed to swap some of my perfectly serviceable BNB (Binance Coin) into some obscure micro tokens on SushiSwap and PancakeSwap. I liked the sound of FEG, “Feed Every Gorilla.” I think we can all get behind this one. Hungry gorillas are in no one’s best interests. Ever!
Bonfire sounded appropriate as that’s where one might burn a huge pile of cash. SafeMars was a tip from my neighbor’s pool service guy’s uncle in Morocco. Now, I appreciate that this elevated level of fundamental analysis might be beyond some newcomers to cryptocurrency. That’s understandable as it takes years of deep study to perfect this stuff. Regardless, as a total expert in these things, those were my highly informed choices.
I ended up with 20 million SAFEMARS, 30 million BONFIRE, and 1.2 Billion FEG. That sounds pretty impressive but the whole portfolio only cost US$40 including fees. So how did that play out? Even after a recent upswing in the market, my shitcoins are currently worth 7% of what I paid for them. I’ll have to hold off on that flying Lambo this quarter.
That’s the true mark of a shitcoin. You buy it, then it rapidly falls to approximately zero. I’ll be hodling my $3 trio of shitcoins just in case some meretricious billionaire decides they’re bored on Twitter one day. Yes, I’m still secretly hoping they’ll moon, and that’s part of the fun of shitcoins. One can but dream, but it’s the hope that kills you in the end.
CBDCs – FedCoin / CCPCoin / BritCoin
Most countries are now exploring Central Bank Digital Currencies. China has already started its rollout and plans are afoot in the UK & US to get their nationally branded centralized shitcoins up and running. These are the real shitcoins – but without the laughs.
Technology has spurred humanity forward from existing as a feudal peasantry to living in an enlightened society where we’re first and foremost, sovereign individuals. But there’s a dark side to this particular technology. Whichever your favorite form of government, there’s absolutely no upside to CBDCs for those concerned with personal sovereignty.
We already know that if you don’t hold your private keys, it ain’t your crypto. By definition, CBDCs will never let you hold private keys. Your accounts can be credited or debited at will, requiring no explanation. These accounts can be closed, seized, taxed, restricted, or deleted, with absolutely no notice, or redress. Your ability to function in society may be arbitrarily terminated in an instant.
Everything you buy will be scrutinized and the data used to calculate your value to society – your health insurance premiums, your income tax rate, your motor insurance, your social privileges. Lockdowns and travel embargos will be enforced by restricting your spending to a particular geographical area. Curfews will be enforced by limiting the hours in which you may spend your FED Coin.
Programmable money will be valid only for a fixed period to influence when we spend and how much we spend. Your CBDC tokens will buy only certain goods and services, as prescribed by an unaccountable governmental agency. For example, those on welfare assistance will be required to buy items from a restricted list, and only from approved outlets. Cash will no longer exist, taking the last of our financial freedom with it.
Certain people will be favored over others, depending on their spending patterns. What you eat, drink, smoke, watch, vote for, laugh at, read, and do in your spare time will dictate the benefits your government affords you. This will all be enacted on an individual basis in real-time. There will be no hiding from the system. This is a best-case scenario.
Plan for the future. Act now. Buy some Bitcoin today.
On a lighter note (but not much) we have XRP. It might come as a surprise to see Ripple’s current token of choice appearing on the list. Which of the mortal sins did XRP commit? A few actually, but this is more about the spirit of cryptocurrency, rather than any specific shitcoin.
First up, XRP is not decentralized. Secondly, they have been trying to replace SWIFT for years but they’re nowhere near achieving anything like it. Next, they’re involved in permanent litigation with the SEC. Further, there are now dozens of scalable, superfast blockchains which compete favorably. JP Morgan has announced their own blockchain for inter-bank settlements, potentially blowing XRP out of the water.
But it’s not just the fundamentals that bother me about this Boomer coin. XRP replaces like for like. It’s just a better version of the current, centralized, privately owned corporations we are trying to free ourselves from. What’s the point of putting tyrannical international payment and remittance services out of business if we then hand all the benefits over to the corporate owners of Ripple?
Ripple and XRP are not striving to make a better world for future generations. They’re trying to extract value while maintaining the current system. This is not the spirit of Satoshi Nakamoto, Vitalik Buterin, Jack Mallers, or Charles Hoskinson.
Another way to tell you’re a shitcoin is when you have an ‘army.’ The XRP army is convinced the world will adopt their hyper-centralized, privately owned and controlled shitcoin. I regularly see predictions of $300 per XRP on Youtube. Simple arithmetic shows XRP would then be worth 14 trillion dollars.
It’s more than the market cap of gold, and that’s just the circulating supply of XRP. If all the tokens are taken into consideration, they would be worth 30 trillion dollars, 50% more than the GDP of the United States. But they still believe. That’s another clear mark of a shitcoin – the utter irrationality of the brainwashed hodlers.
“Oh! What a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive…”
USDT managed to turn itself into a shitcoin. It was a great idea. You could exit all your crypto trades without reverting to fiat. Brilliant! It was also a simple idea – each USDT would be minted as it was paid for by someone depositing 1US$. Well, that was the story they were selling when they started back in 2014. What could possibly go wrong?
A few things went wrong, like losing banking privileges. Other things certainly appeared wrong, like ending up at the same branch of the same bank as the Bitfinex exchange, shortly followed by some interesting “synchronized auditing.” But these were the symptoms, not the cause.
The real failure was not doing what they were supposed to. I suspect they started out with good intentions, funding each USDT with 1US$. As it stands, USDT is 75% backed by “Cash and Cash Equivalents & Other Short Term Deposits & Commercial Paper.” Of this, two-thirds is “Unspecified Commercial paper.” Yikes!
There’s some cash, some T-bills, Corporate Bonds, and Reverse-Repo notes. Fair enough, you can take all these to the bank – literally. But confidence has been lost by the people in charge not nurturing their fundamental vision. What doomed USDT to being a shitcoin was the implicit moral hazard – the fact that they were not obliged to stick to the strict 1USDT = 1US$ standard.
It was built into the USDT tokenomics that when this evolving business eventually needed to pay some unexpected bills, it had the soft option of diverging from the core principle on which it was founded. That was almost fatal. I’m quite sure nothing untoward happened and in time everyone involved will be exonerated. Unfortunately for USDT, the damage has already been done. We’re all using USDC instead these days.
Let’s all hope that USDC was paying attention.
The ultimate shitcoins are the ones in our pocketbooks and bank accounts right now. Which of the rules does fiat money break to qualify for the list? All but one.
The massively inflationary tokenomics and endless arbitrary minting of new fiat tokens has led, predictably, to their value dropping around 95% since their inception. Strike One!
Their fiercely centralized and unaccountable central bank governance model has led to endless bad decisions being made by the private owners of these central banks, against the interest of the coin holders. Strike Two!
These fiat shitcoins are used to wage war and ensure that corporate institutions are propped up against the needs of humanity and the environment we inhabit. The newly printed money is funneled interest-free, through the banking system enriching ‘the few’ and marginalizing ‘the many’ through predatory interest rates and a lack of banking access. Strike Three!
I must admit, the fiat use case knocks it out of the park. Only last night I exchanged fiat money for ‘several’ Piña Coladas. The transaction was frictionless, as was my speech by the time I fell into the taxi. Much as I object to fiat money, I’ll miss holding cash. All those cocktails wouldn’t look good on my CBDC permanent record.
Dink Doink Donk, or whatever…
This vomit-inducing, fatuous Ponzi scheme just about puts the tin lid on it for me. Perhaps I’m mistaken and it’s all a hyper-ironic art piece that’s gone right over my head. I suspect not, however, as Logan Paul wouldn’t recognize irony if it punched him in the ring.
Yes, this is arguably worse than the oppressive fiat currencies, or the insidious CBDCs. It’s certainly more heinous than the big-cap meme coins, and it claims our top spot by quite a margin. It’s so awful and sick-making that I’m not even going to write about it or link to it. It’s enough just to cringe at the con artists promoting it, wondering what their mothers must think of them – imagining their eternal shame.
People have commented that at least the promoters are upfront about it, and that they state themselves it’s a shitcoin. The problem here is two-fold. Firstly. It’s an old joke that DogeCoin made back in 2013 when these guys were still in diapers. It’s just not funny anymore.
Secondly, when DogeCoin made the original joke, cryptocurrencies weren’t mainstream. The crypto space was populated by brainiac computer nerds who well understood what was going on. Cynically regurgitating this tired old gag in 2021 will net these shameless con artists millions of dollars, directly from people who actually have to go out and work for a living. That’s quite enough about those idiots.
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Conclusion and Thoughts
There are many things that make for a true shitcoin. Some shitcoins are amusing or annoying, and they’re best ignored. Most are of little significance, draw scant attention, and cause only minor reputational harm to crypto as a whole. History will likely not remember the crypto tokens on this list.
For the more puritanical Bitcoin maximalists, shitcoins impune the good name of their ideology. They are sacrilege, a blasphemy, and should be burned at the metaphorical stake, along with all the other non-believers who stray from the path of decentralized, proof of work, small block-sized, righteousness.
I’m somewhere in between. I think they’re interesting cultural phenomena that might only be understood years down the line. We can learn much from how these coins go viral and how they sustain so much attention. Remember, attention is the lifeblood of our modern online economy.
The shittest of all the coins are those that set out to do actual harm, or have in their algorithmic DNA the inevitability of moral hazard. On my list, these are represented by the legacy financial systems that cryptocurrencies should be striving to disrupt. CBDCs and fiat currencies are not funny or cute. They deserve their place near the top of the list.
For all the recent petty distractions of DogeCoin, it’s never once been used to sanction a developing nation, careless enough to be situated on top of America’s oil or China’s rare-earth minerals.
Give me FEG Token over FED Token, any time!
CaptainAltcoin's writers and guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the mentioned projects and businesses. None of the content on CaptainAltcoin is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CaptainAltcoin.com