Shiba Inu is an Ethereum-based altcoin that features the Shiba Inu—a Japanese breed of hunting dog—as its mascot. Shiba Inu is widely considered to be an alternative to Dogecoin; in fact, proponents of Shiba Inu tout it as “the Dogecoin killer.”
Shiba Inu and Dogecoin are meme coins, which are cryptocurrencies that are associated with some theme—like the Shiba Inu dog in the case of Shiba Inu and Dogecoin—but are often launched as a parody or inside joke rather than as a digital product that actually has some utility. While Dogecoin was launched in December 2013, Shiba Inu was created in August 2020 by an anonymous individual or group called Ryoshi.
Shiba Inu’s price soared more than tenfold in October 2021, giving it a market capitalization of $35 billion (as of October 31, 2021) and ranking it 10th among all cryptocurrencies by this measure. A tweet from Tesla founder Elon Musk on Oct. 4, 2021, featuring a picture of his new Shiba Inu puppy Floki provided the initial impetus for the meme coin’s price surge. Because Musk is one of the most high-profile supporters of Dogecoin and the self-proclaimed “Dogefather,” his cryptic tweets often result in heightened volatility in the cryptocurrency space.
Shiba Inu’s price surge in October 2021 resulted in it almost catching up to Dogecoin’s $36.9 billion market capitalization (as of Oct. 31, 2021), after briefly surpassing it at one point. It remains to be seen whether Shiba Inu will indeed become “the Dogecoin killer” that its growing community of supporters—known as the SHIBArmy—expects. But at least in October 2021, the stunning price gains of this previously obscure altcoin made Shiba Inu the tail that wagged the Dog(ecoin).