What is Shiba Inu?

Eric Eissler
| Editor:
August 24, 2023
8 min read

Who knew Saturday Night Live (SNL) could be so exciting and devastating at the same time! No, not all the shows, only the episode featuring Elon Musk and a Shiba Inu dog.

Shiba Inu flashed onto everyone's crypto radar in May 2021. That happened when Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, made a special announcement on the sketch-comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). Dogecoin was getting hype and attention due to Musk's tweets, which caused surging prices to find their way to Shiba Inu's price as well.

That said, when everyone was expecting Musk to make a special announcement about Doge–potentially pushing the price up to a dollar–Musk instead uttered the name Shiba Inu! Though he meant the dog breed Shiba Inu, not the cryptocurrency, followers thought he referred to the altcoin, a meme token with little recognition at the time.

Musk's mention thrust the Shiba Inu token into the limelight and subsequently got it listed on numerous exchanges around the globe. Musk's Shiba Inu comments were supposed to help Doge, but traders flocked to the Shiba Inu token instead. They soon realized it was another meme coin, like Doge. Who can hide that many zeros after the decimal point!

Still, since Musk brought Shiba Inu from the edge of obscurity to one of the most talked-about cryptos out there, the rhetoric should be taken very lightly. Even with it trading well below a dollar, the incremental price spikes have made long-time holders millionaires and even billionaires. Shiba Inu isn't a joke coin or a meme coin anymore.

Jokes aside, let's take a deeper look into what Shiba Inu is all about.

Turn the Pages of Time, but Not Too Far!

You don't need to go back too far in time to find out when Shiba Inu was created. A person or team called Ryoshi crafted it in August 2020. Ryoshi preferred to remain incognito following other developers–it adds to the allure of working with cryptocurrency. Shiba Inu's image depicts the Shiba Inu dog breed, which oddly happens to be the same dog breed on Dogecoin; that's why it's boasting a Doge killer nickname.

The Joke's on the Disbelievers–It Now Has a Purpose!

According to the Shiba Inu whitepaper, the cryptocurrency is an attempt to answer the question: what happens if a crypto project is run 100% by a community of its users? Well, this is where true decentralization starts!

The whitepaper writers show how decentralization allows anyone to disrupt the path and definition of building wealth. The creation and advancement of crypto have disrupted traditional markets and added to the ways to generate wealth.

Cryptocurrencies operate in a decentralized system, which allows everyone to participate in the global economy. Even those who can't access the traditional financial system can be a part of the crypto world. Decentralized cryptocurrencies provide easy and secure access to services without banking and credit card company oversight. That allows the unbanked, a rough estimate of nearly 2 billion people, to enter the global economy. That segues nicely into the main features of the Shiba Inu project.

Back up a little; isn't crypto in general about decentralization? That's a loaded question, but if you want an answer, it's yes and no. Some cryptocurrencies are highly centralized, and some aren't. It depends on what they"re trying to achieve.

How is Shiba Inu innovative in its approach to decentralization? According to Shiba Inu's creator and founder, Ryoshi: “We believe we can build something stronger than a centralized team could ever create, through the power of collective decentralization. A community-run token is nothing without the united individuals who give it purpose.”

Built on Ethereum

Shiba Inu is built on Ethereum and is an ERC-20 token. As Decentralized Finance (DeFi) gains more traction, the Ethereum blockchain will become more prominent since developers can build other tokens on its DeFi platform. By definition, DeFi has all the features and services of a bank without the bank and the centralized system. Blockchains keep track of transactions on peer-to-peer-based networks.

DeFi capability is a primary reason why Ryoshi sent half of all Shiba Inu's existing tokens, 500 trillion to be exact, to Ethereum's creator Vitalik Buterin (VB). He hoped VB wouldn't sweep Shiba Inu under the rug. The crypto medium sees VB as controlling anything built on Ethereum, but, despite being its creator, he doesn't want to interfere with the system he created. Ryoshi saw this as Shiba Inu's only vulnerability.

Gifting VB was also a way of paying it forward and thanking him for creating Ethereum, without which Shiba Inu wouldn't exist. Some people also think it was a marketing stunt to gain attention.

A Growing Community

The Shiba Inu community started with nothing, as a one-person gig, but has been growing over time, in a decentralized way of course! According to the whitepaper, the community, known as the ShibArmy, now has around 544,000 members. It's also building out a new ecosystem.

The ShibArmy is also creating tools that allow users to buy, sell, swap, hold, and stake tokens. The first four are clear, but what's staking? Staking provides users with rewards for using these services in a whimsical, dog-related way. Staking is like getting interest on your money kept in a bank.

For allowing exchanges to borrow your staked crypto, the exchange will pay you a percentage of the principal amount you staked. It'll also give you other rewards and benefits, which vary from crypto to crypto and exchange to exchange.

Shiba Inu's Ecosystem Tokenomics

Let's take a closer look at how the tokenomics of the Shiba Inu ecosystem work.


ShibaSwap allows users to trade or swap coins by simply connecting their wallet to the exchange and trading one token for another anonymously, without paying extra fees to a centralized exchange. The only fees you pay relate to the miner's fees for the transactions.

Which tokens can you trade for Shiba Inu?


Shiba Inu has 3 tokens you can trade:


SHIB is the native token of the Shiba Inu ecosystem. That's the original ERC-20 token you can use for payments, staking, sending, and receiving. It started as a meme to parody Dogecoin in 2020 but has turned into a major cryptocurrency. It's also known as the “Dogecoin killer”.


LEASH is the second token after SHIB itself. At first, it was supposed to be a rebase token tied to Doge, constantly burning its supply, which raises the price floor.

The community decided it wouldn't be a rebase token, though. Instead, it"d have an extremely limited supply of only 107,647 minted tokens in circulation. This low supply, combined with the rewards for staking and holding xLEASH and LEASH-ETH SSLP, should theoretically raise the price. I'll discuss these tokens in a bit, but LEASH's price reached $1,123.11 at the time of writing.


BONE's the third token in the Shiba Inu ecosystem and is exclusively available on ShibaSwap. BONE tokens are more widely available than LEASH tokens since 250 million BONE tokens are in circulation. This token has voting rights attached to it and allows the ShibArmy to vote on proposals starting in 2022. That's why, the more BONE tokens you hold, the more powerful your vote is.

Rewards Tokens

When you stake any token in the ShibaSwap ecosystem, the token is then referred to as one of the following, during the time you're staking it.

ShibaSwap Liquidity Pool

Liquidity pools are where you put your staked Shiba Inu tokens. Your reward tokens are different from your staked tokens, and you'll know that since the token will have SSLP in its name.


When you stake SHIB, you'll get xSHIB as your reward token. You're also entitled to a SHIB SSLP for digging it.


xLEASH and LEASH-ETH are reward tokens you get when you bury or dig LEASH. These tokens only exist within the Shiba Inu ecosystem and you can't use them outside it. When you stake LEASH, you'll get xLEASH for burying and LEASH-ETH SSLP for digging LEASH.


When you stake BONE, you'll get tBONE as your reward token. You'll also earn BONE SSLP for digging the token.


You have 2 staking options for all your Shiba Inu tokens: BURY and DIG. Refer to the infographics further down the page to get a better understanding of how the rewards work. When you earn reward tokens, you can only redeem 33% of your rewards tokens immediately. The other 67% is locked away for 6 months before they can be traded or sold.


Shiba Inu tokens are buried into a staking pool, where BONE tokens generate value. Users get xSHIB tokens and general returns. The difference from DIG is that you're providing liquidity directly to the exchange, and rewards are slightly different from BURY.

2. DIG

DIG allows users to provide liquidity to the ShibaSwap Exchange to earn SSLP tokens (SHIB, LEASH, BONE) (a sub-token created in the Shiba Inu ecosystem). You're effectively providing liquidity to the exchange, so ShibaSwap has enough “money” to execute all the transactions on the exchange.


Woof Rewards allow you to stake your returns a second time with the SSLP BONE and LEASH tokens you get as a reward for staking SHIB. That creates an additional reward opportunity for staking you can benefit from.


The BoneFolio allows you to track your Shiba Inu ecosystem tokens–what you own and how well it's doing. The BoneFolio provides integrated metrics for each token you hold.

Image of the SHIB, LEASH, and BONE descriptions and a Buy button.

While that's a lot to digest, it"d be a good idea to read the Shiba Inu woofpaper (whitepaper). There, you'll learn more about the ecosystem and the other exclusive tokens with all the details as the team intended. Refer to all relevant resource links at the end of this article.

After getting into the Shiba Inu ecosystem, you'll wonder how all this steaking, oops staking, helps you make money.

Where's The Money?

Staking and WoofRewards

Burying or staking your Shiba Inu tokens works along the lines of receiving interest on money locked into a certificate of deposit at a bank. That's a fixed return rate that can't fluctuate like the DIG (liquidity).

When burying you get rewards based on 0.1% of all ETH swap transaction fees that take place on Shibaswap, plus part of 0.05% of swap fees that were converted in Shiba Inu.

Shiba Inu pays out 33% of the returns weekly, and the remaining 67% gets locked away for six months, like in savings accounts. Additionally, DIG pools can provide double or triple the amount of rewards.

That said, when you stake (BURY) your bone, you get tBONE; proof-of-steak! When you hold tBONE, you get 0.05% of the swap fees, which allow you to build up your BONE balance.

When you dig BONE, you get 0.1% of all DAI (a loan token) swap returns and 0.1% of all USDT (Tether token) swap returns, under the same 33% and 67% availability policy. The upside to digging LEASH is that the rewards payout pool offers 0.1% of all WBTC (wrapped Bitcoin) swap transactions and 0.1% of all USDC (US Dollar Coin - stablecoin) swap transactions.

Essentially, when digging LEASH, you'll be in a rewards pool that takes its rewards from all the transaction fees involving WBTC and USDC on the ShibaSwap exchange. As this is a bit of an information overload, read the infographics taken from Shiba Inu's whitepaper below to understand better how the rewards system works.

A Shiba Inu descriptive infographic showing what happens to each token when you BURY or DIG it.
Infographic of the rewards system's function when a user buries SHIB
Infographic of how the rewards system works when a user digs SHIB.

Does It Pay to Hodl SHIB?

Let's look back at the charts and see where SHIB debuted, how it went, and how it's going now.

According to CoinMarketCap, SHIB appeared on August 1, 2020, at $0.00000000051. Yep that many zeros! The price remained almost the same until Elon Musk mentioned it on SNL in May 2021, where it slightly ticked upwards. Then, it was all but boringly stable.

Have you ever been on Red Force in the PortAventura theme park? Well, it perfectly describes SHIB's performance. To top it, SHIB hodlers rid it twice since May 2021! The first time, it shot up to $0.00003503, more than 6,700%, before scaling back 75% of its gains and falling to $0.000000858. Next came the October frenzy when SHIB spiked up to its all-time high of $0.0008 before free-falling by 90%.

Shiba Inu to USD all-time price history.

Another Elon Musk tweet helped launch Shiba Inu's meteoric ascent in October. This time around, the tweet was about buying a Shiba Inu puppy. What's more, VB burned what was left of his gift from Ryoshi. That reduced the total SHIB tokens in circulation by almost half to 549,059 billion since burning tokens reduces the supply and increases the pricing floor.

A picture of Elon Musk's new Shiba Inu puppy, Floki.

While SHIB's price is currently in a downward trend, everything it accomplished in such a short time is a massive achievement. It went from being unknown to becoming the 13th most valuable token, based on market capitalization on CoinMarketCap. It's also building out its ecosystem with a decentralized exchange in only a year and a half since its inception. It has also gained more than 1 million users as of November 2021, a quarter joining in November alone!

Can Shiba Inu Hit $0.01?

That's the billion-dollar question on everyone's mind now. Shiba Inu reaching $0.01 is big as many early holders stand to make a substantial profit.

That said, to reach the one-cent level would require SHIB to increase about 170 times from the current price and have a $5 trillion market cap. For comparison, its current market cap is around $17.5 billion. That's why it's a bit of an overstretch to expect SHIB to reach a $5 trillion market cap fast. That doesn't mean it'll never happen; almost anything's possible in the crypto world.

The crypto market is very volatile. It also isn't your father's or grandfather's market. Instead, it's your market, and many people believe in crypto, and their cumulative belief is a major market driver.

Coins with positive momentum tend to rise continually until they don't. That usually happens when a token reaches the end of its bullish support or internal mechanisms that somewhat maintain price stability.

Looking at Shiba Inu's total gains in 2021, the token is up 52,000,000%. The token posted these mega gains despite falling to around 54% from its lifetime highs. To put this in perspective, if you invested $100 on Jan 1, 2021, and held that for the year, your $100 would have turned into $52,000,000!

How is it possible for an asset to appreciate that much in less than a year?

Crypto Market Factors are Different from the Stock Market

A few factors come into play, with the first being the crypto market doesn't have as many short-sellers as the stock market. In other words, you don't have investors betting on an asset price's fall.

Investors also follow the crypto market's momentum in that when a token takes off, it really takes off, like a rocket to the moon. Straight up! That said, many investors are riding the wave, and short-sellers would be foolish to bet against a crypto bull run or “moon shot”.

Compound those factors with the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and social media tweets, and you have all the ingredients to take a cryptocurrency to the moon and beyond.

Robinhood and the Whales

Altcoins are pretty speculative, but you should wait and see if Robinhood allows its users to trade SHIB. That's when it'll get bumpy as the token's price may skyrocket if it gets on Robinhood. Even if regulators hit the brakes to avoid another market fallback from Robinhood, other exchanges will list the token. That way, SHIB would still receive support and a pricing floor if more exchanges list it.

Whales, investors that hold massive amounts of a token, have a vested interest in establishing a price floor. In November of 2021, 8 whales owned 70% of SHIB's supply. Conversely, it may be worth noting that some Whales have massive wallets with around 43,300,000,000,000 Shiba Inu or 4% of the total supply. Should the whales choose to liquidate, that would spell price disaster for all the other holders. Generally speaking, though, the more whales around with fat wallets, the better. Think of them as the main supporters: they want to see the price go higher.

The holders and users are showing much optimism. Still, it's important to look at the economics at play, too. When you do the math and look at the other environmental variables like the whales, who might tip the scales, you can see the risk. Yet, risk brings reward.

What's Next? Shibarium, the Metaverse, General Utility, Shytoshi Unmasking?

The ShibArmy developers are currently working on a layer 2 scaling solution called Shibarium. The developers stated that they'll use Shibarium instead of waiting for Ethereum's 2.0 upgrades, which have been pushed back to June 2022. The layer 2 scaling solution would reduce and possibly eliminate the network fees associated with transactions. That'll be an advantage, as the NFT market eats up a lot of Ethereum's capacity.

That drives the miners" fees higher and higher until the network activity makes it hard to transact. Shibarium could unlock some great potential if it reduces or eliminates fees, as it"d provide a much-needed low or zero-cost alternative to Ethereum.

According to tweets from Shiba Inu developers, after the layer 2 scaling solution rolls out, BONE will act as the new ecosystem's primary cryptocurrency instead of SHIB. That'll prevent whales from concentrating massive amounts of the token.

ShibaSwap developer Eric M talked about the project on Discord during a question and answer session. He said that "You don't need a timeline when you trust a project. That's how Shib has worked until now, and it'll keep being like this." He also commented that Shibarium will arrive "soon", without being specific. Yet, he had already disclosed that Shibarium should be ready before Ethereum 2.0.

Welcome to the Metaverse!

The community has been circulating some chatter that Shiba Inu could enter the metaverse, which would require a scaling solution. The scaling solution would be very beneficial for the coin if the community successfully integrates it into the metaverse. The metaverse is new, hot, and unexplored, and now's the time to enter it and carve out a niche.

Metaverse Competitors

Tokens that are already in the metaverse include Axie Infinity and Decentraland, to name a few.

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is among 2021's top-performing cryptocurrencies. It has already seen massive gains of more than 24,000% so far. Players can breed, raise, and compete Axies. Axie is a play-to-earn game, which means players earn crypto rewards that have value outside the game.


Decentraland is a 3D virtual reality platform where players can own and develop parcels of land bought with MANA tokens. The game offers tools you can use to create spaces and artwork. Decentraland has seen a great rise in value from listing at $0.25 in 2017 up to $3.91 at the time of writing.

Shiba Inu as a Payment Method

While it started as a meme, Shiba didn't have any real value until it started getting attention and then gaining traction as many retailers adopted it as a payment method. Online computer and electronics retailer Newegg Commerce stated that it would begin accepting Shiba Inu tokens. AMC Entertainment Holdings, the world's largest movie-theater chain, and once a meme stock itself during the pandemic, also said it"d start accepting Shiba Inu as a form of payment within the next two to four months. started accepting Shiba Inu for payments on July 6, 2021. is a platform that allows users to shop on Amazon and Wal-Mart's websites and pay using cryptocurrencies while offering transaction rewards. When accepted Shiba Inu's use for payments in July, the news boosted SHIB's price.

A last-minute addition: GameStop, a video game retailer, which was on the brink of bankruptcy earlier this year before investors blew up the stock price (also making it a meme stock), will now accept cryptocurrency as payments. That'll include Shiba Inu, among others. It appears that meme stocks and coins support each other after being a “joke”. Are the meme stocks and meme coins going to take revenge in 2022? It'll be interesting to watch the year unfold.

Finally, BitPay, a cryptocurrency payment service, said that its merchant network could now accept Shiba Inu payments. As Shiba Inu gains popularity as a payment method, this acceptance will likely propel the token forward in 2022.

Shytoshi Unmasking?

The government is starting to get involved to find out who are the real people behind the meta masks, as cryptocurrency gains more attention and makes more people rich. That's starting to happen to ShytoShi, one of the lead developers on Shiba Inu. He might be getting caught up in a court case with a Canadian online healthcare company, Ask the Doctor.

Ask the Doctor started as a top influencer and bought $1.5 million of SHIB on December 1, 2021. Since then, Ask the Doctor has turned on the project and is warning investors that Shiba Inu is a scam. Ask the Doctor recently announced on Twitter plans to sue ShytoShi.

A lawsuit that exposes the founders and the Shiba Inu team can cause great harm if it goes to the courts. Conversely, Ask the Doctor has been criticized for market manipulation. Essentially, the company was trying to get people to buy SHIB after making their large investment to drive up the price.

It'll be interesting to see what truths come out and how that'll affect the SHIB price if this case goes to court. Shiba Inu could get a massive win if Ask the Doctor is lying, and it's true they were trying to manipulate the market. That"d prove the decentralized cryptocurrency is there to do good.

The Quick Report

To sum it all up, Shiba Inu has done a lot in a short time. In only one year, it has had the biggest rise among any asset that ever existed. It started as a joke but has begun building an ecosystem and ShibaSwap.

It has a dedicated decentralized team that promises to work for the project's good and do humanitarian work. They partner with Amazon Smile and collect donations. It's also ready to get the jump on Ethereum 2.0 with its own Shibarium layer 2 scaling solution.

Finally, it's receiving wide acceptance as a cryptocurrency payment method on several platforms and even large businesses, namely AMC. With all the companies adding it as a payment option, Shiba Inu has the opportunity to become more than just a meme coin.

What Do You Think About Shiba Inu?

We"d like to hear your thoughts on where you think Shiba Inu is headed! Please use the comments section below to post your opinions on the token.

  • What do you think of the new ecosystem ShibArmy is developing?
  • Will this bring more value to the price?
  • What are your thoughts on Elon Musk's involvement?
  • Why would he give so much attention to an unknown token if he couldn't even make a profit?
  • How do you think the court case with Ask the Doctor will go?

Buy, Sell, and Swap Shiba Inu

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What is Shiba Inu about?

Shiba Inu isn't about being a meme coin any longer. The ShibArmy (developers) have developed an entire decentralized ecosystem to reward users. They also created ShibaSwap to allow users to exchange tokens in a decentralized exchange. They"re well-positioned to enter into the world of Web 3.0 and the metaverse.

What is important about the project?

The newly built, decentralized Shibaswap exchange allows you to trade tokens without a middleman taking higher fees. Only transaction fees apply on each respective token's blockchain network, totally decentralized development team, and humanitarian efforts. Its utility is improving.

What is the price trajectory?

Many factors can affect Shiba Inu's price in 2022. Ownership concentration should raise the price floor while being listed on more exchanges will drive buying. If Shiba Inu lists on Robinhood, that'll be a major buy indicator as its price may skyrocket. That said, a win for the Ask the Doctor court case could tank the price.

What should we look for in the future?

The Shibarium layer 2 scaling solution launch, estimated before Ethereum launches the 2.0 version in June 2022. Shiba Inu's potential entry into the metaverse and building out new features and functions in the ecosystem.

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