paint-brush
$SHIB: My Journey Through the Deepest Recesses & High Command of a $10 Billion Decentralized Armyby@jayderenthal
16,123 reads
16,123 reads

$SHIB: My Journey Through the Deepest Recesses & High Command of a $10 Billion Decentralized Army

by Jay DerenthalOctober 25th, 2021
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

HIGHLIGHTS ●Shiba Inu clogged the Ethereum network ●Everyone is anonymous? ●The Journey Begins ●Thanks @VitalikButerin ●Telegram, Reddit, and…DISCORD! ●Ryoshi’s experiment ●Doggos like Elon ●Time to feed the pack ●A nice run-up in price, then forgotten for months ●The Musk Effect ●Binance reaches out to Ryoshi ●Traditional Banking = Blockbuster | DeFi = Netflix ●Meme coin mania meets the future of finance ●A special message for Shib Army from Ryoshi

People Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail

Companies Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail

Coins Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail
featured image - $SHIB: My Journey Through the Deepest Recesses & High Command of a $10 Billion Decentralized Army
Jay Derenthal HackerNoon profile picture

by Jay Derenthal

Shiba Inu is the most-watched cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap. It’s the “moon coin” that eclipsed Bitcoin, Ethereum, and every other crypto asset under the sun. This is the story of the Shiba Inu phenomenon, where memecoin mania meets the decentralized internet.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS
●Charlie may have trouble
●Shiba Inu clogs the Ethereum network
●The Journey Begins
●Thanks @VitalikButerin
●Telegram, Reddit, and…DISCORD!
●Ryoshi’s experiment
●Doggos like Elon
●Time to feed the pack
●A nice run-up in price, then forgotten for months
●The Musk Effect
●Binance reaches out to Ryoshi
●Traditional Banking = Blockbuster | DeFi = Netflix
●Memecoin mania meets the future of finance
●A special message for Shib Army from Ryoshi

On May 10th, 2021, I received a text message from an old friend in Massachusetts:


“Charlie” and I had talked on the phone a month earlier about his new Coinbase account and what he, as a “newbie,” should buy. Known as the “crypto guy” to my family and friends, I advised him to go 70/30 into bitcoin and ether. “Buy and hold. Don’t look at it every day. Set it and forget it.” I figured he was good to go.

Now things had changed. The message included a screenshot of a mobile wallet holding a small amount of Ethereum and a comparatively large amount of “Shiba Inu.” I had never heard of Shiba Inu. "Uh, oh,” I thought. “Red flags popping.”

Charlie called a few minutes later and said, “The guys I follow on TikTok that read the charts were all raving about Shiba Inu — ‘it’s going to the moon’ — ‘it’s the next Dogecoin’ ... it’s probably a scam. I don’t know how to get rid of it.”

I told him not to kick himself since his experience is common to every crypto newbie. He had “fomo’ed in,” making an impulse buy based on “fear of missing out.” I soon learned that thousands of small investors had rushed into Shiba Inu with him.

Charlie bought Shiba Inu just before its ATH (All-Time High). A guy at the repair shop he owns in Boston had installed Uniswap on Charlie’s iPhone and walked him through buying Ethereum (ETH) and trading it for Shiba Inu (SHIB).

The transaction fees were extremely high. Charlie got dinged badly on each of three separate buys plus one failed transaction. He made the mistake of breaking his Shiba Inu buys into three separate transactions thinking that would be safer than a single large purchase. He did not know that he would pay nearly the same amount in fees for each smaller transaction as he would have for a single larger transaction.

Charlie said, “I ended up with less Shiba Inu in my wallet than I expected,” which in itself was confusing and upsetting. Then he discovered “fud” (“fear, uncertainty, doubt”) pushed by other TikTokers. “Fudders” often collaborate with the people pumping a new coin. They work the same social media channels and chat rooms. Fudders attempt to drive a coin’s price back down so that they and their compatriots can buy back in low.

Charlie sounded a bit panicked, “I want to get everything back into Ethereum asap.”

I endeavored to help. Transaction fees were running extremely high again, a situation that Larry Cermak at The Block blamed on “This dumbass token SHIB.”

“Wow,” I thought, “Shiba Inu clogged the whole Ethereum network.”

The fees for converting SHIB back into ETH were so high as to negate any benefit from a stop-loss trade, excepting all but the most extreme situation — a rug pull.

A “rug pull” is an exit scam executed when a coin tops out in price. Those in on the pump & dump liquidate everything at once and vanish. The coin’s value drops abruptly to zero.

Rug pulls are daily occurrences across the wild and untamed frontier of DeFi (decentralized finance). However, a rug pull on Shiba Inu was not imminent, even if it were in the cards. Shiba Inu market indicators looked good, and social sentiment scores on LunarCrush were excellent.

I rang Charlie back, “Hold tight. Be ready to trade back into ETH. I’ll look into this.

I googled “Shiba inu token” and found the homepage. I saw a mascot dubbed the “Dogecoin Killer.”


Alongside the Dogecoin Killer was the text, “Decentralized meme token that grew into a vibrant ecosystem. ShibaSwap. Fun tokens. Artist incubator. Growing 400k+ community. Read our WoofPaper!”

“A whitepaper titled WoofPaper, kinda clever,” I thought.

The WoofPaper expands upon Satoshi Nakamoto’s philosophical mandate that money and transactions should have no gatekeepers.

WoofPaper excerpt:

Until now, centralization has been a prerequisite for all of our official structures. Political, educational, and financial systems are, and have always been, crafted in a way that does not equally and ethically distribute power to those functioning within them. There have been times in our history where this sort of internal structure played an important role, but in an age with the world’s information available at the click of a button, it’s time to rethink. Cryptocurrency itself comes from the idea of redefining wealth and how it can be acquired.

The WoofPaper asserted that a DEX (decentralized exchange) named “ShibaSwap” was in development.

I dug deeper.

Critics and naysayers claimed that ShibaSwap was a fabrication. They likened the project to BitConnect, a multilevel marketing Ponzi scheme that collapsed in 2018 as the largest cryptocurrency scam ever perpetrated. Arrests and criminal prosecutions are ongoing to this day.

The journalist in me was intrigued.

Anonymous

I looked for founder and dev (development) team bios and found none on the website. Everyone on the core team communicated via pseudonyms and avatars like players in a video game. There was no personal information about anyone working on the project anywhere on the internet. Everyone was anonymous.

“Uh-oh,” I thought, “no way to do due diligence.”

I discovered a Shiba mythology with a vaguely cult-like following among token holders and social media influencers. “Ryoshi,” Shiba Inu’s pseudonymous founder, is a folkloric figure among the faithful. Ryoshi’s imaginative posts on Medium.com read like a cryptocurrency fairytale.

A community had risen from the ranks of Shiba Inu token holders. The self-proclaimed “Shib Army” was “hodling” (holding on for dear life) through price dips while they waited for “Shiba” to go on a bull run.

It occurred to me that Satoshi Nakamoto and Bitcoin had trailblazed a similar path years before.

I thought, “Ok, I guess. We’ll see.”

I called Charlie and said, “What I found runs counter-opposite to my stance on token project obligations regarding transparency and disclosure. But, for now, I think you should hold your tokens, at least until transaction fees drop. I’ll research this and get back to you.”

Thus began my journey into the deepest recesses and high command of a $10 billion decentralized army.

The Journey Begins

I found mainstream and altstream media coverage of the Shiba Inu token everywhere, from Newsweek to The Times of India to CoinDesk. Shiba Inu was the most-watched cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap for three straight weeks. A “moon coin” had eclipsed Bitcoin, Ethereum, and every other crypto asset under the sun.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, listed Shiba Inu trading against Binance Coin and Tether on May 10th. Binance primed the pump with an extraordinary announcement from CZ himself (Changpeng Zhao, Binance founder and CEO):

“There is a large number of users demanding it, to the point where we ran out of ETH deposit addresses due to SHIB today. Never happened before for any other ERC20 coin.”

CNN reported on two brothers in New York who woke up on April 17th and saw that the $7,900 they invested in Shiba Inu in December had grown to over $1,000,000, held in an Ethereum wallet verified by CNN. By early May, it was worth $9,000,000. One brother said, “This has happened so quickly it’s hard to even comprehend the things you can do with this money.”

Another investor bought $20 worth of SHIB on Uniswap on October 27th, 2020. Now, 6 ½ months later, it was worth $7 million. The investor was still “hodling” SHIB in a wallet that also held Chonky Boi Coin, Dobermann Token, Dogey-Inu Token, Gigachad Kishu, and Samoyed Token.

Charles Xue, a Chinese venture capitalist billionaire and SHIB holder, tweeted support for SHIB repeatedly. Chinese traders on Huobi helped propel SHIB to its ATH. Before the Huobi listing, SHIB’s maximum trading volume was “only” a little over $500 million in a single day, up from a low of less than $1 per day in January. On May 10th, SHIB’s market cap topped out at $14 billion, and an astonishing $21 billion worth of SHIB changed hands in a single 24-hour period.

I watched a dozen or more videos on YouTube selected from a search results page that literally scrolls down without end.

Among the thousands of videos, I stumbled upon an interview with a 27-year-old mailman who bought $1,700 worth of SHIB on January 27th, 2021. He hodled with “diamond hands” as he watched his “shib bag” moon to an eye-popping $60 million.

“Crypto Messiah,” aka “1GoonRich,” now tweets out to 55,000 followers as he journeys through newfound wealth and into new memecoins and more wealth.


All of this was before The Wall Street Journal reported on the $1 billion worth of SHIB donated by Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin to the India Covid Crypto Relief Fund, taken out of the $10 billion in SHIB in his possession. The donation brought together the disparate worlds of dog memecoins and emergency aid. It ranks among the largest single-day philanthropic contributions ever made.



Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal had established the fund two weeks earlier. He responded via Tweet:

“Thanks @VitalikButerin. One thing we have learnt from Ethereum and @VitalikButerin is importance of community. We will not do anything which hurts any community specially the retail community involved with $Shiba. We will act responsibly! Plz dont worry #SHIB holders.”

Buterin attached a note to his next blockchain transaction:

“I’ve decided to burn 90% of the remaining shiba tokens in my wallet. The remaining 10% will be sent to a (not yet decided) charity. [...] I’ve actually been impressed by how the dog token communities have treated the recent donations! Plenty of dog people have shown their generosity and their willingness to not just focus on their own profits but also be interested in making the world as a whole better. I support all who are earnestly doing that.”

I reflected on what cryptocurrency researcher Ben Caselin told Fortune magazine, “Rather than simply dismissing the hype outright, it’s important to realize that what we’re seeing is the mass movement of traders new to crypto moving into the [memecoin] space [...] SHIB coin is a memecoin that embraces that.”

“Hmmm,” I thought. “Shiba grew from a puppy token that learned to move through the DeFi wilderness with a growing pack.”

I joined the Shiba Inu Dogecoin Killer Telegram group. I followed Shib Informer on Twitter and sent a direct message of introduction. I joined the SHIBArmy on Reddit. I gathered page upon page of notes.

I finally located the raw pulse of Shiba, off the World Wide Web, below the surface, on the Shibatoken Discord server.

I looked around and thought, “This is the command center. I found mission control.”


I pitched a tent among the 80,000 Shib Army troops stationed at base camp.

I saw hundreds of people participating in fast-moving chat and image streams. Others talked and shared livestreams in group lounges and congregated in private group channels created on the fly. I scanned two dozen chat rooms populated by non-English speaking recruits from China, India, Japan, Korea, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Iceland, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

Discord lead mod (moderator) "Cat" patrolled the main chat streams. Two mutts on "shiba general" strayed into a pattern of disruptive comments and behaviors. Cat jumped in, pointed to the rulebook pinned to the top of the server, and was forced to "kick" one misbehaving dog.

Shytoshi, a Shiba core team member, disregarded the scuffle. Instead, he continued to engage in playful banter with his fans, then said, “I’ll be back later...actually have work to do,” and left.

“Eric,” another Shiba top dog, entered “leash general” for Q&A. Someone asked about Ryoshi’s unobtrusive and humble style of leadership. Eric responded, “The king is only good when he is the last person who wants the job. That’s Ryoshi.”

I entered Open Mic Lounge and joined the crowd inside. “Trophias,” Cat’s appointed second in command, was mod on duty. I took a seat at the back and quietly observed.

Open Mic Lounge offers a kaleidoscopic view into Shiba and its many moving parts. Trophias talked with the regulars, including Sleepy Neko, Squad, Virus 2k2k, Noxx, ShneakySquirrel, and Wolv. Conspiracy theorists and degens (members of the “defi degenerates” subculture) traded ideas while livestreaming technical analysis charts and video gameplay. An argument rose and receded. Trophias labored to wage peace and safeguard Open Mic Lounge as a fun place to hang out and learn.

The next day I surveyed the summit and began my ascent up the chain of command. I messaged Cat and revealed myself as a journalist looking to break the Shiba Inu story from the inside. Cat took a few days to due diligence me. I was green-lighted by the project’s inner circle. Cat then helped me set up interviews with those at the top, including himself.

The Interviews

I conducted wide-ranging interviews with Shiba’s old guard. Ryoshi, Shytoshi, Shib Informer, and Cat are iconic figures among the Shib Army. LC manages the project from behind the scenes.

RYOSHI – The Visionary

Ryoshi is Shiba Inu's founder. Ryoshi’s idiolect is an Asian-Pacific flavored and slightly broken English. Ryoshi is an independent cryptocurrency trader who did exceptionally well with Chainlink. However, Ryoshi’s past is otherwise shrouded in mystery.

Ryoshi told me about the genesis block of the experiment in decentralization:

Devcon 2019 in Osaka was a special time, many frens from all over the world meeting and exchanging ideas. One night I found myself in some strange bar talking to some peculiar guy. As the iced beers flowed, we talked about the core tenets of decentralization and community and what this actually means when we strip down all the manufactured narratives. Mainly because we talk about all these centralized kek coins like XRP and ADA, which actually have no real community but just employ the paid marketing engine to emulate community.”

Ryoshi and “fren” talked about how they might design an experiment in decentralized spontaneous community building. Could a token economy grow from a small amount of liquidity staked on a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange? Would a community form spontaneously around that economy to defend and grow it?

Ryoshi continued, “So we wanted to prove … well I wanted to prove, he already knew … if actually something could happen that was true and pure and organic. So we set the rules for Shiba. And then stepped back to see what happened.”

They chose a stylized Shiba Inu dog as the token mascot and named it “Dogecoin Killer.” Shiba Inu is the Japanese canine breed first used by Dogecoin for its mascot. Brand controversy might draw some added attention and even a few supporters. Ryoshi and friend would fully embrace their token’s memecoin window dressing.


They minted one quadrillion Shiba Inu tokens.

Ryoshi’s friend staked 10 ETH to a Uniswap LP (liquidity pool) and burned the keys, thus making it impossible ever to withdraw the ether. The friend deployed half the SHIB tokens into the LP, and trading began. Investors swapped ETH for SHIB and SHIB for ETH. New tokens came into private wallets as soon as other tokens left. People worldwide could now view and evaluate trading fees for SHIB paired with other tokens and trade back and forth with the click of a button.

Ryoshi’s friend transferred the remaining SHIB tokens to Ryoshi’s “burn wallet.” Ryoshi then sent the tokens to a public Ethereum wallet held by Vitalik Buterin. The tokens amounted to half the SHIB in circulation.

On August 2nd, 2020, Ryoshi posted a project announcement (update: the original post on Medium was removed) and expression of altruistic intent to Medium:


Ryoshi said about the transfer to Vitalik Buterin’s wallet, “This was not a ‘clean burn’ as a burn is a burn, but rather it was a way of indicating that Woofmeister, whether he knew or liked it or not, did in fact have control of a significant consensus in the Shiba META. As long as he didn’t rug us, Shiba would grow and survive.”

There was no website. Ryoshi and “fren told our frens.” They all traded ETH and SHIB on Uniswap, and the friends told more friends.

Ryoshi told me, “I spent zero personal money on Shiba. There are no team or admin or dev tokens or funds to pay anyone for anything. We have never paid for influence or an exchange listing. I bought my tokens on the free market like anyone else.”

Elon Musk’s repeated tweets in support of Dogecoin in February and again in May drew investors into Shiba Inu and other dog memecoins. As a result, SHIB’s market cap surged in February and then rocketed to unexpected heights in May.


I asked Ryoshi about Elon Musk. Ryoshi replied, “He is a holder. He knew what he was saying when he tweeted. Shib army. Doggos like Elon don’t do things accidentally, especially over and over.”

Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of the $5 billion blockchain investment fund Galaxy Digital, was the interviewee on the May 27th edition of the Binance podcast.


Ryoshi and I discussed the commentary noted below.

Novogratz on Shiba Inu and Dogecoin:

“I don’t want to discredit the Shiba Inu community or the Doge community or any of the meme-coin investing communities. They have a place, and they’re fun for people who’ve made money [however] they’re nihilistic, unsustainable.”

Novogratz on DeFi:

“It’s fighting for the little guy, it’s fighting for transparency, it’s fighting for a more egalitarian system [however] I put something out, and it’s not positive; if it’s the Cardano community or the XRP army, they attack with a meanness and an anger and vigor that isn’t healthy.”

Ryoshi’s reply:

“What Novo doesn’t understand, or does and plays his part, is that Shiba and Doge are no different really than XRP or ADA. All of them do nothing inherently. They have the ‘promise’ that they may do something at some point. The big difference is that centralized kek coins like XRP/ADA have huge shill marketing teams on the payroll actively paying off YouTubers, group leaders, tiktokers, and Facebook group owners. They also engage full-time marketing agencies which do nothing but post on 4chan and Reddit under the guise of organic growth.

“When you have something like Shiba, and why it’s so loved — we have seen the same exponential growth, but it is all organic. XRP and ADA attempt to achieve growth through marketing replication. What you see here is just community members doing what they want. Nobody tells them anything or gives them any coins. The developers pay out of their pockets for audits, contracts. Anything to further this project was paid for by them for the community.”


The word “decentralized” in the acronym “DeFi” references the amorphous economic structure of an enterprise that relies on smart contracts deployed and executed on a public blockchain. Ryoshi wants to expand that meaning to include whatever internal hierarchy might develop around a decentralized economy.

Ryoshi explained:

“The way that we currently understand blockchain best is some ‘computer nodes’ or miners such as BTC or ETH uses where they more or less take turns proposing ‘blocks’ which give a snapshot of the truth at that exact moment in time. Other nodes in the network will agree in consensus and it becomes fact as they move on to the next. The past then shapes the present as the present shapes the future.

"When we zoom out, we can understand that this blockchain concept is actually the concept of life. As human organisms, we are constantly ‘proposing blocks’ through our words, actions, or thoughts — some of those being accepted as truth by other participants in our circles.

"Specifically with Shiba, we are not a computer blockchain per se; we are just some Erc-20 that lives on the Ethereum blockchain. However, the ‘Shiba META’ is a chain in itself with endless points of entry and proposal, including community, tech development, social management, and of movements of the actual $SHIB, $LEASH, or future Shiba ecosystem tokens.”

I asked Ryoshi about the rumors that ShibaSwap is a grand ruse cobbled together with little more than smoke and mirrors.

Ryoshi said, “I love the conspiracy theories. The reality is that there is no secret plan, no mysterious hidden hand. It’s really a chaotic immaculate conception that nobody can control. This makes people uncomfortable. Shytoshi and Eric are the guys closest to the nuts and bolts at the moment. Everything is in private repo. Anything we put public is immediately copied and prostituted. Anybody with tech background can research public data and see we are moving. Some people think this is a joke... But actually this is a war on jokers."

SHYTOSHI – Project Manager


“Shytoshi Kusama” is Shiba’s pseudonymous “manager of everything.” He makes frequent appearances on Discord and stays for an hour or so. The first order of business is ShibaSwap updates and Q&A, followed by open-ended and often humorous banter about everything from astrology to philosophy to food to UFOs to music.

I asked Shytoshi, “What can you tell me about yourself?”

Shytoshi replied, “I work from California. However, my heart lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I hope to return there someday. I hold a university degree in Business Technology. I specialize in social media marketing and community management. I’ve worked at some Fortune 500 companies and a Silicon Valley unicorn. I speak multiple languages and code several programming languages.”

Shytoshi recounted joining the core team, "Eric and I joined Shiba in February when Paradox left. I work directly with Eric and have direct comms with Ryoshi and LC as needed. I am an unpaid volunteer, as is everyone else. We are a professional and fully decentralized interdisciplinary team working to provide the best solutions for the community.”

I asked in jest, “There’s an issue topping the list among shib bag holders and prospective investors — 'Wen swap?’”

“SOON™” is the retort rounding out this inside joke among the Shib Army.

I asked, “But seriously, Shytoshi, what can you say?”

Shytoshi replied, “The project is more complex than just a swap. ShibaSwap is a bit special in some areas. It’s not a simple Uni/Sushi fork. Some parts are from scratch. Our tokenomics needs were unmet by existing contracts. So we added our own little twists and elements. Certik is conducting a public audit. An ace Solidity developer from another project is on the core team now, managing the internal audit. xFUND is the oracle provider. We’ll continue to work with Unification on further endeavors.”

Shytoshi added, “Several OG community members joined the Shiba admins on user experience testing. The feedback was very positive while allowing us to optimize our UX.”

The Certik audit is now complete, pending minor ‘big picture’ details and public inform. Certik will not score ShibaSwap until the contracts deploy and the swap is live. After that, Certik will compare deployed code with the audited code and verify a match. The core team will use a 6/9 public multisig for emergencies.

I said, “A revolution in global finance is stirring on the horizon. Shib Army has mobilized the troops. The battalions stand ready.” Then I asked Shytoshi, “What can you say about the future?”

Shytoshi replied, “It’s time to feed the pack. We have a lot in the pipeline — the Doggy DAO, a governance token for community members to put forward proposals and vote on proposals, an NFT platform, and the GrrrList, a sort of whitelist of CEXs that stake their SHIB or LEASH and give rewards directly to the holders. Our Amazon Smile initiative offers the Shiba Inu Rescue Association continuing support. The Artist Incubator is now known as the Shiba Incubator. We have a future project on tap—Shibarium.”


I asked Shytoshi, “Will you leave entirely or work in the background like Ryoshi and LC?”

Shytoshi replied, “I don't know ... to be determined. I was brought on board to make the swap. I will help finish Ryoshi's vision and implement my own. After that, there will be no need for me. Our founding principles and structure will be fully realized."

LC – "Chief"


LC works in the background as Shiba’s business lead. He resides in the U.K., where he recently graduated with a university degree in Cyber Security.

LC admins and sponsors the Discord server. He admins Telegram and the official Twitter account and helps push updates to the website.

LC told me about the early days, “I joined the project a few days after Ryoshi made the first Medium post. I was part of the original group with Ryoshi and Paradox. I joined the Telegram group with Ryoshi and Paradox the day it launched. Paradox and I were the first people in Discord. We used it to collaborate on logo redesign and revamping the original website.”


LC continued, “Ryoshi, Paradox, and I never shilled price. We left that to the fans. We wanted to see price appreciation, of course. However, we primarily talked about price in relation to staking and farming for Leash and how Leash would rebase to Dogecoin. There was never once anything said about p&d or a rug pull. From the very earliest days all the way through my involvement now, I never once doubted that it’s an honest project built on the principles that Ryoshi outlined in the first post.”

LC bought 5 trillion Shiba Inu tokens and held the fourth largest shib bag for a while. Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin did not know it yet, but he was holding, by far, the largest shib bag.

LC recounted SHIB’s first price surge and dip:

“Ryoshi, Paradox, and I bought and sold SHIB on Uniswap, along with early fans of the project. There was a nice run-up in price after launch. Then we were forgotten for months. The one other volunteer admin with me on Discord and Telegram, and Ryoshi and Paradox, we all thought it had fizzled out. I stepped away for a couple of months. I sold my whole bag in January when trading volume went down to around ten thousand dollars a day. It was zero dollars some days. Everyone on the project sold their bag before the pump in February.”

LC’s bag would have been worth $180 million when Shiba Inu's market cap topped out on May 10th. A difficult realization, but such is the nature of cryptocurrencies and the experiences of those who dedicate themselves to a project.

LC rejoined the project in late March when Uniswap announced a launch date for its v3 AMM (version 3 automatic market maker).

LC recounted what media outlets later labeled The Musk Effect:

“I came back into the project when, to everyone’s surprise, things started heating up again. It started small and then grew massively when Elon Musk started tweeting about Dogecoin. People rejoined the Telegram group and Discord server, and newcomers arrived in droves. Paradox rolled out a fresh website. Binance reached out to Ryoshi, and so SHIB was listed on a major exchange. The swap was a pivot the devs made as staking grew wildly in popularity. ShibaSwap was born during the second wave of Elon Musk tweets. I was one of five people who alpha-tested ShibaSwap.”

I asked, “What do you see on the horizon?”

LC said, “Shytoshi is an amazing individual. The drive and energy the current devs bring to the project catalyzed a lot of positive things. What’s happening now is everything I hoped for from the start.”

SHIB INFORMER – Twitter

Shib Informer tweets out to 700,000 followers on Twitter.


“I never expected so many followers,” Shib Informer told me. “It’s my responsibility to provide the community accurate, vetted information. The team is secretive and very careful with what they release. DeFi is a frightfully competitive space — ‘loose lips sink ships.’ However, I have direct comms with Shytoshi and Eric and tweet whatever information they allow as soon as they give it to me.”


I asked Shib Informer about his recruitment into Shib Army.

Shib Informer replied:

“When I bought my bag of SHIB at the end of January, I looked closely at the community. I read Ryoshi’s post many times. I was impressed by the vision, though I didn’t see it as realistic at the time. I started my own Twitter account to support the project. People listened. I was suddenly tweeting all the time. I built a small website. Shytoshi offered me the role of tweeting the official account, and I accepted.

“I’ve worked in IT at top-tier banks and insurance companies, prominent hedge funds, and well-funded startups. So I know the financial industry well — its traditions and the merit it once held. But now, traditional banking is Blockbuster, and DeFi is Netflix. So I was looking for the right moment to move out. Shiba gave me that opportunity.”

Shib Informer recounted his experience with ShibaSwap closed beta testing:

“I received test tokens in testnet and LP tokens to import to ShibaSwap. I exchanged SHIB, LEASH, ETH, created LPs, performed Stake, Farming, and saw rewards. I found minor usability and cosmetic issues that the devs have since fixed. People will love the release version almost immediately. ShibaSwap could set a new standard for DeFi in terms of interface, usability, and features.”

I asked about the future. Shib Informer said, “I trust Shytoshi carrying Ryoshi’s vision. The core team is ambitious in a way that goes beyond money. Shiba leverages the power of collective decentralization into something stronger than a centralized team ever could create. I like the concept of Autopoiesis. That’s where a community acts as a living system, like a pond or a coral reef. It maintains and defends and replicates itself using its own parts and components — a never-ending process that’s self-sustaining, self-sovereign, and perpetual.”

Shib Informer added, “Our community is becoming stronger than some mainstream banks. DeFi is the future. We will be there, well-positioned. Watch us.”

CAT – Lead Mod


Cat is the lead moderator & head of staff on Discord. Cat resides in a city in England.

Cat told me about the determination required to mod Shibatoken Discord:

“I mod up to fourteen hours a day, depending on what's going on in my day. I'm hoping to have more than three screens going soon. I do a lot of multitasking. We had one thousand members in February. We’re at eighty thousand members now and growing.

“Fighting fud and scammers is exhausting for the devs, for me, for everyone. At this point, the objective of the fudders is to drain the team’s energy in a critical moment. We'll soon hopefully have around forty total staff across all of Discord, all volunteers, same as me.”

Cat told me, “I don’t like having money. I sold half my Shib and half my Leash for ten thousand pounds when the price peaked. I bought a tv and clothes, then gave half the money to a friend in need — immigration issues. Everyone talks about having a Lamborghini when they get rich. Me personally? I'd rather just have a mountain bike.”

Cat was among fifty testers on ShibaSwap closed beta, recounting, “I had a passkey and login. They sent test tokens, each type, to test each area. It didn’t matter how much or how little. We got to pull the site apart, see what happens when we punch every button at once, spam the connect wallet, etcetera. I’m terrible at testing and can barely work metamask. I tried to run some transacts. We had testing ETH, but I forgot it. I ended up clogging my metamask queue with dead transacts. Poof, testing over. I worked with Trophias on voicecom. Trophias did much better.”

Memecoin mania meets the future of finance?


People toss money into a memecoin thinking of it as a lotto ticket that does not expire. It’s fun to watch for a coin to “moon” as memecoin bulls push waves of hype-driven speculative fever. Even Vitalik Buterin admitted to buying $25,000 of Dogecoin purely for fun in 2016. He later sold half of it for $4 million and gave the proceeds to a charity.

Shiba Inu token lived in relative obscurity until Elon Musk repeatedly tweeted support for Dogecoin, thus granting "dog tokens" legitimacy.

When Musk flew to New York to host Saturday Night Live, an unbridled debate about the potential positive impact on price erupted among “shibes” (Dogecoin traders, holders, and fans). Musk appeared in a skit where he jokingly called Dogecoin a “hustle,” and the price dropped 30%.


Two days after Musk’s SNL appearance, Binance listed Shiba Inu, and the price of SHIB doubled. Sam Bankman-Fried, cofounder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, told Fortune magazine, “I’d be surprised if SHIB overtook DOGE. But anything can happen!”

Experienced crypto investors do not believe there is something significant about the underlying value of Dogecoin. There isn't. Instead, it's popular and fun to trade. However, they would not invest in Dogecoin if they were not making gains to later move into Bitcoin and Ethereum. They are. And, anyhow, "Elon Musk is on board!"

As noted in the original WoofPaper, Shiba Inu can “outpace the value of Dogecoin, exponentially, without ever crossing the $0.01 mark.” However, SHIB’s material superiority to DOGE arises from pairing supply cap with tokenomic alignment of stakeholder interests. As a result, SHIB holders can engage in wealth accumulative strategies and tactics. DOGE holders cannot.

Both SHIB and DOGE swing traders work to “scalp day trades” on centralized exchanges. They pick price support and resistance lines and trade within the “channel” formed by the two lines. SHIB traders move some of their gains to a private shib bag.


Dogecoin traders do not hold a private doge bag. There is no reason to accumulate an inflationary asset, especially one that can never enter the arena of decentralized finance and compete for a share of its mushrooming market cap.

In contrast to Doge, Shiba finds itself well-position for halcyon days as it enters the golden age of Defi.

Pat dogs. Stay humble.


Shiba Inu started as a memecoin with no underlying value or use case beyond an “experiment in decentralization.” However, the movement that has grown from it is emblematic of a new class of cryptocurrency traders that shy away from dismissing hype outright. As a result, there is a mass movement of crypto newbies and memecoin bulls into Shiba Inu, along with a few gimlet-eyed crypto veterans grounded in the fundamentals.

Ryoshi’s experiment in decentralization confirmed two hypotheses:

1. A global token economy can grow from nothing more than a small liquidity stake, smart contracts executing on a permissionless blockchain network, and a public expression of good intent.

2. A community can grow from within that economy with an instinctual resolve to defend it.

Quoting the WoofPaper:

When we move away from rigid financial structures and traditional mindsets, we are free to discover new ways to solve problems and relate to one another. In a world ruled by the commodification of time, community-run projects are a way to practice the radical acceptance of others. When success depends on the shared strength of the individuals who make up a collective, we are forced to shift our perspectives to align with those around us. The Shiba community is held together in thousands of interconnected moments. By studying those drawn to our project, we realize that true strength doesn’t come from one of us alone; it comes from when we work together.

Ryoshi told me, “Shiba is a movement of the people, of the plebs. It is something that each man or woman or doggo sees and can say — I AM SHIBA. We all have equal ownership and responsibility for this thing. When people come to me with expectations, Ryoshi do this, do that… I just ask them back to do it. We find often most people never have the chance to be empowered, and when you give them this empowerment with trust and also guidelines, they blossom like a flower and do things that no single doggo or centralized team could ever accomplish.”

Ryoshi left me with a message to relay: “Shiba means each doggo does what they want. That’s how we got this far. No need to change it. Me or who I am is not important. I am no one special. If you ever found out, it would be underwhelming anyways. I am just some messenger, don’t worry about me, rather focus on the song in your heart that you feel when you think about SHIBA.”


My journey into the deepest recesses and high command of a decentralized army had ended. What I discovered about memecoin mania, radically disruptive financial technology, and the experiment dubbed Shiba was transformative for a pleb like me. Moreover, it re-upped my faith that even some of the more unrestrained aspects of the DeFi revolution may well play out for the best over time.

The Shib Army of hodlers, fans, developers, mods, admins, trustees, shills, and degens march forward, with some fudders and shibes in tow.

For those unfamiliar with some of the preceding terms but brave enough to swallow the red pill, I point you to the Shibatoken Discord. Say “howdy” to Bioluminescent Government Agents and the Bots. But tread lightly. You may unexpectedly find yourself a Shib Army inductee, as my friend in Massachusetts and myself are now.

—Article by Jay Derenthal

Update: Since authoring this story, my journey has continued. I now work on the Shiba Inu project.