What is Shiba Inu coin? Price, how to buy, news and more

what is Shiba Inu Coin
(Image credit: Shibatoken.com)
Editor's note

The information on this page should not be used as investment advice. Tom's Guide can not tell you whether you should invest in a particular cryptocurrency, or in the market as a whole. Crypto prices can go down as well as up and you could get back less than you put in.

It's no surprise that many people might be asking 'What is Shiba Inu coin?' right now — the relatively new cryptocurrency has enjoyed such rapid growth over the past week that it's gaining attention everywhere.

And if it looks familiar, that's not much of a surprise either: it uses the same mascot as Dogecoin, the now famous cryptocurrency that started life in 2013 as a bit of a joke. 

Indeed, Shiba Inu coin has much in common with Doge. Not only do both take their name and likeness from a meme that features a Japanese Shiba Inu dog, but Shiba Inu coin is in fact a new version of Dogecoin — but one which the founders say is improved over the original.

Here's everything you need to know about Shiba Inu coin.

What is Shiba Inu Coin?

Shiba Inu launched in August of 2020, but it's only recently enjoyed enormous growth. 

That's thanks in part to the fluctuations in Dogecoin in the past few days, especially following Elon Musk's appearance on Saturday Night Live, which had been preceded by a hype train of epic proportions. Some crypto fans had expected to see Dogecoin rocket in value, possibly even making it past the $1 barrier. Instead, it crashed from around $0.70 to $0.42 following Musk's TV appearance and has yet to rebound by much. Shiba Inu, in contrast, has rocketed.

In the Shiba Inu coin's woofpaper (a whitepaper, with a doge theme) the founders describe it as a potential Dogecoin killer because it can "outpace the value of Dogecoin, exponentially, without ever crossing the $0.01 value." Currently, Shiba Inu coin is worth significantly less than that. 

Sometimes called a Shiba Token, the Shiba Inu coin is described as a "joke" by some. That might seem uncharitable, and the reality is that joke or not, it has the potential to grow in value, especially if people continue to pour money into it hoping for a big return. 

Shiba Inu coin is listed with coin exchanges under the symbol SHIB. The blockchain for Shiba Inu is the Ethereum Network, which is a well-established place for cryptocurrency and was selected by the creators for its stability and features. 

What is the current price of Shuba Inu coin?

Shiba Inu experienced stratospheric growth last week. As recently as last Monday (May 10), it was valued at a high of $0.000039, but it's since dropped back sharply and is currently worth about $0.000016.

That might not sound like much — and indeed, it isn't — but it represents growth of 1,500% in just a few weeks, and that's enough to cause people to sit up and take notice.

Where can I buy Shiba Inu coin?

Binance has just announced that it will list the currency for sale. This is important, as smaller exchanges may not have the same level of consumer trust and confidence of larger outlets. Binance is home to a number of smaller cryptocurrencies that services such as Coinbase don't currently include — Dogecoin among them. 

Binance does warn that Shiba Inu is a more volatile coin than many, and cautions anyone interested in getting involved that they may see significant changes in the coin's value. 

You'll also be able to buy Shiba Inu on Coin Kong, a platform which operates in Euro, giving access to those in the EU without converting money to dollars. 

What is ShibaSwap?

ShibaSwap is the Shiba Inu project's own decentralized exchange cryptocurrency, where you can trade other crypto for Shiba Inu coin, or vice-versa. The backers of the coin describe it as a "safe place to trade your valuable crypto while remaining decentralized." 

The service has yet to launch, and anyone considering using it should research its suitability first. If you're using existing coins to buy Shiba Inu then you may be at risk of losing money. 

The coin's official site might talk a good game, but it's also heavy on jargon and may prove inaccessible to the casual reader. 

What makes Shiba Inu coin different?

There are hopes that certain decisions taken by Shiba Inu's creators might help it become a usable currency. Among the moves they made was giving away half of the coins available, something they describe as "burning." 

This isn't a traditional cryptocurrency burn, though. Normally, the burnt coins would be unavailable — but Shiba Inu's 50% went to one wallet, that of Vitalik Buterin, a founder of Ethereum. This strange decision was supposedly to prevent large holdings by other investors that could impact its usability for transactions. 

Vitalik Buterin already owns 333,000 Ethereum, which is worth around $1.4 billion. His holding in Shiba Inu is now worth more than $15 billion.

There are two other wallets holding around 10% between them. 

Why this dog? What is it with the internet and Shiba Inu?

Originally a hunting dog used for small game, the Shiba Inu is one of Japan's native breeds. The Japanese describe the breed as "spirited" and the internet reports that they can be somewhat challenging to train. Dogtime.com says "Shiba Inu will come when he feels like it — or not. He's been described as stubborn, but freethinking is probably a more positive way to characterize him." 

They're basically the cats of the dog world, which explains why the internet has taken to them so spectacularly. 

The meme "Doge" was created around a photo of a dog called Kabosu, who lives in Japan with Atsuko Sato. Kabosu was in one photo looking with suspicion at the camera with her paws crossed. The fantastic photo was soon festooned with comic sans text, which often follows a three-expression pattern using broken English. "Much amusement, very witty, wow" is a classic arrangement of the meme. 

Like many memes, it worked instantly and captured the imagination of internet users who spread it far and wide. 

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited as ever about how tech can make your life better. Ian is the editor of T3.com but has also regularly contributed to Tom's Guide.