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Meme Coins Going Legit Is the Worst Thing for Meme Coins

Meme Coins Going Legit Is the Worst Thing for Meme Coins

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When Elon Musk semi-ironically endorsed dogecoin during the last bull run, most people saw it as a joke: a high-profile business guy playing with the funny money. Nobody is laughing anymore. These days, there are real institutions — from the Avalanche Foundation to Franklin Templeton — willing to say that meme coins are a legitimate use of blockchain tech.

This is an excerpt from The Node newsletter, a daily roundup of the most pivotal crypto news on CoinDesk and beyond. You can subscribe to get the full newsletter here.

On Solana, there’s dogwifhat {{WIF}}, sillycat (SILLYCAT) and popcat (POPCAT). On Ethereum, {{DOGE}} remains top dog. Then there’s the emerging field of “PoliFi,” short for political finance, with its roster of coins like MAGA (TRUMP), jeo boden (BODEN) and elizabath whoren (WHOREN).

These would-be jokes have gained virality in the past year “due to their unique nature,” the Franklin Templeton Digital Assets team wrote in a recent report. A rally that kicked off in late 2023 has only picked up steam since the release of U.S. spotbitcoin exchangetraded funds (ETFs), the financial giant noted.

In some sense, meme coins are reaching escape velocity. The Avalanche Foundation launched a “Culture Catalyst” program that has started buying up meme coins in a bid to support what it believes to be “culturally important” Web3 projects. While Franklin Templeton (which for a while sported bitcoiner’s laser eyes on Twitter) attributes growing use of Ethereum and Solana in part to these token’s “opportunities to make quick profits.”

See also: The Memecoin Grift and How It Threatens Ethereum Culture | Opinion

And yet, meme coin projects are also seemingly doing everything in their power to self-destruct. While the conventional wisdom about meme coins is that they have “no underlying value,” more and more meme coin creators are investing time and money into making their projects stand out. It’s a risky trade.

For instance, shiba inu {{SHIB}}, the Ethereum-based competitor to the first and likely most well-known meme coin dogecoin, is building out an entire tech ecosystem including its own scaling layer called Shibarium, decentralized exchange ShibaSwap, Shiboshis NFTs and even a a digital identity initiative and project incubator.

Dogwifhat (WIF), a…

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