It feels a little like the heady days of the ICO boom of 2017/18 again with the rise of meme tokens, which have captured crypto investor’s attention following DogeCoin’s 14,000% rise in value in the first six months of 2021. Back in the ICO boom scores of crypto projects backed by little more than whitepapers and a compelling story pulled in newbie investors keen to benefit from the spectacular gains on offer. When the ICO market collapsed, and the lack of any real utility for most of these tokens became clear, as well as leaving people out of pocket it also left a question mark over the long-term value of crypto ventures.
The rise of fun-themed meme coins has been a surprise not only in terms of the growth of their collective market value, but also their utility. The leading meme coin DogeCoin was originally launched as a joke by its co-founders in 2013 had reached a market cap of over $65 billion in May. Maybe the clue to its later success is in its origination, as a fork of Lucky Coin, itself a fork of Litecoin, which was a fork of Bitcoin! While it’s original creators never intended it to become so popular, or to rise in value to such stratospheric levels, it’s clearly ‘taken on a life of its own’ to coin a phrase. Now there’s a new twist in the Dogecoin’s tale, with the backing of celebrities like Tesla’s Elon Musk and Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, it’s now being used for payment. So how seriously should we take this latest chapter in the development of meme coins, as a form of payment?