Shytoshi Kusama and the SHIB community Proved that ‘Meme Coins’ Are No Joke

With the launch of Shibarium this year, Shytoshi Kusama and the SHIB community have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in DeFi and Web3.
Shib/Shytoshi Kusama (Mason Webb/CoinDesk)
Shib/Shytoshi Kusama (Mason Webb/CoinDesk)
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future

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With crypto shaken to its core from the recent bear market, the phrase ‘BUIDL’ has become an increasingly popular industry rallying cry, encouraging developers and entrepreneurs to weather the storm and create meaningful products for the next bull run.

One community that has embraced this call to action is the Shiba Inu (SHIB) project, a Dogecoin (DOGE) competitor created in August 2020 by the pseudonymous Ryoshi, that is now commanded by also-pseudonymous Lead Developer Shytoshi Kusama.

This profile is part of CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2023. For the full list, click here.

“This year is focused on creating,” Kusama wrote to CoinDesk. “Devs from around the world are quietly building to ensure Shib is solidified amongst other giants in the space.”

SHIB Ecosystem ‘Zoomed Out’/Shiba Inu Ecosystem blog post
SHIB Ecosystem ‘Zoomed Out’/Shiba Inu Ecosystem blog post

Kusama has led the SHIB developers to take on his vision of creating “a perpetual, decentralized, “network state” with a focus on dominating the DeFi (decentralized finance) faction of the crypto industry, they wrote. The team launched Shibarium, an Ethereum layer-2 blockchain, in August, expanding the SHIB token’s use cases from an object of speculation to a cost-effective means of settlement for DeFi applications built on the network.

Shibarium, which also has ambitions in the realms of metaverse and gaming, was highly anticipated and saw over 20 million transactions on the “Puppynet” testnet, but also faced bridging challenges during the initial mainnet launch, sending the price of Shiba Inu token down some 9%.

Shytoshi and the vast network of developers also expanded Shiba Inu’s presence from the digital world to the physical this year with “Shibacals.” Kusama wrote in a blog post that using NFC chips in physical products to authenticate collectible items on the Shibarium blockchain could expand the network’s use cases to “creators, say people who sell on ETSY or have their own website for creating products, can simply add a Shibacal NFC tag and decide how they want to use this tag for their creations.” Currently, the SHIB community has created its own merchandise using the Shibacals authentication tools.

Shibacals NFC Tags/Shiba Inu Ecosystem blog post
Shibacals NFC Tags/Shiba Inu Ecosystem blog post

It doesn’t stop there. Other noteworthy advancements from this year include a November announcement that the Manny Pacquiao Foundation, a nonprofit organization led by the World Boxing Council champion, will utilize the Shibarium blockchain for fundraising and other operation needs. In 2023, it was also revealed that blockchain and AI project Bad Idea AI would be a partner of Shiba Inu, which Shytoshi Kusama alluded to playing a pivotal role in the next phase of SHIB.

Where other projects may have lost momentum or interest during crypto winter, Kusama told CoinDesk SHIB has maintained its trajectory by embracing “a community first mindset in all we do.” In November, it launched The Shib magazine, which the Lead Developer wrote functions as “a platform to highlight community involvement.”

“Now that things are beginning to thaw, I look forward to completing our opaque roadmap, and showing the world that decentralization is the true key to onboarding the next billion users into a grown-up version of Web3,” Shytoski Kusama told us.

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