For more than a century, the stock market has sat atop the investment pedestal. Although the broad-based S&P 500 doesn't top bonds, gold, or housing every year, it's delivered the highest average annual return over the very long run.

But over the past couple of years, cryptocurrencies have, as a whole, left the stock market eating their dust. Since the pandemic low for the stock market in March 2020, the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies has grown 19-fold to about $2.64 trillion, as of Nov. 17. Although crypto's "Big Two," Bitcoin (BTC 4.55%) and Ethereum (ETH 2.67%), have played a big role in this nominal value increase, no digital currency has turned heads over this period quite like meme coin Shiba Inu (SHIB 3.87%).

A Shiba Inu lying down on a couch.

Shiba Inu-inspired coins have been especially popular in 2021. Image source: Getty Images.

Here's how Shiba Inu investors fetched life-altering gains

Shiba Inu made its trading debut on Aug. 1, 2020 and has been nothing short of a rocket ship ever since. Last month, SHIB tokens hit an all-time high of $0.00008841 per token. Nominally, this might not sound like much, but it represented a gain of more than 17,300,000% since its debut. As of Nov. 17, SHIB was up close to 10,000,000% since Aug. 1, 2020.

If you're asking yourself how such mammoth returns are possible in a short time frame, the following catalysts might help explain this monster move.

First, we've clearly witnessed the fear of missing out (FOMO) coming into play. With investors having witnessed Bitcoin gallop to an 8,000,000,000% gain (that's 8 billion percent) in 11 years and four months, they're constantly looking for the next coin that'll head to the moon. Considering that life-altering gains are possible in the crypto arena, investors have been more than willing to chase highfliers without regard to recent returns.

To build on this point, Shiba Inu's community has done a top-notch job of keeping SHIB on the radar of a variety of social media platforms. Shiba Inu is one of the most searched cryptocurrencies in the United States.

A person holding a smartphone that's displaying a volatile crypto chart with buy and sell buttons above it.

Image source: Getty Images.

As for something a bit more tangible, Shiba Inu has benefited from more cryptocurrency exchanges listing SHIB for trading. To keep with the theme here, more listings equate to better liquidity, increased awareness, and a larger community. Growing the Shiba Inu community has, thus far, been critical to pushing SHIB tokens higher.

The July 2021 launch of decentralized exchange ShibaSwap has played a role, too. ShibaSwap is helping to boost liquidity and, more importantly, allows for staking. Aside from earning passive income with staking, hodlers will be encouraged to hold their SHIB for longer periods of time.

Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk has done his part in Shiba Inu's moonshot as well. The world's richest person adopted a Shiba Inu-breed dog this summer and had been known to tweet Shiba Inu-themed memes prior to this adoption. Any time Musk makes even the vaguest reference to Shiba Inus on Twitter, it's taken as a sign to pile into SHIB.

Finally, there's something of a buy bias built in the crypto market that SHIB has benefited from. With few avenues to short-sell lesser-known or lesser-traded digital currencies, the crypto market has been able to thrive.

A businessperson pressing the sell button on a digital screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Shiba Inu is headed for the doghouse

Yet in spite of this laundry list of catalysts that have, thus far, sent Shiba Inu to the moon, there's an equally long list of valid reasons investors should take their money and not look back. Here are seven reasons to sell Shiba Inu right now.

1. Community is not a measure of success

To begin with, people are putting too much faith in the idea of community-building. While it's generally viewed as a positive to grow the number of SHIB hodlers, community takes a back seat to actual utility. What I'm seeing on social media is a community focused on hyping SHIB's token price and paying little if any attention to what the long-term use case might exist. In other words, "community" as a catalyst equates to nothing more than self-interest-based hype.

2. There's virtually no real-world utility

That leads to the next valid reason to sell Shiba Inu coin: There's virtually no real-world use case. According to online business directory Cryptwerk, only 137 merchants worldwide currently accept SHIB tokens as a form of payment. Even with Shiba Inu landing its first major merchant this month, the use case represents a minute fraction of the more than 500 million entrepreneurs worldwide. Outside of a cryptocurrency exchange, there's simply no use for SHIB.

3. It features a particularly short holding period

Another chief concern that should send hodlers running for the exit is the median hold time for SHIB tokens. Based on data from leading cryptocurrency exchange and ecosystem Coinbase Global, the typical median hold time for SHIB is a laughably low 20 days. Although this figure has been rising since the launch of ShibaSwap, it still implies that a lot of "investors" are nothing more than momentum chasers, if not day-traders. Sentiment can shift on a dime in the cryptocurrency space, and it's evident that most Shiba Inu hodlers aren't planning to be here for the long haul.

A person holding a glowing golden lock that's surrounded by latticework representing blockchain nodes.

Image source: Getty Images.

4. It lacks any desirable differentiation

Arguably the most damning thing about Shiba Inu is its lack of a competitive edge and differentiation. Shiba Inu is an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum blockchain. This means payments with SHIB are potentially constrained by congestion on Ethereum's network. It also means Shiba Inu users are paying substantially higher fees when making transfers or purchases than with a number of other popular coins.

There's simply nothing about Shiba Inu that stands out and would coerce businesses to say, "We have to accept this token!"

5. There are no tie-ins with Elon Musk

A fifth valid reason to sell Shiba Inu coin is that the buzz surrounding Elon Musk's tweets has absolutely no tangible connection to SHIB or the community.

Elon Musk holds three cryptocurrencies in his portfolio: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, the direct rival to Shiba Inu, and a coin inspired by the Japanese Shiba Inu dog breed. Whether or not Musk tweets about his own Shiba Inu or posts a meme containing Shiba Inus, he's not making reference to SHIB and is certainly not involved in its development.

6. The Robinhood catalyst isn't panning out

Yet another reason to consider heading for the exit is Shiba Inu's Robinhood (HOOD 2.80%) listing failing to come to fruition. Even though a petition to list SHIB on the popular online trading platform has garnered more than 500,000 signatures, Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev noted during the company's third-quarter conference call that:

The regulatory environment in terms of new coins and lending products and crypto is uncertain and evolving. And we're having to... carefully evaluate whether we can add new coins in a way that's safe for customers and in line with regulatory requirements.

Translation: SHIB may not find its way onto Robinhood anytime soon.

7. History is not SHIB's friend

Last, but not least, history is pretty clear that a massive correction awaits Shiba Inu. When I examined other payment coins that had delivered five- and six-digit percentage gains over a relatively short time frame, I found that they all eventually lost between 93% and 99% of their value within 26 months (or less) of hitting their peak. Though SHIB has shed almost half its value since hitting its high on Oct. 27, history would suggest there's a lot of downside yet to come.