Shiba Inu (SHIB -2.36%) has drawn loads of attention -- and investment -- in 2021. You've probably seen photos of its mascot -- the Shiba Inu dog -- popping up all over social media. But this cryptocurrency is more than just a dog with a cute face. It's managed to attract more than one million investors since its start in August of last year.
This crypto player also has soared a mind-boggling 49,000,000% this year. All of that sounds positive. But Shiba Inu isn't the only game in the cryptocurrency town. In fact, some cryptocurrencies actually are games. And they're playing to win. I'm thinking of metaverse cryptocurrency The Sandbox (SAND -7.71%). It's heading for an 18,500% gain this year. Now the question is: Is The Sandbox on the right path to beat this year's superstar Shiba Inu in 2022? Let's find out.
The Shib Army
First, a bit of background on both crypto players. Shiba Inu's strong community -- known as the "Shib Army" -- pushed it to the forefront. Shiba Inu isn't a blockchain itself. It's built on the Ethereum blockchain and offers investors three types of tokens: Shiba Inu for trading or making payments, Leash for staking rewards, and Bone for voting on proposals.
The Sandbox also is built on the Ethereum blockchain. But it's not a currency for use in the real world like Shiba Inu. Instead, The Sandbox is a virtual world -- and the Sand token is used for transactions there. What's this virtual world all about? It's a game where users can buy and sell property and create their own assets that they later can sell. So, it's called a "play-to-earn" game.
The Sandbox drew a lot of attention in recent times for two reasons. First, celebrity Snoop Dogg moved in. He's building a mansion in this virtual world -- and users can sign up now for the rapper's special events in The Sandbox. And second, a player spent nearly a half a million dollars to buy virtual land next to Snoop Dogg's.
Gamers have been playing in The Sandbox for years. But this version on the blockchain is in its early stages. There's a lot more to come, according to the official roadmap. For example, the launch of virtual concerts and the debut of a mobile version of The Sandbox. Both are set for next year.
Entirely dependent on gaming
Now let's talk about the weak points of Shiba Inu and The Sandbox. For Shiba Inu, the problem is it doesn't offer anything that sets it apart from the thousands of other cryptocurrencies out there -- other than its dedicated fan base. As for The Sandbox, it is entirely dependent on the world of gaming. You can't use Sand tokens to make payments in the real world.
So, getting back to our original question. Could The Sandbox beat Shiba Inu next year? It's very possible. Mainly because The Sandbox has several catalysts ahead according to its roadmap. The game is just starting -- so it's likely to attract more users and investors. Of course, it's impossible to say if gains will be lasting. There is a lot of competition in gaming so time will tell if The Sandbox truly takes off.
Another reason I think The Sandbox could outpace Shiba Inu next year has to do with my outlook for Shiba Inu. I'm not convinced Shiba Inu will continue to soar. Considering the weakness I mention above, it's hard to imagine what could justify more massive increases. So it may not be too tough to beat Shiba Inu's performance.
Things move quickly in the crypto world. And anything can happen. But The Sandbox's upcoming developments offer it fuel that could power it past this year's crypto superstar.