Defined as interconnected virtual worlds, the metaverse concept is taking the cryptocurrency world by storm. And Shiba Inu (SHIB 6.32%) is jumping into the fray with a metaverse project of its own. But despite the hype, investors need to be aware of some potentially problematic development decisions. Let's dig deeper.
1. Shiberse doesn't seem to use SHIB token
Analysts at Bloomberg intelligence expect the metaverse market to be worth $800 billion by 2024. And blockchain technology is well suited to benefit from this trend. Regular tokens double as in-game currencies, while non-fungible tokens (NFTs) (which are unique tokens stored on the blockchain) serve as digital proofs of ownership. Together these technologies lay the foundation for a virtual economy.
In January, Shiba Inu's developers announced plans to tap into this opportunity through a platform called "Shiberse," billed as an "immersive experience" for the metaverse space. And in February, they announced Shiba Lands, which will be virtual real estate inside this ecosystem. The anonymous developers (known only by pseudonyms like Ryoshi and Shytoshi) plan to start auctioning off "Lands," they say, "really soon." But there are some things Shiba Inu investors should consider.
According to the announcement, "Lands" will not be purchasable with SHIB tokens, so the auctions probably won't have any fundamental impact on SHIB's price. Instead, they will require a lesser-known coin called Doge Killer (LEASH), which has a market cap of just $122 million. Further, the developers say they are working on an anti-dumping system to stop investors from selling their LEASH, an arrangement that should be of concern to potential investors.
2. Shiberse has some worrying features
Anti-dumping systems restrict investors from selling a cryptocurrency after purchasing it, which can lead to lead to explosive price appreciation by reducing selling pressure. The concern is that anti-dumping restrictions have been used in cryptothefts, where large token holders drive up the price of a thinly traded cryptocurrency only to sell it at the top, leaving everyone else holding the bag.
In November, the developers of the Squid Game Token used an anti-dumping mechanism to help them steal $3.4 million worth of funds from investors. This may not be the intention of the developers, but unless backstops are built in, LEASH's programming could be vulnerable.
LEASH ownership is also alarmingly centralized, with 10 wallets holding about 56% of the roughly 108,000 coins in circulation, according to data from coinmarketcap.com. This level of concentration makes coordinated misbehavior easier. It's also unclear why Shiba Inu's developers have chosen to conduct virtual "Lands" sales with such a risky and thinly traded asset instead of its more liquid and mature counterpart, SHIB.
Shiberse looks like unwelcome news for SHIB holders
The Shiba Inu metaverse project, Shiberse, should give investors pause. Virtual real estate will be sold for LEASH, not SHIB tokens, which means the project may have limited fundamental benefits for SHIB holders. And it's unclear why the developers plan to implement an anti-dumping system that could prevent users from selling their LEASH when they want to.
There is no evidence that Shiba Inu's team would engage in any any kind of misbehavior. But some of the ingredients that have facilitated wrongdoing do seem to be there. Investors should avoid both SHIB and LEASH until more information becomes available about the developers' long-term strategy and investor protections are in place.