Over the long run, no asset class has been able to hold a candle to the stock market. But when the lens is significantly narrowed, it's cryptocurrencies that have lapped the stock market many times over.
Since the March 2020 bottom, the benchmark S&P 500 has increased by roughly 85%. While impressive, it's peanuts compared to the more than $1.1 trillion gain in aggregate market value by digital currencies over the past 25 months. This equates to an 819% increase in crypto market value in just over two years.
As you might have guessed, Bitcoin and Ethereum have received a lot of credit for this nominal market value increase. That's because they account for more than 63% of the close to $1.3 trillion in aggregate digital currency value.
However, it's not these "blue-chips" that have lured new investors into the crypto arena over the past two years. That honor goes to meme coin Shiba Inu (SHIB -0.54%).
Shiba Inu produced life-altering returns in 2021
In a typical year, the top-performing stock among thousands of publicly listed securities is going to rise by perhaps 2,000%. What Shiba Inu did last year makes a 2,000% gain look like a good day at the office.
When 2021 began, SHIB tokens could be purchased for a microscopic $0.000000000073. If you're wondering why there are so many zeroes, consider that Shiba Inu had a 1 quadrillion circulating supply when it debuted in August 2020. But less than 10 months later, on Oct. 27, those same tokens would exchange hands at an all-time intra-day high of $0.00008841. In eliminating six zeroes after its decimal point, Shiba Inu gained a virtually unfathomable 121,000,000%. Put another way, a $1 investment at the stroke of midnight in 2021 would have made you a millionaire less than 10 months later.
Even taking into account the pullback Shiba Inu experienced to end the year, SHIB tokens finished higher by approximately 46,000,000%. Life-altering gains of this magnitude are going to lure new investors into the crypto space.
As I've previously pointed out, crypto market dynamics played a key role in SHIB's historic gain. While it's relatively easy for skeptics to short-sell a stock or perhaps purchase a derivative, such as a put option, those same tools don't always exist in the crypto arena. Derivatives aren't an option outside of Bitcoin, and some crypto exchanges don't even allow short-selling. This allowed a bit of tulip-mania to take shape, with Shiba Inu being a prime beneficiary.
SHIB could lose most of its value by the end of the decade
However, the future doesn't look nearly as rosy for Shiba Inu, at least according to a new survey.
Recently, Finder polled three dozen fintech specialists to get their views on where they believe SHIB will end the year in 2022, 2025, and 2030, and get their take on what might be the leading catalyst for the popular coin in the near term. If you're a SHIB holder or someone interested in investing at these levels, you're probably not going to be pleased with the responses.
According to the consensus of 10 of the 36 polled fintech specialists, SHIB is on pace to end 2022 at $0.000018750, representing about an 8% decline from the $0.0000203 token price used by Finder, as of May 5, 2022. But the target prices for 2025 and 2030 are considerably lower. Based on a consensus of $0.0000025 for 2025 and $0.000000325 for 2030, the panel expects Shiba Inu to lose 80% by mid-decade and 97% of its value by the end of the decade.
Mind you, some of those surveyed believe Shiba Inu will be completely worthless by 2030. This includes Matt Harry, the head of funds for the DigitalX asset management company, and Dimitrios Salampasis, a fintech innovation and entrepreneurship lecturer at the Swinburne University of Technology.
Of the 30 fintech specialists who offered their take on whether Shiba Inu was a "buy," "sell," or "hodl" (a term that means "hold" among the crypto community), just one stated it was a buy. Seven believed it was worth holding, and 22 labeled it as a sell.
One final note: When 17 respondents were asked what factors will affect Shiba Inu's price in 2022, 82% of them labeled "meme coin hype" as likeliest. By comparison, just one of the respondents believed coin burn (6%) or businesses accepting SHIB for payment (6%) would affect its token price this year.
Shiba Inu is facing multiple headwinds it's unlikely to overcome
Although the projected 97% decline in SHIB over the next eight years is the eye-catcher of Finder's "Cryptocurrency Price Prediction Report," it's the data on what will affect Shiba Inu's value in 2022 that's arguably most telling.
One of the biggest issues with Shiba Inu is that it lacks a competitive edge and differentiation. At its core, SHIB is nothing more than an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum blockchain. This is a fancy way of saying it's simply a payment coin. There's nothing special or unique about payment coins. Hundreds or thousands of digital tokens could effectively be used to pay merchants, if merchants would be willing to accept them. While other projects are working on decentralized applications and furthering smart contract capability, Shiba Inu is likely never going to escape the fact that it's just a simple and non-differentiated payment coin.
What's more, it's not even a particularly popular or useful payment coin. According to online business directory Cryptwerk, just 659 mostly obscure merchants worldwide accept SHIB as a form of payment -- and 124 of these "merchants" are crypto services, such as wallets and spot exchanges. There are over 500 million entrepreneurs worldwide, and the reality is that a little over 500 actual retail merchants accept Shiba Inu as payment. This is probably why just one of 17 respondents believed merchants accepting SHIB as payment would be a catalyst in 2022.
Payment coins and protocol tokens on payment networks that produce life-altering gains have also, historically, been met with fierce selling pressure following their respective peaks. With the exception of Bitcoin, virtually every payment coin and protocol token that gained in excess of 20,000% in a short time frame gave back 93% to 99%+ of their value in the 26 months after peaking. Shiba Inu rose 121,000,000% in under 10 months. Given its lack of utility, competitive edge, and differentiation, I can only imagine its reversion will be equally epic.