What happened

Today's price action in the broader cryptocurrency market isn't very surprising. In aggregate, the value of all digital tokens has declined by 1% over the past 24 hours, as of 12:45 p.m. ET. However, over the same time frame, meme token Shiba Inu (SHIB -7.76%) has appreciated around 5.5%. For speculators and those playing momentum, this move is quite surprising.

Today's increase appears to be tied to the expected launch of the Shibarium Public beta later this week. Shibarium is a Layer 2 solution aimed at providing improved scalability as well as more affordable and cheaper transactions for Shiba Inu owners.

So what

It's worth noting that this beta launch appears to be only for testing purposes, meaning commercial transactions might not happen for a while yet. According to a company Twitter post, more data on how users can access the beta website will be shared in the coming days. Thus, there's little detail on what exactly users can expect.

That said, this scalable network is currently viewed as a big deal for Shiba Inu's ability to create real utility among its community. In order for Shiba Inu to hold sustainable value, such utility is likely a necessary prerequisite, at least for most investors.

Now what

Shiba Inu's value, outside of its popularized status as a hype-driven meme token, is hard to quantify. In order for serious investors to get involved with this project, and for this token to move onto the radar of any institutional investor, developers will need to make significant progress in terms of the technological utility of this network.

The Shibarium launch should be an intriguing catalyst for this token -- and the entire sector -- this week. I'll be keeping my eye on how Shiba Inu performs following this debut.

For investors looking to take a long position on a speculative risk asset with some clear near-term momentum, the excitement around the potential for Shiba Inu to create a viable ecosystem of tokens could be a catalyst worth checking out. While this project still falls well outside my purview, it's certainly entertaining to watch.