The Shiba Inu token was launched in 2020 by an anonymous person (or group) under the pseudonym Ryoshi. It’s based on (and also named after) the Japanese dog breed that’s featured in the Doge meme that inspired Dogecoin, which is considered the first meme coin. Shiba Inu was, in fact, launched as a competitor to Dogecoin. 

To differentiate itself from other meme coins and gain a strong foothold in the crypto world, the developers of Shiba Inu gave the primary founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, fifty per cent of all Shiba Inu tokens in circulation. Rumours that Vitalik owned and held SHIB soon surfaced on social media. This hype drove investors to buy Shiba Inu coins, causing a surge in value. In May of 2021, Vitalik donated 50 trillion SHIB (worth about AUD$ 9.4 billion at the time) to the India Covid Relief Fund and then burned a major portion of the remaining SHIB tokens he owned. This caused the Shiba Inu coin price to plummet.

The value of SHIB remained constant for a while until October 2021, when Elon Musk tweeted a picture of his new Shiba Inu puppy. Rumours that Elon Musk backed Shiba Inu went viral, and this caused the value of the token to skyrocket to it’s all-time high in around three weeks. The value gradually began dropping and eventually reached its pre-tweet value in about eight months.