Shiba Inu’s 300% Price Rise Is a Crypto Version of ‘Squid Game’

This article is excerpted from Tom Yeung’s Moonshot Investor newsletter and was originally published as “3 Meme Coins Riding Elon Musk Tweets Higher. Welcome to Crypto’s ‘Squid Game’.” To make sure you don’t miss any of Tom’s potential 100x picks, subscribe to his mailing list here.

Crypto Is Turning Into a Squid Game

In Netflix’s (NASDAQ:NFLXSquid Game, hundreds of contestants compete in a life-or-death version of popular children’s games. Winners are promised a massive cash prize, while losers are… well… quite literally eliminated.

A person holds a TV remote in front of a screen showing the landing page for the Netflix (NFLX) series Squid Game.

Source: Rokas Tenys /

I won’t spoil the plot for any readers who haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. But while the TV show has already inspired my Halloween costume for this year, investors should take away one important insight:

Crypto has become its own version of Squid Game.

Not long ago, popular cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD), Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD), XRP (CCC:XRP-USD) and others — were relatively safe bets. Big bets on niche coins like Monero (CCC:XMR-USD) and BitCore (CCC:BTX-USD) were reserved for the minority with a death wish.

Today however, investors have turned that calculus on its head. The most popular coins (on both Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and CoinMarketCap) are all low-quality Spamcoins fighting in a life-or-death competition for user attention. The ones that succeed will go on to 1,000x returns, while those that fail will fall to zero.

So how can we navigate a world that now counts 1.7 million different tokens? Without giving away too many surprises, let’s take a look at our real-life Squid Game, and figure out what clues gamemasters like Elon Musk provide to identify the next winners.

An illustration of a confused-looking astronaut next to a squid in a pirate hat.

Source: Catalyst Labs /

The Squid Games of Crypto

In 2019, Binance launched the Binance Chain, a mechanism that allowed users to trade BEP-20 tokens. This seemingly minor advancement — which gained little attention from mainstream investors at the time — would soon change the world of crypto.

That’s because coders suddenly didn’t need to create an entirely new protocol for each cryptocurrency. Instead, they could use Binance’s low-cost system to deploy tokens by the thousands. (For those who lived through the Beanie Baby mania, it’s the difference between constructing your own line of stuffed animals and sending instructions to a company that will do it for $5).

The result: millions of new tokens calling themselves “cryptocurrencies.”

The Death of 1,699,999 Tokens

That ease of creation, however, means that most tokens won’t survive. At the latest count, there are now no fewer than 10,000 “Floki” tokens across the Binance and Ethereum chains. Their names include Baby Safe Floki, Pirate Floki Frunk Puppy, SpiderFloki, FlokiDoge and my favorite… 35 different tokens all named FlokiFloki.

In other words, a token like Flokinomics (+1,425%) wasn’t so much destined to win after Elon Musk tweeted a photo of his pet puppy Floki. Instead, it was the law of large numbers at work. If enough cryptocurrencies (or Squid Game contestants) compete against each other, a couple of winners will eventually get through.

Elon Musk: The DogeFather

But there’s also some good news. Much like TV show writers, social media tends to converge on a handful of key players. And even in a show as brutal as Squid Game, it’s more likely that the eventual winners (if there are any left) will be main characters rather than the background players with near-zero air time.

Here’s where “showrunners” like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin come in. By posting their thoughts on Twitter and social media, these narrators unwittingly help focus Twitter’s attention on cryptocurrencies that otherwise have zero underlying value.

If you doubt their influence, consider what would happen if one suddenly tweeted,

“You should put your net worth in my favorite cryptocurrency, BitCore!”

That’s a big part of why my top token pick, Shiba Inu (CCC:SHIB-USD), has done so well. Though it’s one of many tokens that gifted half of itself to Mr. Buterin, it’s the one the Ethereum co-founder later elevated to notoriety.

An illustration of a monkey holding two green bags with cash signs on them.

Source: Catalyst Labs / Shutterstock

Do You Want to Compete?

In preparing this article, I wondered: how much SHIB would you have needed to buy at the start of 2021 to buy one of Elon Musk’s more expensive creations? Let’s say, a fully upgraded $150,000 Model S Plaid.

The answer, it turns out, is 44 cents.

That’s not a misprint: 44 cents of SHIB in January 2021 is worth $150,000 today.

It’s these kinds of returns that have made investors lose their heads.

Not everyone, of course, is a fan of such life-or-death stories. One of my work colleagues quit watching Squid Game after the anxiety-inducing show proved too much. And YouTube star PewDiePie has called the show a “ripoff” of anime death game shows (Such criticism would also rightly paint Disney (NYSE:DIS) films as a copy of Hans Christian Andersen stories).

But I suppose that won’t stop dedicated fans from jumping in anyway. So if you’re going to play, bet on the strongest players. And better yet — maybe wager on the gamemaster itself while you’re at it.

P.S. Do you want to hear more about cryptocurrencies? Penny stocks? Options? Leave me a note at or connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know what you’d like to see.

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On the date of publication, Tom Yeung did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

Tom Yeung, CFA, is a registered investment advisor on a mission to bring simplicity to the world of investing.

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