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Memes, pumps, mistakes: absurd crypto glasses are making a comeback

At a conference in Manhattan last week, a few hundred people gathered to listen to luminaries of the cryptocurrency industry and leaders like black rock and Fidelity discuss Bitcoin‘s enters the investment mainstream this year.

However, it was another symbol that kept coming up in conversations: a new cryptocurrency, best known for its logo depicting the image of a dog wearing a knitted hat. Billionaire Michael Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, jokingly lamented that he had no position in the coin called dogwifhat.

“I don’t do it, as much as I would like,” he said to laughter from the audience. “I’m just afraid that if I tweet, ‘God, I love dogs like Arthur Hayes does,’ I’ll literally be investigated two days later by the CFTC.”

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The immediate cause of this year’s revival of digital asset markets is the arrival of long-awaited U.S. exchange-traded funds that move Bitcoin into investors’ traditional brokerage accounts. Yet, just like in the conversations at this Bitcoin Investor Day conference, the crypto community’s more fanciful impulses are stealing the spotlight in the market, pushing some of the most useless tokens – known as memecoins – for even bigger gains than Bitcoin. By now, even a normie — the industry’s nickname for non-crypto folks — probably knows a thing or two about memecoins, the tokens most famous for their cute logos depicting dogs or frogs or pop culture references rather than any hint of blockchain innovation. . However, the stupidity currently displayed among the self-proclaimed “degens” in this corner of the world crypto market may surprise. A website called allows anyone to create a memecoin through an automated process. Simply enter a name, an introductory description, and an image that represents the token. Others who browse the website can “ape” – crypto slang for buying without doing much research – into the memecoins they want. Spending just a few minutes on the website is fascinating, with dozens of new memecoins created – and quickly valued by traders. There are tokens like BoomerCoin. (Ticker: BOOMER; description: “Sell and Grandma Dies.”) among memecoins in almost every pop culture or crypto-culture category one can imagine. There’s even one that mocks the caricature of a risk-averse traditional finance employee named Jared with the description: “memecoins? It seems too risky, I will never touch it.

Elsewhere, a new wave of bots based on messaging platform Telegram is fueling the popularity of blockchain platforms that are cheaper and faster than Ethereum. Tornado Blast, a Telegram bot on the Blast blockchain platform, makes gaming on tokens as easy as chatting with ChatGPT. Anyone with a digital wallet and Telegram can buy, sell and transfer tokens with Tornado Blast. The bot also has new features such as “Gem Finder,” which claims to use artificial intelligence to find coins “that could have a good risk/reward ratio for your games,” according to the website.

Yet while the latest craze has breathed new life into the crypto world’s promotional artists, the retail traders they rely on to “ape” coins have been slow to return. Global retail trading activity on Binance in February did not return to levels seen until mid-2022, the end of the last bull market.

“There are definitely more retail users coming back, but not in the volumes of what we saw in 2021,” said Andy Goldin, global head of data and analytics at Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world. world, in an interview. “Some of this memecoin stuff is a little more the purview of experienced traders.”

However, on the Solana blockchain, the memecoin frenzy is gaining momentum. More than $122 million worth of Solana tokens were raised through so-called pre-sales of new coins ahead of their launch, according to data compiled by crypto sleuth ZachXBT.

“Memecoins are so naturally speculative that you don’t expect them to create real products,” said Zaheer Ebtikar, founder of crypto fund Split Capital. “It’s just people fighting for cash and attention. People, especially retail investors who exploded in the last cycle, are very eager to win it all in one trade.

Several recent incidents have served as a reminder of how risky this hype can be.

??A developer of a sloth-themed memecoin claimed to have accidentally burned a large amount of tokens after the project raised $10 million, essentially losing all the money raised. Although this could have become a major legal issue in any traditional market, the token, called Slerf, nevertheless began trading and now has a total market value of $340 million, according to tracker CoinGecko.

“The world’s largest casino appears to have reopened,” crypto blog Rekt said in a recent newsletter about the Slerf incident. “The odds are against us, and yet we monkeys don’t seem to learn. What does this say about us?

Back at the Bitcoin Investor Day event in Manhattan, it was time for Robert Mitchnick, BlackRock’s head of digital assets, to speak. The company’s iShares Bitcoin Trust leads the rankings of new ETFs, amassing more than $17 billion in assets in less than three months. The event’s organizer, crypto personality Anthony Pompliano, asked Mitchnick what’s next for BlackRock. And also, of course, what he thought of Novogratz’s vision of dogwifhat.

“I think crypto Twitter would love to believe that a dogwifhat ETFs happens next,” Mitchnick said with a laugh, before indicating that no one should count on that: “Actually, I don’t even know what dogwifhat is. »

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