Memecoins: vast wealth or evil in the flesh?

Memecoins: vast wealth or evil in the flesh?

The hottest topic for Q1 2024

Despite their limited utility, memecoins have managed to win the hearts of hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrency investors, attracting the attention of even big names such as Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, X), Mike Tyson (professional boxer), Snoop Dogg (rapper, actor), etc.

According to CoinGecko's research, memecoins were the most profitable cryptocurrency in the Q1 of 2024, posting the highest returns at an average of 1312.6%. Notably, memecoins were 4.6 times more profitable than RWA, 5.9 times more profitable than AI-tokens, and 33.3 times more profitable than Layer 2 cryptocurrency in Q1 this year (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Top crypto Narratives profits in Q1. Source: CoinGecko

At the time of publication, the memecoin sector has a total market capitalization of $62.9 billion, representing approximately 2.31% of the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies. This is an increase of 176.9% from the previous quarter.

This exceeds the market capitalization of many major sectors with significant capital and institutional participation, such as NFT at $45.7B, layer 2 at $32.9B, DePIN at $29.7B, GameFi at $27.1B, Artificial Intelligence at $24.8B, zero knowledge at $23.6B, and RWA at $8.7B.

Memcoin's performance is on the rise amid increased investor interest. According to Google data, the term memecoins is now being searched for globally more often than ever before.

Google Trends, a weekly keyword popularity tracker, showed that global interest in the term "memecoin" reached a popularity score of 88 in March, the second highest in five years, just below the peak of 100 reached in the first week of November 2023 (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Interest over time for "memecoin", March 2023 - March 2024. Source: Google Trends

The meme coin sector has exploded in 2024, not only in terms of interest and funding but also in terms of the number of new meme coin traders. A report by market analytics platform IntoTheBlock recently noted that the number of meme coin holders has reached a record high. 

Last month, the number of addresses holding meme coins for less than thirty days reached a record high (Figure 3). This indicates a massive influx of new traders buying memecoins.

Figure 3. The number of addresses holding meme coins for under thirty days. Source: Into the Block

So what are the distinguishing features of meme coins and why could they regain lightning-fast popularity among the crypto community in 2024?

What exactly are memcoins?

Meme coins are cryptocurrencies that pay homage to a meme — an interesting or funny idea captured in an image, video, or other form of media. Like the memes on which they are based, meme coins are designed to go viral and be shared. A memecoin is pure emotion. has highlighted the main features of meme-coin:

  1. High volatily
  2. Very low value per token
  3. Generally no utility, just trading value
  4. Their popularity can soar overnight based on social media buzz
  5. They generally have a massive or uncapped supply

Due to the ease of creation and the influence of memes, meme tokens have recently gained immense popularity.

A closer look: key differences from other cryptocurrencies

Meme coins have grown in popularity due to their connection to internet culture. Their hallmarks include a strong sense of community, which is typically based on social media platforms, and a playful attitude towards investing and trading.

Traditional cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), are digital currencies that, at the point of conception, are created to solve some existing problem. They have utility: they can be spent, transferred, and used within an ecosystem of applications. 

When it comes to meme coins, these cryptocurrencies are rarely designed with usability in mind. Most people are attracted by their virality and possible financial gain. Most meme coin initiatives have a brief moment of fame when they achieve significant success in the market and then fade away when the market loses interest in them.

Due to the ease of creation and "joke" sense, the teams behind meme tokens rarely focus on developing high-quality tokenomics, nor do they think through the long-term roadmap of the project. Meme-tokens are valued by the community in isolation as some kind of "social effect", so the coin often remains just a token that does not create value within a full-fledged ecosystem. 

Memcoins: potential opportunities & associated risks

Despite their overwhelming popularity, the global cryptocurrency community is divided on the issue of meme coins. Some believe that the power of a united community can create a full-fledged product and breathe value into it, while others treat meme projects with caution and regard them as unreliable investments. So who will be right in this confrontation?


Investing in meme coins comes with both dangers and possible rewards. The following considerations should be carefully examined before investing:

  • High volatility. The main factors influencing the price changes of meme tokens are news publications, general market sentiment, and attention from major influencers. Therefore, these tokens are often subject to sudden price fluctuations, making them a very risky investment.
  • Limited use. Many meme currencies have no significant real-world application or long-term value, which can jeopardize their long-term viability and growth potential. Memetic value has been driving the development of cryptocurrencies for years.
  • Speculative characteristics. Mem-coins operate in an uncontrolled arena, which increases the potential for fraud and market manipulation. They are vulnerable to speculation and "pump and dump" transactions.
  • Limited liquidity.  Every time a developer “rugs” a meme coin and sells the profits for rent money, liquidity is extracted from the ecosystem. Because liquidity is limited—and people have short attention spans — traders tend to rotate their money from meme coin to meme coin, trying to catch different pumps while avoiding the dumps.

Whether a meme coin has a strong community, is timely, or is just plain hilarious, it won't get very far if the developer doesn't think about longevity. 


On the other hand, investing in meme coins can bring huge potential returns:

  • Potentially high returns. Some investors have realized large returns by investing in meme coins in the early stages.
  • Community involvement. Meme currencies often have active and enthusiastic communities, allowing for networking and sharing of experiences.
  • Experimentation and innovation. Meme coins act as a testing ground for new cryptocurrency concepts and technologies.

While historically most meme coins have been created solely for trading, individual projects are using the comedic element of their tokens as a means to build community.

One example of this is Shiba Inu, which plans to create Shibaverse, a metaverse for members of the Shiba Inu community. The ecosystem already includes ShibaSwap, a DEX where users can exchange tokens.

The developers of Floki Inu, emphasize the utility of the token as a way to stand out from the crowd. The FLOKI ecosystem includes plans for an NFT gaming metaverse called ‘Valhalla’, a commodities marketplace and a cryptocurrency education platform. 

Main projects of 2024

Most traders learn about meme tokens at the moment when their market capitalization exceeds hundreds of millions and the token starts to rise in the ratings on aggregators (such as CMC, Coingecko, etc.). 

Tech coins tend to rise slightly in value, with few exceptions. Conversely, memcoins often show significant growth - by tens or even more than a hundred percent in a single day. Expectations of a continued upward trajectory of price growth cause users to join the community and buy memcoins, further fueling the excitement around the project.

Which tokens are attracting the most public attention at the moment and have managed to achieve the highest MarketCap?

The old guard

Dogecoin ($DOGE)


Blockchain: Dogechain

MarketCap (12.04.24): $27.9B

24H Trading Volume: $2.9B

Max Supply: unlimited

Dogecoin (DOGE) is an open-source peer-to-peer digital currency. It is considered an altcoin and was launched in December 2013 with the image of a Shiba Inu dog as its logo. Dogecoin uses Litecoin's Scrypt technology and uses proof-of-work (PoW) on its blockchain.

Dogecoin was first meant to be a joke. As a tipping currency, thanks to its low fees and speed of transactions in comparison to competing chains for a long part of its existence, Dogecoin has never stopped working for its intended use.

The value of DOGE (unlike most new-age meme tokens) is not limited to the essence of the meme at its core. The Dogecoin community cares about supporting each other, teaching people about cryptocurrencies, fundraising, and having fun. the concept is revealed in Dogecoin's unofficial slogan: Doing Only Good Every Day.

Dogecoin supply is unlimited. Based on the PoW consensus, the network uses miners to secure the network and verify transactions. Blocks are created every minute and have a reward of 10K $DOGE as well as transaction fees. The developers of Dogecoin haven’t made any major changes to the coin since 2015.

To protect and support the Dogecoin project, the Dogecoin Foundation was founded in 2014. In 2021, the Fund was updated with members of the original core team, as well as new faces and new experienced advisors.

The Dogecoin Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established to provide:

  • Support for the Dogecoin crypto-currency through development and advocacy
  • Dogecoin trademark defense to prevent abuse and fraud
  • A trailmap for the future of Dogecoin

Dogecoin is steadily gaining popularity, and now, all over the world, some companies accept payments in Dogecoin. Some of the major retailers that have ever accepted Dogecoin as a means of payment: are Newegg, Twitch, Keys4Coins, GameStop, AMC Theaters, airBaltic, etc.

The token's price has grown more than 2.2 times since the beginning of the year (from $0.0893 to $0.1984), reaching a peak value of $0.2202 (-9.9% in current price).

Shiba Inu ($SHIB)


Blockchain: Ethereum

MarketCap (12.04.24): $16.3B

24H Trading Volume: $0.6B

Max Supply: 1.0Qa

Shiba Inu (SHIB) is a meme token launched in August 2020 on the Ethereum network. According to the paper, Shiba Inu was developed to answer a simple question: "What would happen if a cryptocurrency project was 100% run by its community?"

The SHIB token team didn't stop there and built an entire ecosystem around the meme loved by thousands of users, including many products:

  • Shiba Inu ($SHIB) — key token, embodying a global, decentralized, community-driven currency.
  • Bone ($BONE) — ecosystem's governance token.
  • Leash ($LEASH) — limited rewards ecosystem's loyalists with exclusive benefits.
  • Shibarium is a collective blockchain that scales and invites solutions, innovation, and security to the Decentralized Finance Space. This blockchain (L2) runs on top of the Ethereum blockchain, which the SHIB ecosystem tokens (SHIB, LEASH & BONE) utilize.
  • Shibaswap — decentralized exchange. The goal of ShibaSwap is to provide a safe place for the community to trade tokens on a decentralized exchange, while implementing special incentives and rewards to those who contribute to the ecosystem, such as liquidity providers.
  • Shiba Inu Games is an affiliated company started by project lead Shytoshi Kusama to facilitate the development of games related to the Shiba Inu Ecosystem.
  • Shiba Eternity is a competitive card game (CCG) themed around the Shiba Inu Ecosystem. While the mobile version is available with an active player base, a blockchain version is coming soon that will include features such as Shiboshi NFT integration, play-to-earn mechanics, and other DeFi-related concepts. 
  • Shiboshis, Sheboshi — NFT-collections.

According to the project's tokenomics, 50% of the total offering was intended for liquidity on Uniswap, while the other 50% was sent to Ethereum Network founder Vitalik Buterin. 

From the available supply, Buterin donated 10% of SHIB (about $1B) to COVID-19 relief efforts in India, making it one of the largest donations in the world. The remaining 40% of the tokens have been burned forever.

The SHIB token can also be used beyond the blockchain. There is information about 12 companies from the real sector that accept SHIB as payment.

The token's price has grown more than 2.6 times since the beginning of the year (from $0.000010 to $0.000028), reaching a peak value of $0.000036 (-22.2% in current price).

Pepe ($PEPE)


Blockchain: Ethereum

MarketCap (12.04.24): $3.1B

24H Trading Volume: $0.7B

Max Supply: 0.4Qa

Pepe is a meme token launching in April 2023 on the Ethereum network. Instead of relying on methods like initial coin offering (ICO), presale, or airdrop to distribute its tokens, the project solely depended on the fame of PEPE the Frog meme to attract the attention of potential investors.

Emerging from the first wave of meme success, Pepe united a large community under the slogan of standing up to the market leaders: “The Inu’s have had their day. It’s time for the most recognizable meme in the world to take his reign as king of the memes. Pepe is here to make memecoins great again. Fueled by pure memetic power, let $PEPE show you the way”.

The tokenomics of the project contains only the scope of the maximum supply, and the project's philosophy of simplicity: “Launched stealth with no presale, zero taxes, LP burnt and contract renounced, $PEPE is a coin for the people, forever.”

Project Roadmap:

  • Phase 1: Meme
  • Phase 2: Vibe and HODL
  • Phase 3: Meme Takeover

$PEPE is a meme coin with no intrinsic value or expectation of financial return. There is no formal team or roadmap. the coin is completely useless and for entertainment purposes only.

Despite its long history, the project team has not stated any intention to create an ecosystem or to develop products through which holders could derive additional utility from the token.

The token's price has grown more than 5.6 times since the beginning of the year (from $0.0000013 to $0.0000073), reaching a peak value of $0.000011 (-31.0% in current price).

The new stars

Dogwifhat ($WIF)


Blockchain: Solana

MarketCap (12.04.24): $3.5B

24H Trading Volume: $0.3B

Max Supply: 1.0B

Dogwifhat token is a memecoin that appeared in late December 2023 on the Solana blockchain. The project's developers took a Shiba Inu dog (specifically a dog, not a token), clicked or uploaded its picture, and put a hat on the dog's head.

The project team positions the token solely as a community initiative: “Bro! It’s literally a dog wif [with] a hat.“

The project does not provide users with any useful scenarios for using the token, nor does it have tokenomics in a structured way.

The token's price has grown more than 22 times since the beginning of the year (from $0.1516 to $3.4600), reaching a peak value of $4.83 (-28.2% in current price).

Brett ($BRETT)


Blockchain: Base

MarketCap (12.04.24): $0.6B

24H Trading Volume: $11M

Max Supply: 1.0B

BRETT is a memcoin appearing in March 2024 on the Base blockchain. The main idea of the BRETT token is to lead the meme token movement by becoming the analog of Pepe on the Ethereum network and Landwolf on the Avalanche network. 

Brett is tired of watching his boys Pepe and Landwulf have fun. Pepe has conquered the Ethereum blockchain and Landwulf is making waves on the Avalanche blockchain. Brett has decided to claim Solana and won't rest until he overtakes his friends.

The project team positions the token solely as a community initiative: “$BRETT is a meme coin with no intrinsic value or expectation of financial return. There is no formal team or roadmap. The coin is completely useless and for entertainment purposes only”. 

The token's price has increased more than 68 times since the beginning of the year (from $0.0011 to $0.0750), reaching a peak value of $0.08617 (-12.8% in current price).

Cat in a dogs world ($MEW)


Blockchain: Solana

MarketCap (12.04.24): $0.3B

24H Trading Volume: $40M

Max Supply: 88.9B

MEW is a memcoin launched at the end of March 2024 on the Solana network. Similar to the $PEPE token, the main idea of the MEW token is to "counter" the established leaders of the memecoin market in the form of dog-themed coins ($DOGE, $SHIB, $WIF, etc.). The token also has no utility and does not provide investors with any potential use cases.

The project tokenomics is as follows:

  • 88.9B total supply
  • 90% burned LP
  • 10% airdrops for Solana community 

Additional impetus to the price growth occurred due to the listing of token on the centralized exchange OKX. The token's price has increased 1.7 times since the beginning of the year (from $0.0023 to $0.0039), reaching a peak value of $0.0097 (-60.3% in current price).

Bottom line

Meme currencies have had a huge impact on the cryptocurrency industry as a whole. Their popularity and trading volumes have increased interest in the cryptocurrency sphere, attracting new participants and increasing market activity. Mem coins have also influenced market sentiment, causing waves of hype or speculation on other cryptocurrencies.

As the meme currency ecosystem evolves, it is important to approach these initiatives with caution and thorough research. While some meme coins may generate interest and possible profits, they also carry risks due to their speculative nature and market volatility.

Among the thousands of low-quality meme tokens appearing every day, only a few have survived long enough to build a solid community around them and offer users a new experience. If capturing public interest is the main key to a meme project's success, elaboration is its lifeline. 

Each token may start as a joke. However, gradual development, including elaboration of the token's qualitative utility, development of a detailed roadmap, and building an adequate tokenomics will lay the groundwork for user retention and the organic growth of the project.