The rise of memecoins: an overview

- 15 minute read

Paul Hopmans
Crypto Expert
Paul Hopmans

Since the rise of Dogecoin, there has later been an explosion of these types of coins or tokens. The success of these coins has amazed many and there seems to be no end to the success stories and memecoin millionaires. By now there are over 300 memecoins and they have taken a special place in crypto hearts. The memecoin is the humorous pearl in the sea of technology.


  1. What is a memecoin?
  2. A tale of two dogs
  3. Shiba vs. Doge
  4. Meme coin mania
  5. New successes with PEPE, BONK and FLOKI
  6. How do I choose the right meme coins?
  7. How memecoins are made
  8. The future of memecoins
  • A meme was invented by Richard Dawkins. In the world of cryptocurrency, it involves an image to attract attention, and humor rather than technology is essential to the success of a memecoin.
  • The first memecoin was Dogecoin, which was launched as a joke. The creators wanted to prove that people don't research how coins work. They were completely right.
  • After a hesitant beginning, more and more memecoins appeared on the market, such as Safemoon and Safemars. A veritable explosion of memes followed later.
  • Those who want to buy memecoin before everyone knows it will need to do research. This increases the chances of success. We have attached an example of such research for your learning.
  • Memecoins are being made easier and cheaper. So there will be more and more of them. Who knows, you might pick the right one and be the next memecoin millionaire!

What is a memecoin?

What a coin is you will know if you dwell in the world of cryptocurrency.

A meme means an idea or set of ideas around, say, a religion, technique or invention that spreads across people. It is called infectious information that propagates itself, like a virus or gene.

The term meme was coined by biologist Richard Dawkins in his book "The selfish gene" and is a compound of memory and mimesis (imitation). This term later evolved into the Internet meme as we know it today. Dawkins wanted this term to designate a unit of cultural evolution.

Mimicry or imitation occurs in every form of culture, such as the belief in an afterlife. It is the same with memecoins. They spread like a virus and when one form is successful others try to imitate it to be successful as well.

A meme is spread by imitation, a phenomenon also seen with memecoins. A meme can also die out, mutate or go into hibernation. All of these things can be observed in the crypto world, where memecoins quickly gain popularity, after which they may go into hibernation for some time, after which they revive or slowly die out.

When it comes to meme coins, it is actually a matter of taste. Why does a picture of a dog become "worth billions" and that of a cat less than a ton?

Memecoins are both famous and infamous. Everyone knows memecoin and many love it. People who love the technology behind cryptocurrency and blockchain can often be disparaging about all those memecoins because they don't represent any use value. Yet the latter is not entirely true, because once a memecoin has gained enough popularity, it sometimes starts to evolve, such as with its own DEX or other use value.

In general, you could say that a meme coin is a popularity contest, where the image is essential. The only reason a memecoin gains value is if a lot of people buy it, or if Elon Musk wants to pump his bags. They are characterized by insanely high volatility, especially if they are relatively unknown or just entering the financial markets. The memecoins that advance the fastest usually have a whole social network behind them, such as BONK, which got an airdrop in Solana's SAGA phone.

Of crypto meme coins, there are usually huge amounts of coins in circulation. Numbers like 1,000 billion coins are quite common. This means that people can buy hefty numbers of meme coins for a modest amount of money. Research has shown that people like to have a lot of coins, especially among people who are just starting out. So that is one of the psychological benefits of having many memecoins and partly explains their popularity.

Another aspect is the appeal of the image associated with the coin. These range from cute to cool. In general, cute images, such as that of the Dogecoin dog, have the most appeal to people who look at them. Humorous memes also do well.

Nevertheless, there are some people who do technical analysis of memecoin and can estimate their chances of success quite well. These traders can make big money doing so. Especially in a bull market, memecoins tend to go extra hard, as we can see from some rounded numbers recently:

Dogecoin +100%, Shiba Inu +250%, BONK +200%, Floki +400%, Pepe +650%.

Note, of course, that memecoins involve high high highs and deep lows. You always hear the success stories, but rarely the stories of people who bought at the highest point. Therefore, always do your own research.

A tale of two dogs

The first memecoin was Dogecoin. The creators of this coin wanted to prove that people buy coins without researching the technology behind a coin and the team. It actually just started as a joke. They were completely right!

On December 6, 2013, Markus and Palmer launched this famous Doge meme, using just a picture of a dog as a meme. The term shitcoin is often used by people who look down on these types of coins and stay far away from them.

They wanted to create a peer to peer coin for the people that had greater reach than Bitcoin, the elitecoin.

They created a picture of a Shiba Inu dog looking at you quite amusingly sideways. That symbol became their trademark and was wildly popular in no time. Within a month, the website received over a million visitors already. Much WOW!

They also managed to come up with a motto together there, namely Do Only Good Everyday, which of course stands for DOGE. Poets still envy this invention.

Over time, the Dogecoin community has shown their best DOGE side. Around Christmas 2013, there was a hack and many coins were stolen. The community responded with the Twitter thread "SaveDogemas" and more than enough Dogecoin was deposited to compensate everyone.

Furthermore, they sent bobsledders from Jamaica who had no money to the Sochi Olympics, drilled wells in Africa and managed to maneuver a driver into a Nascar car with that dog as the logo. So practice what you preach is a part of this memecoin community, again.

Dogecoin was initially worth much less than a penny and could simply be mined with your PC. After Elon Musk's campaign to get Dogecoin to $1, that was quickly over. It ticked over 60 cents on May 8, 2021, so then all of a sudden everyone wanted to join in with dog coins. Since then, Dogecoin has been in the top 20. Elon does tend to give multiple memecoins a swing with his tweets, such as Floki (the name of Elon's Shiba Inu dog) Inu. After a tweet from Mr. Musk, a coin becomes more widely known and traders gleefully plunge into such a coin, after which the price can rise significantly. One such tweet can cause a veritable stampede. One such tweet can cause a veritable stampede; a week that we at Anycoin Direct will not easily forget.

On May 9, Musk's SpaceX announced that they would fund a mission to the moon purely with Dogecoins. The cut of this story, of course, was that Dogecoin would moon (rise sharply).

Shiba vs. Doge

At one point, Dogecoin got into it with a racially similar, Shiba Inu coin. This memecoin also had a picture of a Japanese Shiba Inu dog as a meme. He even called himself "The Dogecoin Killer"! Of course, the one and only Shiba Inu could not let that get to him!

The two went into a real dogfight to determine who had the sweetest muzzle, and Shiba Inu was coming along at a brisk pace. There was dog food being thrown and even barking, so that wasn't wrong! When Vitalik Buterin donated a large amount of Shiba Inu to the Indian covid fund, this memecoin got a huge boost in terms of fame and popularity and quickly rose through the ranks.

For some time it looked like Shiba was going to overtake Doge, but when this coin got close to Dogecoin the rise suddenly stopped. Dogecoin also became worth more during that time, so there really was some stiff competition that is still alive.

By the way, it is already quite an achievement to be ranked so high in cryptocurrencies. By comparison, Dogecoin is currently worth 3x as much as Heineken in terms of market cap! That is simply insane.

Eventually, Dogecoin did get a function. Since it actually became worth something, people just use these crypto coins as money to pay or finance things with. There have even been developers working to come up with more use cases for these types of popular coins.

Shiba Inu was launched on the Ethereum blockchain and therefore has built-in access to things like smart contracts and decentralized applications, which makes his dog's life a lot easier. Shiba, meanwhile, has gotten quite a few features, such as their comprehensive Shibarium DEX.

Meme coin mania

Meme coin explosion

It has been pretty quiet on Memecoin Alley for a very long time. The reason for this was that it was quite difficult to create a meme coin project with associated validators, miners, nodes , techniques and central exchanges you still have to get that thing on for a lot of money.

And then there was coffee. Well, and also the ERC-20 technology of Ethereum. Suddenly it was very simple to create a token. Just set some variables and the next memecoin was born. By the way, a lot of important coins started as ERC-20 tokens and some high-profile cryptocurrencies still are.

Another way to launch a token is to open source a coin or token that is already on the market to forken , but that is much more difficult.

What also helped in this memecoin parade was the rise of decentralized crypto exchanges (DEX) in the heyday of DeFi . Whereas you used to have to dump quite a bit of hard cash to get your memecoin to please listen on a centralized exchange (CEX) like Binance or Coinbase, you could now offer your token for free on a DEX.

In addition to these types of coins, the shitexchange was now being designed. Such an exchange was usually a fork of UniSwap or PancakeSwap, for example, WaultSwap. A lot of these coins and decentralized exchanges were launched with only one purpose: the rug pull .

Once people figured out how easy it was to create a token via ERC-20, a whole parade of quickly created new meme coins came along, mostly going as fast as they came. A few had the guts to walk the top 100, but most died an untimely death before they even smoked their way to the top 1000.

It was kind of like throwing darts which happened to hit. So you made an ERC-20 token (or a trickier way), quickly cobbled together some website, made a picture to go with it as a symbol and dumped the smart contract on a DEX and on your website. Anyone could then buy that token. That's still the case today. There are hefty amounts of memecoins coming in these days. Usually the memecoin creators keep a large portion or even all of the coins that you just have to buy from them. Once there is quite a bit in the pot they dump their bag at market price and voila. Another one bites the dust!

Especially in bull markets, you see memecoins doing well once they gain a bit of popularity. Back in the days of DeFi hype, one of the most successful memecoins was SafeMoon. This was a comet that in just a few weeks was catapulted from the murky caverns of the CoinGecko hamlets to the top 20 in terms of market capitalization. An entire campaign was mounted to push this coin higher and higher.

As soon as the market cap was shown just about everyone quickly dumped their bags, because such a thing couldn't rise much further anyway. And so began SafeMoon's descent, back to where it came from, with stubborn holders suffering big losses.

In its wake came SafeMars. Which did not achieve half as much popularity, but still came close to the top 100. The general public often suffered from fear of missing out.

Elon Musk then tweeted lustily about Dogecoin. The popularity of Dogecoin AND Elon led to an explosion of all kinds of coins based on the star status of coins and Elon. One coin after another knitted together names like SafeElon, ElonMars, SafeElonMoon, et cetera. You see this copycat behavior even now. Many new memecoins have Shiba, Inu, Pepe, Elon or other derivatives of well-known meme coins in their names, in order to also get a piece of the pie from the success of others.

What really stands out is that dogs are doing much better than other memes. Partly that may have to do with the early success of Dogecoin, but it could also be that dogs are noisier than cats, for example, even though that cat in heat on the right is trying so hard to prove otherwise. Another possible explanation is that more men are investing in cryptocurrency, who are generally more dog people than cat people. A third explanation is that the cat lobby has much less money than the dog lobby.

New successes with PEPE, BONK and FLOKI

Shiba vs Pepe boxing match

Pepe, Bonk, Dogwifhat, Floki, one success story after another flies around your ears these days. Whereas it used to be very rare to get near the top 100, now it is quite doable. All you need is a decent marketing campaign and a large userbase. For example, Bonk has become popular mainly because of its airdrop which Solana did on their Saga phone.

An important aspect of the memecoin community is telling stories to each other. Including how many gains you have made. This encourages others to give it a try as well, allowing popularity to grow quickly. The very strongest aspect of a particular meme is the feeling of being part of a strong community, which highlights one of the fundamentals of being human. This misses coins based on technology. A memecoin is pure emotion.

What also comes into play is the rankings in CoinGecko. Traders look in that list and see that technical coins rise minimally with the occasional exception and that memecoins more often rise by dozens of percent or even more than a hundred percent in a single day. Because they rise so much, traders tend to buy some of them. The more people get that idea, the more the price rises. That's supply and demand. With this bandwagon effect, a memecoin gets an increasing number of holders, causing demand to rise and supply to fall. Then the price must rise.

What is usually not told is that the chances for profits shrink considerably when memecoin is already popular. The experienced investors usually take their profits out of the project as the peaks come into view, after which the enthusiastic community is often left with heavy losses and an empty bottle of whiskey after a coin dump. The moon turned out to be out of reach, but what is not can still come. A typical case of denial of reality. It is rare for memecoin to recover after a big dump has taken place.

Another aspect is advertising a memecoin. This ranges from creating hypes on social media channels, employing influencers to even advertising on touring buses and on billboards. If it has already reached this point, it is less likely that there is much to be gained, except for people who already have a lot of coins. Still, the best meme coins can be found in large communities.

How do I choose the right meme coins?

Dagobert Duck surrounded by gold coins

So, you want to be a millionaire? With memecoins, you can be just that. Quite a few people have become rich from Shiba Inu, Pepe and other memecoins. The bulk, of course, have not. If you want to get rich from a memecoin you will have to buy it immediately when it is listed on a DEX.

But that's pure gambling!? Exactly! There are some things you can do to mitigate the risks, but you just don't know which memes will fall nicely with the public and which will disappear into the trash virtually unseen.

If you want to buy a memecoin that just appeared on the market then it's time to do your own research. You then go to CoinGecko and look under the heading "Cryptocurrencies" and then click on "New cryptocurrencies". There you'll see the coins just launched on the market. You are obviously looking for a new meme coin that is barely worth anything. A coin worth a penny or more has much less potential, because memelovers can't buy millions of them.

If you see a token that is worth, say, 0.00000000012 then you are in the right place. So that means you can punch in big in terms of numbers with a small investment of a tenner or so. You quickly get billions of tokens when it's just out. Later, those billions could be worth a lot if this memecoin happens to gallop into the top 100. Should it ever do that, sell right away! It can't rise much more, but it can still drop tremendously, and fast.

First and foremost, you need to check that the contract is kosher. Several memes are simply set up for the back pull, with any luck you'll get a warning from CoinGecko that the smart contract is fraudulently set up or has other errors. That coin or token is certainly not going to make it.

If tokens are locked for several years, this is usually a good sign. There may be a multi-year vision then and so they want to give crypto a serious chance. If there is a whitepaper that's a big green flag. But it is rare to see so much time put into a memecoin.

If the contract is correct, then it's a matter of guessing. You can do a little more research. For example, you can look to see if there is a website set up at all and if the thing is not full of language errors. You're not the only one looking there, so that would be a red flag.

What you can also pay attention to is whether there is already a community around this memecoin. Is it already being talked about in social media? Do they have a Telegram channel, a Discord channel, a Facebook page?

Also, look very carefully at the picture. Can this become a popular meme? Is it an attractive picture? Is the theme hot? Is it a dog? Is it derived from a well-known meme or from a TV series or cartoon? For example, of course, a Garfield meme could potentially do better than a picture of a rock. Yes, I mean it!

Real-time research on a memecoin

Shiba Holmes

Right now, for example, there is a new coin called Conan. He's not worth a ball, so 1 tick, 1,000 billion coins. It's a dog, number two. He has a nickname: Trump's Doge. Not bad in the year of the US election. The dog is a hero, he was pinned on a medal for his actions during an ISIS raid. Everyone happy, except the dog, of course. Ouch! Another checkmark, though. There are only 691 holders (seen via Etherscan, it's an ERC-20 token). Tick, few holders is very low entrance fee, because little liquidity. There is a small error on the main page of the website, which is usually a sign that it was set up quickly. Little red flag. It is not really cute, it is a sheepdog, which is less so.

There is a real story behind it. In fact, Trump has hung the medal over his shoulders! This can be seen in a picture. The dog also hung a medal around Trump's neck, nice humor. Trump's Twitter post is on their website. The dog has been with Conan, the late night show host. He completed 50 missions and was brought back to the US injured to recover. A true American hero! Overall, the website is sparse, but fairly professional in appearance. The story is central and delivered with humor.

It includes a few clips, including with Melanie and Donald Trump and a question and answer session, in which the dog answers to questions from the press. Very funny. So one can see both the potential and the humor in this meme. The dog is not cute, but it is a dog. The link to Conan, Donald Trump and his war past may very well contribute to his popularity. The images, the story on the site and the clips convey a consistent narrative. Stories are what give memecoins their popularity. Without it, no memecoin becomes popular.

There are no token holders holding too much of the supply. You can also see this in the Etherscan among holders. 6% is the largest bag. If you see here that 1 or 2 holders own almost all the coins it seems set up for the back pull, even if the holder is a whale. At Etherscan you can find the technical stuff about what happened to a coin. You can also just send an email through Conan's website, although it's to a Gmail account, which doesn't look very professional.

By the way, this analysis is useless to the reader as purchase advice for this coin, because by the time you read this the coin will be at least days old and you will be too late. Still, this kind of research allows you to find out very quickly whether the coin has potential. And all for a tenner! Well, eventually to buy one that reaches the top 100 so you can cash in big time!

A little logic always helps, too. If you buy a memecoin when it has just come to market (within a few hours to max a day) it is still spotty cheap. It makes very little difference then whether you put in a tenner or 5,000 euros. The purpose of your purchase is to get rich with it or make a hefty profit. If it starts to become a successful meme and approaches the top 100 it has gone over the top tens of thousands of times. It seems to me that the payout of 10x tens of thousands is fine. Risk versus reward.

Of course you understand that most memecoins will never do anything at all. You can easily miss that tenner, but 5,000 euros, that's going to add up fast. You'll be rich 500 times as fast, but also 500 times as poor. You don't go to a casino with 5K, put 5K on number 25 and then when another number falls you go home again.

If you tried often enough, you may well get lucky once and walk away with the top prize. Lucky by numbers.

Buy a popular memecoin

Many people do not buy a memecoin until it is already popular. This is, in my humble opinion, a not too happy choice in most cases. If it is already very high, how much more can it rise? With the related question: how much more can he drop. The latter, of course, is sobering, because memecoin can collapse overnight, whether due to a back pull or not. Risk versus reward. If a memecoin can still go x5 and be completely collapsed or back pulled tomorrow, is it still a wise investment?

How do you know if it can only go x5 or so? Well, everyone understands that memecoin surely won't overtake Bitcoin. Making the top ten is already extremely difficult. Only Dogecoin has succeeded, and Shiba Inu has smelled it. Apparently he didn't like the smell, because he had been sinking for a while. Everyone knows how good a dogs' sense of smell is. Just assume that memecoins can reach the top 20 at most. Then you have a target point how much the margin up and down (0) is.

The only time there is anything in buying memecoin when it is already high is during a bull market. Those are the times when there is a lot more trading and the rookies enter the field as well. Newbies like to have a lot of coins. Maybe it becomes worth a euro, then I am a millionaire, of that sheet. Because so many people are suddenly enamored of memecoins, you could still grab hefty profits with the meme coin in a bull market, even and perhaps even especially if it is already popular.

How memecoins are made

This is a piece of cake these days. With the ERC-20 standard, you can have a token together in no time. Moreover, it is perfectly legal unless it is set up in such a way that it is clear you want to defraud with it. Other networks are also making it increasingly easy for you to set up a token quickly, such as Solana or Binance Smart Chain, at increasingly acceptable costs. A bit of currency in your crypto wallet will soon suffice.

People first invent a story that can generate popularity, preferably with a picture of a cute dog (or other animal). People love animals, especially if there is a wonderful or touching story behind them.

Have they written the story, then one creates a website, this is also a lot easier these days with Wordpress and very inexpensive.

The basic set-up of the coin can be arranged within an hour. People who have done this before could launch coin after coin at low cost. That's why there are suddenly so many memecoins.

The most popular memecoins make work of advertising in any form. Without it, there is little chance that such a meme will do well.

The future of memecoins

Memecoins are here to stay. Many will come and go. Stories that you never tire of are now rare. Dogecoin and Shiba Inu seem to have made this one.

As long as people tell stories, new ones will be told. A human being is a story. That is why good stories behind memecoins are so popular, people see some of themselves in them.

Humor is one of the great forces behind a memecoin. The world of cryptocurrency can be very hard. Once in a while you want to have a laugh and that's what memecoins are known for.

The community of a coin often causes not only the story to come alive, but to be expanded. Before you know it, there's a small novella or a full book behind it. When that happens, a memecoin may just grow from new cryptocurrency to one of the most popular coins in the world. With any luck, you bought a shitload of it when it just launched and you'll be the next memecoin millionaire!