There’s no question that Shiba Inu (CRYPTO:SHIB) had an incredible run in 2021.
The dog-themed cryptocurrency jumped from $0.000000000133 (nine zeros) at the end of 2020 to $0.000033 (four zeros) at the end of 2021, skyrocketing around 26,000,000% as major cryptocurrency exchanges allowed trading in SHIB and meme coins remained popular after the earlier rise of Dogecoin (CRYPTO:DOGE).
After the meme coin shaved off five decimal zeros from its price, some are calling for the coin to eventually reach $1. From its current price of $0.000021, that would mark a gain of roughly 4,700,000%. Considering how far Shiba Inu has already come, it may seem realistic for the coin to gain another 4,700,000%, but basic math is standing in the way.
Shiba Inu trades for such a small fraction of a penny because its supply is so large. There’s currently a supply of 549 trillion SHIB tokens in circulation, giving it a market cap of around $11 billion. If those tokens were worth $1 each, SHIB’s market cap would be $549 trillion, roughly 200 times bigger than Apple, the world’s most valuable company, and more than six times the world’s annual GDP.
In other words, Shiba Inu reaching $1 would likely require a massive reordering of the world economy. That’s not going to happen. However, there is a caveat.
The only way SHIB can reach $1
There are two ways for Shiba Inu’s value to increase. One is that traders simply bid up the price. The other is for the supply to decrease, which should make the remaining coins more valuable. In order for this to happen, the coins have to be taken out of circulation, or burned, as traders usually call it, by being transferred to dead wallets.
It’s not unusual for this to happen. In fact, according to Shibburn, a website that tracks the burning of Shiba Inu coins, 410 trillion Shiba Inu coins have already been burnt. Nearly all of those coins were taken out of circulation by Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH) who was gifted half of the 1 quadrillion Shiba Inu coin supply by the anonymous Shiba Inu founder. Buterin did so because he felt uncomfortable controlling so much of the supply of the cryptocurrency.
According to Shibburn, at the time of writing, 62 million Shiba Inu coins had been burned in the last 24 hours. While that might sound like a lot, at that rate it would take a little more than two weeks to burn 1 billion coins, and 40 years to burn 1 trillion. The burn could accelerate if there were an organized movement among SHIB holders, which could pick up steam if the value of SHIB continues to drop. However, there’s a clear disincentive to burning the coins. If the value begins going up, it’s in the interest of holders to keep their coins rather than burn them, and the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency makes it unlikely that there will be an organized movement powerful enough to substantially reduce the number of coins.
What’s next for Shiba Inu
Since its peak at $0.88 at the end of October, Shiba Inu has lost more than 75% of its value, and other cryptocurrencies have fallen sharply as well. Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) is down nearly 50% from its all-time high, as is Ethereum. Cryptocurrencies have tumbled amid broader jitters in the stock market over rising interest rates.
It’s impossible to predict where the cryptocurrency market will go next, but the most highly inflated assets during the pandemic have already fallen sharply.
At this point, another Shiba Inu rally seems unlikely, and reaching $1 is nearly impossible.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.