Dogecoin burst onto the cryptocurrency scene in 2013 as a fun alternative to mainstream digital currencies like Bitcoin. Originally created as a joke referencing the popular Shiba Inu “Doge” meme, Dogecoin has defied expectations and become one of the most widely-used and traded meme coins. But Dogecoin is far from the only game in town when it comes to meme-based cryptocurrencies. Many alternative meme coins have emerged that seek to capture Dogecoin’s magic formula of humor, community, and real-world utility.
The Rise of Meme Coins
The success of Dogecoin demonstrated that internet culture could drive mainstream cryptocurrency adoption. Meme coins use viral internet jokes and culture to market themselves in a way that serious cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum do not. This allows meme coins to build online communities of investors and users who feel connected to the currency. The result is a highly engaged userbase that actively works to spread awareness and adoption of the meme coin.
Alternative meme coins seek to replicate Dogecoin’s success by creating cryptocurrencies centered around popular internet memes. These meme coins allow people to literally invest in the memes they enjoy. Some prominent examples beyond Dogecoin include Shiba Inu, MonaCoin, and Garlicoin. Each meme coin has its own personality and community derived from the meme it represents.
Comparing Dogecoin to Shiba Inu
One of the most prominent alternatives to Dogecoin is Shiba Inu. This meme coin features the same Shiba Inu dog from Dogecoin but aims to be an improved “Dogecoin killer.” Shiba Inu was created in 2020 and saw explosive growth in 2021, for a time even surpassing Dogecoin in market capitalization.
Shiba Inu brands itself as the “Dogecoin 2.0” with superior capabilities and utility compared to the original Dogecoin. For example, Shiba Inu has a lower supply cap of 1 quadrillion tokens compared to Dogecoin’s unlimited supply. This scarcity makes each individual Shiba Inu token more valuable in theory. Shiba Inu also has its own decentralized exchange called ShibaSwap and is building a metaverse called the “Shiberse”.
However, Dogecoin still retains greater real-world usage and adoption. More online retailers accept Dogecoin directly as payment. Dogecoin also benefits from being the original meme coin with the strongest brand recognition. The Dogecoin community remains vibrant and engaged after nearly a decade. While Shiba Inu may have temporarily surpassed Dogecoin in hype and valuation, Dogecoin remains arguably the most influential and impactful meme coin overall when considering community strength and active usage.
Comparing Meme Coins to Legitimate Altcoin Projects
Meme coins capture the public’s imagination by combining speculation and fun internet culture. But how do meme cryptocurrencies stack up to more serious alternative coin projects in terms of real-world utility?
Altcoins like Cardano, Solana, and Polkadot are building legitimate blockchain platforms with advanced capabilities like smart contracts, NFTs, decentralized apps, and more. These altcoins aim to solve technical limitations of mainstream cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum by employing new architectures and features. Their developers actively advance altcoin capabilities through ongoing research and upgrades.
In contrast, most meme coins lack the serious developmental roadmaps and technical aspirations of altcoin projects. Their primary purpose is to spread viral awareness and appreciation of their associated meme. This limits their real-world utility compared to altcoins designed for practical use cases.
However, some meme coins like Dogecoin have shown the ability to evolve beyond their meme-based origins. The Dogecoin community funded development of the Dogecoin Core wallet. Dogecoin also utilizes mining and staking to secure its blockchain, giving it functionality beyond just a joke meme token. But most meme coins still pale in terms of capabilities compared to leading altcoins that could become “Ethereum killers” or “Bitcoin 2.0s” due to their robust platforms.
In summary, meme coins and altcoins both attract speculators with the promise of major returns. But altcoins have more substance in terms of blockchain capabilities and real-world use potential in the long run. The vast majority of meme coins lack the technical foundations to match leading altcoin projects. Their fun communities and perceptions are their primary edge.
“As the original meme coin creator, I’m proud Dogecoin has inspired so many alternative meme-based cryptocurrencies. But meme coins should be fun - not taken too seriously like some altcoin projects aiming to transform finance and technology. Wow, such speculation! Much community! Dogecoin to the moon!” – Jackson Palmer, Co-Founder of Dogecoin
Should You Invest in Meme Coins or Altcoins?
Meme coin investors enjoy riding viral hype cycles for short-term gains. Altcoin investors believe in projects fundamentally transforming blockchain technology over a long timeframe. Different investor mindsets and goals are suited to each.
Consider these factors when deciding between meme coin and altcoin investments:
- Timeframe – meme coins favor short-term speculation, altcoins require long-term commitment as their platforms evolve.
- Risk tolerance – meme coins are very high-risk, altcoins relatively less so but still volatile investments.
- Interests – meme coin investors enjoy internet culture, altcoin investors study technical capabilities.
- Goals – meme coins can deliver exponential hype-based returns; altcoins offer utility-driven long-term growth potential.
There's room for both in a diversified high-risk portion of a crypto portfolio. Weigh your own interests and style. Are you an investor looking for projects to fundamentally better cryptocurrency technology over years? Or a trader open to riding viral meme hype waves in the near term?
Should You Diversify Across Multiple Meme Coins?
Rather than buying only Dogecoin or Shiba Inu, many meme coin traders diversify across emerging viral coins to increase chances of catching the next hype cycle. Diversification smooths out risk across a basket of meme coins. If one fails to gain traction, another may surge.
But spreading funds too thin across meme coins reduces potential upside if one meme coin experiences an exponential breakout. There's a balance between properly diversifying and still dedicating enough capital to benefit from a meme coin blowing up.
Consider allocating into a handful of meme coins representing the most compelling and trending memes rather than spreading tiny amounts across dozens of coins. Monitor social media channels and online forums to identify rising meme coins with strong communities and activity. Allocate more into meme coins showing real grassroots momentum while trimming exposure to stagnant ones.
Dogecoin made history as the original meme-based cryptocurrency to achieve widespread popularity and market adoption. Its success has inspired many alternative meme coins to emerge, from Shiba Inu to MonaCoin and more. While meme coins capture attention and speculation with their viral trends, they generally lack the real-world utility and technical development of leading altcoin projects.
Different investor mindsets suit meme coins versus altcoins. Both bring high risk but for different reasons. Meme coins enable riding cultural hype cycles while altcoins offer potential from advancing blockchain capabilities. With an understanding of their inherent differences, there is room in a portfolio to responsibly experiment with either or both.