One of the hottest meme tokens of early May has turned into one of the worst-performing in the past fortnight.

The value of Shiba Inu has plunged 78 per cent since May 11,  in part thanks to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin dealing the doggy token a devastating “rugpull” using coins that had been sent to him unasked for.

Shiba tokens were trading for US0.000011c this morning, down from 0.000035c on May 11. That’s still enough to make to meme coin the No. 29 crypto, with a total value of an astonishing US$4.2 billion, on trading volume of US$1.4 billion.

The token is supposed to power a “decentralised meme ecosystem” including ShibaSwap, a decentralised exchange that has yet to materialise but will be presumably similar to Uniswap and SushiSwap.

“ShibaSwap is undergoing security tests, audits and final updates to prepare for a safe launch,” the token’s website says.

The developers of the coin are anonymous but a lengthy expose published on WordPress used a variety of clues to tentatively ID them as an Iranian software developer; a Peruvian national living in Moscow; and a Spanish national living in Spain.

The poster accused the developers of slowly “rugging” the project to the tune of US$70 million.

“Get out, fast (in my opinion),” the user wrote.

It was tough to verify any of the writer’s claims which are largely circumstantial.


Yeet rugpulled

“Rugpulls” have become distressingly common in the world of “decentralised finance” (defi) tokens, which rely on coins being essentially locked in a liquidity pool for trading.

While traditional cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin or Bitcoin aren’t controlled by developers, with defi tokens the developer generally retains the keys for the liquidity pool and can drain it at any time, generally rendering the tokens worthless.

The holders of tiny Yeet Token appeared to be victims of a rugpull yesterday, with the coin’s social media channels shut down, its website vanished and its liquidity pool drained.

The coin’s subReddit, which has 2,400 “Yeeters,” was rife with recriminations yesterday.

“Really trusted what was happening. Thought this was different. Now I don’t know what to think. Disappointment and betrayed. Never putting a single dollar to a *hitcoin again, None of them can be trusted,” one person wrote.

“If someone can come off this legit and still rug then no community is immune.”

Still the Shiba Army appeared to be going strong on social media yesterday, with rapper Meek Mill yesterday tweeted to his 10 million followers that he was buying the meme coin.