“The” – is the most-used word in the English language. We even used it thrice in that sentence. And now it – THE – is the meme coin ticker for a project called The Protocol.

Why are we mentioning it? Partly because The Protocol is inspired by something Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin said, “$THE” keeps popping up in our Twitter feed and, given the latest surge of Dogecoin, plus the historically wild success of Shiba Inu (SHIB), we’re very tentatively intrigued.

Warning, whack on the virtual sewage suit for this delve into sh*tcoin territory. It’s super risky stuff – many if not most meme coins (including The Protocol) are likely bound to fail, or at best pump and very quickly dump – and, naturally, absolutely none of this is financial advice.


The idea behind ‘THE’

In mid October, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin made a tweet, jokingly suggesting the creation of a meme coin called “THE Protocol”. It was based on the premise of “the” being a frequently used word, which would in theory give founders the chance to claim their coin is being spoken about every time anyone prominent uses the words “the protocol”.

Flippant idea? Absolutely, and perhaps he didn’t expect anything to come of it. But within hours, various un-doxxed developers reportedly had coins with this name ready to go and ready for trading. (Yep, it really takes piss-all effort to create a basic crypto, it seems.)

Now the dust has settled, the leading contender from that lot appears to be “The Protocol”, now listed on CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap with a market cap of already more than US$10.25 million. According to Dextools it also appears to have more than US$423k in liquidity and more than 5,740 holders, at present, too.

As Vitalik later added…

Can THE (which, by the way is an anagram of ETH) gain even a fraction of some DOGE or SHIB-like momentum (see below)? Pure hopium?

It behooves us to admit that there’s really only the slimmest sliver of chances of that happening – especially with the uncertainty that remains in the market still, given the macro-induced sword of Damocles.

That said, we’re beginning to see the odd large-ish influencer mention $THE, possibly as part of an attempt to stir the pot. @DogeCoin Ride (almost 500k Twitter followers), and @LilMoonLambo (179.2k followers), for instance…

Also, there’s clearly some concerted, coordinated effort going on behind the scenes with money and connections. While Coinhead hasn’t received a press release regarding The Protocol, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance AND Business Insider all have…


Per the release, regarding The Protocol, its decentralisation and apparent-burning mechanics gives it sway with “the DeFi community”:

“The token that was chosen by the DeFi community was one of the most simple; A zero-tax token with burned liquidity with a renounced contract. This means that nobody can tamper with the contract or remove liquidity, nor is there an owner of the project. True decentralisation.”

Buterin is also said to have “liked” one of $THE community member’s tweets.

Meanwhile, The Protocol is also apparently in the process of being officially audited by blockchain security firm Certik.



What the meme is a meme coin?

If you’ve read this section of Stockhead before, you’ll likely know what a meme coin is. But very simply, they’re cryptocurrencies inspired by viral internet japery and oddity.

Think Dogecoin (DOGE), think Shiba Inu (SHIB), think just about every other canine- or animal-themed crypto. And think, er, Memecoin (MEME), too.

Often created as jokes or even just shameless copycats of each other, they can very occasionally, given the right frothy circumstances, make it big and push somewhat into the mainstream.

With Elon Musk’s help, DOGE has done exactly that and seems to have cemented itself a future in the crypto majors. And spectacularly riding off those coattails, so has “Dogecoin killer” SHIB (ranked #14 by market cap on CoinGecko).


SHIB happened… just a reminder

These sorts of Shiba Inu stats never cease to amaze, so here’s a reminder of just what that coin achieved. In fact, nothing in crypto quite comes as close.

Created in August 2020 as an Ethereum-based token by a group or individual known as Ryoshi, SHIB’s price on January 1 2021 was roughly a zero-tastic US$0.00000000008.

If you’d had any inkling spending even as little as US$10 on this thing was a good idea back then, you’d have bagged yourself about 125 billion SHIB tokens.

Let’s pretend you went on holidays or just couldn’t be bothered checking your crypto portfolio for six months. By the end of June that year, you’d have been sitting on more than US$1.1 million worth of SHIB.

Even better, if for some reason you managed to hold on and then sell at the coin’s October 28, 2021 peak, you’d have made US$10.23 million from that US$10 investment. Even if you’d inexplicably HODLed on to those coins till now, they’d still be worth more than US$1.46m.

B… but aside from making  ridiculously forward-thinking people billionaires, what does SHIB do? Does it even matter at this point? Guess it does if you plan to invest in it from here.

In a nutshell, beyond its foundational currency SHIB, Shiba Inu is building its very own ecosystem of tokens and sub-projects, including DeFi-based protocols, on the strength of Ethereum’s blockchain security.

And it’s backed by what appears to be a very loyal community of holders – clearly hoping for bull-market froth to return once again.