Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has struck back at the doggy tokens that have capitalised on his name and clogged his network, dealing them a devastating $80 million “rugpull” that has sent the value of the memecoins plunging.

The 27-year-old Canadian billionaire early today dumped vast amounts of three dog-themed coins that had been sent to him in a weird attempt to garner attention or legitimacy.

Buterin sold 660 billion Shiba Inu (SHIB) tokens, 140 billion Akita Inu (AKITA) coins and 43 billion Dogelon Mars (ELON) tokens and removed 13,291 in wrapped ETH from the Uniswap exchange, creating a total of 15,719 in Ether, according to The Block. At A$5,143 per Eth, the transaction has a value of $80.8 million.

He then sent a total of 16,000 Ether ($83 million) to charity, including 13,292 Eth ($67 million) to Givewell, a charity assessment program; and 1,000 Eth ($5.1 million) to the Methuselah Foundation, which researches life extension.

Another 500 Eth and 10 per cent of his SHIB tokens were sent to Crypto Relief, a charity set up to help India deal with its coronavirus crisis.

The moves sent the prices of the token plunging. Dogelon was down 60 per cent this afternoon, while SHIB had fallen 19 per cent and Akita had dropped 7.9 per cent.

The 50 trillion SHIB tokens that Buterin sent to Crypto Relief have a face value of $1 billion, leading to some headlines that Buterin had donated $1 billion to charity. But good luck trying to sell that many SHIB tokens as Buterin drained the liquidity pool.

The simpler version

If all this is a bit confusing and technical… here’s some background for those new to cryptocurrencies.

Buterin is a billionaire because of the success of Ethereum, the No. 2 crypto, and as such, there’s always a lot of people trying to get his attention.

The founder of the SHIB token, Ryoshi, sent 50 per cent of the total token supply to Buterin to “burn” it last year. (The SHIB token exists on the Ethereum network).

“There is no greatness without a vulnerable point and as long as VB doesn’t rug us, then SHIBA will grow and survive,” Ryoshi is quoted as saying on the Shiba Inu’s “woof paper” (a play on the “white papers” popular in the crypto community).

The Shiba Inu clones, like Akita Inu, followed Ryoshi’s lead. If SHIB can be considered a knockoff of Dogecoin, these tokens were knockoffs of knockoffs.

(Buterin made the mistake of revealing his Ethereum address in 2018, so developers of meme coins can send Buterin their tokens on the permissionless network.)

Sending the tokens to Buterin may have been a safe move when the project was in its infancy, but Shiba Inu coin has had a meteoric rise in the past few weeks as traders try to find the “next Dogecoin”. It has jumped to become the No. 24 cryptocurrency with a total value of US$7.5 billion.

SHIB and similar meme coins have also bogged down the Ethereum network, sending transaction fees soaring. They were averaging US$65 this afternoon.

So having been handed the keys to the SHIB kingdom, Buterin apparently decided to take action against the doggy tokens.

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