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What is the Shiba Inu cryptocurrency?

Decrypt Editor-in-Chief Dan Roberts breaks down what crypto investors need to know about Shiba Inu.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, we're going to keep talking about crypto, especially Bitcoin, which is down to about $55,000. Remember that old ad in the '70s-- when EF Hutton talks, people listen? Well, they're out of business. So when Jamie Dimon talks, you better listen.

JAMIE DIMON: I personally think that Bitcoin is worthless. But I don't want to be a [INAUDIBLE]. I don't care. It makes no difference to me.

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, we're going to bring in the editor-in-chief from Decrypt, Dan Roberts. You know him well. And Dan, what did you think about what Jamie Dimon was saying? Because he was saying personally, but on the other hand, people want to buy this, and there's absolute value in the asset. People are trading it.

DAN ROBERTS: That's right, Adam, and not just people want to buy this, but specifically, our clients. He said our clients disagree with him. And he has contradicted himself a few times over the years. I mean, he has always remained negative and bearish on Bitcoin personally, but at one point, he was calling it a fraud and a scam. And a couple of years later, he came out and said, I regret calling it a fraud. So he, at least, pulled back on that. Now he's still out there calling it worthless.

But not only do some JPM clients disagree, the company separately has put out notes suggesting that it has interest in not just blockchain, but also in certain crypto assets. So I think there are a lot of people at JPM, as a company, who do not agree with what their chief has said publicly. And of course, you know, the idea of blockchain, but not Bitcoin is nothing new. We've heard that from banking people for years. In 2018, that was the big narrative, is you heard banks and also other traditional financial institutions coming out and saying, you know, crypto, we see is very risky. It's highly volatile, not interested. But we like blockchain. We like the idea of using blockchain.

And in the last year or so, as Bitcoin and Ethereum and other top crypto assets have really surged because of the pandemic and, you know, because of the actions of the Fed, you have started to hear less of that. So he's become an anomaly. You've started to hear less of blockchain, not Bitcoin, and you've seen the pendulum swinging back to, actually, Bitcoin is pretty interesting.

ADAM SHAPIRO: And also, there may be a bit of, we fear that which we don't totally understand, which sets me up to help us understand why anybody would buy the Shiba-- is it pronounced Shiba-- Inu coin? Because it was a picture of a cute puppy that Elon Musk put out. And yet, you think he would buy this thing?

DAN ROBERTS: Well, so first of all, let's explain. I mean, everyone by now knows about Dogecoin. And Doge is sort of this original, at this point, OG, joke cryptocurrency. It was [INAUDIBLE] just as a meme, and yet the price has surged. Elon Musk has repeatedly pumped the price of Doge. But now more recently, you've got SHIB, Shiba Inu. And of course, the original internet meme of Doge is a Shiba Inu dog.

And so Elon Musk put out a picture of his new Shiba Inu puppy and said, the name is Floki. And you had the creation of a number of new joke coins, including there's Floki Coin and Floki Frunk Puppy. But of course, it's important to distinguish that a lot of people think that SHIB was really on the rise, if you look at the data, before Musk's tweet.

Now, of course, I do think his tweet added to the pumping of this other joke coin because now it's number 12 by market cap of all cryptocurrencies. But this wasn't a case where it was just all Elon Musk. And in fact, if you look at OnChain data, something like 700,000 different wallets now hold Shiba Inu. So it's a joke, but it's not a joke. When the price goes up so much, there are some people who bought it and flipped it and made real money. So, you know, sometimes people point to those things, and they think that it reduces the legitimacy of the whole crypto space. I don't necessarily agree.

ADAM SHAPIRO: And help us understand this one because no joke here-- Skynet, also known as Facebook, was going to create a wallet for all of us. There was the Libra. Then there was going to be-- what did they call it-- Libra Diem and then Novi. The big news, though, is that Andreessen Horowitz-- and they're investors. Weren't they going to develop this with Facebook? They hired away two key people. What does that tell us?

DAN ROBERTS: Right, I mean, it's hard to look at this news, Adam, of Andreessen Horowitz hiring two of the top people at Facebook's, you know, Diem project as Andreessen Horowitz crypto partners. You know, a16z crypto has gotten very big. It's hard to look at that news and not see this as the continued gutting, the continued exodus of Facebook's crypto ambitions.

I mean, let's rewind. And remember, that when Facebook first announced Libra-- and by the way, it kept saying it's not just us. This is a consortium. But Facebook was leading it, and Facebook Messenger exec David Marcus was the public spokesperson. They said Libra was going to be a new global digital currency pegged to a basket of other multiple Fiat currencies. Then Congress didn't like it. They testified, they pulled back on the plans, they rebranded it from Libra to Diem. And they changed the name of the wallet from Calibra to Novi.

And now just recently, in August, David Marcus came out and said, our wallet product is ready for the market. Well, where is it? And now it looks like all that Diem is going to be is a US stablecoin pegged to the dollar, which we have a lot of those already. So maybe the project still exists, maybe something is going to launch. But a lot of people have left. And there is an irony now in seeing one of the backers that hypothetically is still on the board of the Diem Association plucking two prominent people from the project. But maybe that's because they want to keep better tabs on what it's up to and make sure that it's a success?

ADAM SHAPIRO: You know, I look forward to the day when Zuckerberg's trying to sell that wallet, and he says, well, it's got electrolytes, to quote the movie "Idiocracy." Dan Roberts, Decrypt editor-in-chief, we appreciate your being here. We'll see you soon, buddy.