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What is a Shitcoin?

The term ‘shitcoin’ is used to describe cryptocurrencies that lack genuine substance, value, and credibility. These digital coins are created with little or no innovative intent, often as a quick money-making scheme.


Furthermore, shitcoins can also be employed in a derogatory manner to characterize altcoins – cryptos that emerged following bitcoin’s popularity.

The name itself conveys the idea that these cryptocurrencies are worthless digital assets with no inherent value or utility. They tend to have limited liquidity, making them highly susceptible to wild price swings, often fueled by market manipulation and speculation.

Shitcoins are notable for their exaggerated marketing claims, lack of clear use cases, and teams made up of anonymous or inexperienced developers.

Key Features of Shitcoins

Shitcoins have unique characteristics that make them easy to spot. Their prices are often inflated to pump the price; this rapid increase comes right before a sudden price decline, leaving investors with worthless coins.

Below are some key characteristics of shitcoins:

  • Creation: Shitcoins are often created in haste and with minimal effort. For instance, a creator with basic coding skills can fork an existing blockchain, tweak a few parameters, and launch their coin. Alternatively, they may build a new blockchain from scratch, but lack of innovation is a common denominator.
  • Marketing Hype: Shitcoin creators frequently employ aggressive marketing tactics to attract investors. They employ influencers who make audacious claims about revolutionary technology, high returns, or unique features that are often untrue. This creates a buzz around the coin and inflates its value.
  • Pump-and-Dump Schemes: One of the most common tactics Shitcoin creators and promoters use is “pump-and-dump.” In this scheme, they artificially inflate the coin’s price by spreading false or misleading information, drawing in unsuspecting investors. Once the price reaches a certain level, they “dump” their holdings, causing the price to plummet and leaving other investors with significant losses.
  • Lack of Utility: Shitcoins typically lack a genuine use case or utility. They don’t offer any technology, product, or service that solves a real-world problem or improves upon existing solutions. Their primary purpose is to generate profits for their creators and early investors.
  • Short Lifespan: Shitcoins often have a short lifespan. After their initial hype and a quick profit for insiders, they fade into obscurity as investors realize the lack of substance. These coins rarely survive in the long term.
  • Security Risks: Shitcoins can pose security risks. Their code may contain vulnerabilities or backdoors that can be exploited by hackers.

Examples of Shitcoins

Let’s delve into some infamous examples of cryptocurrencies with little to no value.

  • BitConnect (BCC): The BitConnect platform is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme that enticed investors with promises of extraordinary returns through a lending program. In 2018, it faced a dramatic collapse, resulting in substantial financial losses for investors.
  • Dogecoin (DOGE): Initially created as a joke in late 2013, dogecoin gained popularity and became the most popular meme coin due to viral memes. However, it lacks a defined practical purpose, making it a subject of high speculation.
  • Useless Ethereum Token (UET): As the name implies, UET was created in 2017 as an experiment to determine whether people would invest in a coin with no inherent purpose. Surprisingly, some did, shedding light on the speculative nature of the crypto market.
  • OneCoin: It is a fraudulent financial scheme rooted in cryptocurrency orchestrated by OneCoin Ltd. and OneLife Network Ltd. These companies were established by Ruja Ignatova, a Bulgarian citizen who vanished in 2017 after amassing a staggering $4 billion through the operation.
  • Pepe Coin (PEPE): It is an example of the wild price swing of this popular meme coin:
    • It debuted in April 2023 with a remarkable pump, soaring from $0.00000002764 to an all-time high of $0.000004345 in just two weeks.
    • This generated an impressive 563% return on investment (ROI) for early investors.
    • Nevertheless, the brief surge was followed by a sudden downturn in price, which saw it crash to 0.0000006232.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Shitcoins

While some investors may be tempted by the allure of quick riches, it’s essential to consider both the potential benefits and drawbacks before investing in the most prominent shitcoins.


  • High Volatility: Shitcoins are prone to dramatic price fluctuations, offering significant profit potential in a short time for those with well-timed investments.
  • Low Entry Cost: Shitcoins frequently come at a low cost, making them accessible to novice investors with a modest budget. This also allows investors to accumulate a substantial number, making it possible to acquire thousands of these tokens at a fraction of the cost compared to BTC. For example, the shiba inu (SHIB) presale price kicked off at $0.000000000056 when it launched on 28 November 2020.
  • Diversification: Adding shitcoins to your portfolio can diversify your crypto holdings, which might help mitigate risk in the face of market fluctuations. However, this is mostly applicable to investors with limited budgets. With as low as $100, an investor can purchase thousands of new shitcoins to their portfolio. Due to them being one of the most volatile cryptos, a small shift in price could result in explosive gains.


  • High Risk: Shitcoins are widely recognized for their high-risk nature. Many lack real-world utility, making their prices vulnerable to manipulation, rug pulls, and pump-and-dump schemes.
  • Lack of Transparency: Shitcoin projects are often shrouded in secrecy, making it difficult for investors to conduct proper due diligence. Without transparency, evaluating the coin’s legitimacy and long-term potential is challenging.
  • Security Risks: Shitcoins are vulnerable to security breaches and attacks. Most of these projects run on unaudited codes combined with their creators’ anonymity, making them susceptible to vulnerabilities. As an investor, it is crucial to thoroughly research and assess any cryptocurrency before investing to avoid potential pitfalls associated with shitcoins.
  • Limited Liquidity: Many shitcoins have low trading volumes, making it challenging to buy or sell large amounts without affecting the price adversely.

Shitcoins vs. Meme Coins

Shitcoins and meme coins are often confused due to their lack of utility.

However, there are nuanced differences in their purpose.

Meme coins

  • As the name implies, are cryptocurrencies created primarily for entertainment and satire.
  • They capitalize on internet trends, jokes, or viral phenomena, incorporating catchy names and logos inspired by popular internet culture.
  • Dogecoin (DOGE) began as a meme but garnered substantial attention and developed a dedicated community. Over time, it has gained value as a recognized form of payment in certain sectors.


  • On the other hand, they created to make a quick profit for their creators and early investors.
  • They often come with grandiose promises but fail to deliver tangible technology or solutions.

Shitcoins vs. Memecoins

The Bottom Line

Understanding what a shitcoin is and how it operates is crucial in the cryptocurrency space. While legitimate digital currencies have brought innovation and real-world utility, shitcoins remain a dark underbelly that threatens to tarnish the industry’s reputation.

For investors, it’s vital to exercise due diligence and conduct comprehensive research before investing in any cryptocurrency.

The crypto world is teeming with promise, yet it also harbors scams and dubious ventures, with shitcoins being a prime example.


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Jimmy Aki
Crypto & Blockchain Writer
Jimmy Aki
Crypto & Blockchain Writer

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Jimmy previously worked for BeInCrypto, Bitcoin Magazine, Decrypt, Cryptonews and other major publications. Alongside writing for Techopedia, Jimmy is also a trained economist, accountant and blockchain instructor with hands-on work experience in the financial sector.