For the Love of the Lolz: The Wild History of Meme Coins

For the Love of the Lolz: The Wild History of Meme Coins

Ever since crypto swaggered into our lives in 2009, it has revolutionized the way we think about money. Now that we’re used to digital currency, it’s meme coins that have changed how we think about crypto.

Meme coins are built on jokes and satire, but their place in the tangible world is no laughing matter.

They boast genuine investment opportunities and some have spun out a handful of millionaires, all despite having no real use cases, i.e. digital contracts or powering digital platforms.

The value of meme coins is driven by their communities, and their role in day-to-day life is increasingly paramount, like gambling at meme coin casinos and buying gadgets online. 

From a certain fluffy dog to quirky anthropomorphic frogs to space missions, founders shrouded in mystery, and (surprise!) millionaires, the origin stories of meme coins range from a hearty “lol” to a head-scratching “WTF”. But all are magnificent (and kinda weird) in their own right.

Let’s dive down the rabbit hole of meme coins history. 


Dogwifhat (WIF) is one of the newest meme coins on the block that more or less exploded out of nowhere, based on the adorable internet meme of a Shiba Inu wearing a pink hat.

Launched on the Solana blockchain back in November 2023, it quickly turned into the talk of the internet. By March 2024, crypto enthusiasts were buzzing because WIF hit an all-time high of $4.83, and its market cap surpassed $4 billion, especially after Binance adopted the coin.

Further proving its reach, recent crypto news reported that a community of Dogwifhat enthusiasts successfully raised $690,000 to promote the coin. The meme coin’s pink beanie-wearing dog mascot will be on the Sphere in Las Vegas, making Dogwifhat a dog-wif-third place in meme coin market caps in April 2024.  

Pepe Coin

A picture of Pepe the Frog is on a phone case surrounded by smaller pictures of himself and all are on top of a light orange background.

Pepe Coin (PEPE) joined the scene in April 2023, built on the Ethereum blockchain. It was inspired by the “Pepe the Frog” meme, originally seen in Matt Furie’s comic book back in 2005.

Despite being a joke with no real “purpose” behind it, Pepe Coin shot through the roof, soaring to a $1.8 billion market cap in just a month. That’s a mind-boggling 7,000% jump!

When Pepe first launched, the coin was all about giving back to the community of holders.

Every time someone bought, sold, or transferred Pepe Coin, a small fraction of the transaction was sliced off and distributed evenly among everyone who owned the token. The goal was to build a community where each member gets a piece of the action and feels like they’re part of the fun.

However, PEPE has mixed up its playbook since then, and it’s up in the air if they’re still rolling with that idea, or if they’re shifting permanently into a more traditional meme coin role: mostly for the lolz.


Born in the crypto winter of 2022, Solana was a beacon of light when they unleashed one of their most successful Solana meme coins on their blockchain, featuring another Shiba Inu. This dog gets around.

The meme coin features the dog from the famous memes where a Shiba Inu “bonks” another Shiba Inu on the head in a playful reprimand. 

As far as meme coins history goes, Bonk had the community going bonkers.

On Christmas Day, Solana was feeling festive and they released a surprise airdrop of Bonk for their community. 50% of its 100 trillion tokens were randomly gifted to various unassuming, and utterly shocked, community members. Some of them became Bonk millionaires thanks to the gift.

Immediately following was an astronomical rise in growth, catapulting Bonk to social media stardom and earning its nickname “The Dog Coin of the People.”

Shiba Inu

Four Shiba Inu dog faces are surrounding a purple phone on top of a light orange background.

The Shiba Inu (SHIB) coin popped up in August 2020, thanks to some mysterious person or group named “Ryoshi.”

It was inspired by the same Doge meme as Dogecoin with the adorable Shiba Inu face, but this time, it was meant to rival it, being deemed the “Dogecoin killer”… dun dun dun.  

Unlike its nemesis, Shiba Inu is built on the Ethereum blockchain, which means it’s not just about cute memes; it has use cases, too, like enabling smart contracts.

When it first started, there were a whopping one quadrillion Shiba Inu tokens roaming the digital world. Then, Ryoshi pulled a wild stunt and gave half of them to Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin.

Buterin donated a bunch to charity and burned most of the rest, which is crypto-speak for destroying them. The number of tokens in circulation was slashed to 549 trillion, as scarcity should help increase its value.


And now, ladies and gentlemen, we introduce the meme coin that started it all in 2013: Dogecoin.

Like the others, Dogecoin, tenderly nicknamed DOGE, sprung to life as a joke by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer.

They slapped a Shiba Inu dog meme on a digital coin to poke fun at the whole crypto craze. Funny thing is, it blew up into a cultural phenomenon. Who’d have thought the Shiba Inu coin could hit a market cap of over $85 billion in May 2021? It was just a prank, bro.

Nowadays, Dogecoin has a massive online following with a host of serious investors, which is largely egged on by celebrities pumping up the token in 2021, including Elon Musk, Snoop Dogg, and Gene Simmons.

Even SpaceX said they’d fund a moon mission with the token, deemed DOGE-1.

Aside from being the O.G. meme coin, Dogecoin has another special feature. There’s no limit to how many Dogecoins can exist. And people regularly use DOGE, like for tipping online or buying gear, gadgets, and games. 

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