What Is a Shitcoin?
There are two kinds of people who want to know what a shitcoin is. The first is a person who hears “shitcoin” all over the place: “that’s a shitcoin!” and “stop shilling your shitcoins,” but they don’t know exactly what it means for something to be a shitcoin. The other kind of person gets the idea of what a shitcoin is, but doesn’t know which cryptocurrencies are shitcoins and which aren’t. So for those who give a shit, here are some definitions.
There are several definitions out there.
The Urban Dictionary defines a shitcoin as "a great way to lose money" and "a cryptocurrency with no utility or unique features." In other words, a shitcoin is a cryptocurrency that will someday be worth less than the Billfodl wallet you're using to secure it.
Investopia provides a detailed definition, saying that a shitcoin is "a pejorative term used to describe an altcoin that has become worthless. Shitcoin value may disappear because interest failed to materialize, because the altcoin itself was not created in good faith, or because the price was based on speculation." This article then continues to break down 'shitcoin' more with another 500 words of description and analysis.
In contrast to that, in a Hodler's Digest blog post, Mr. Hodl succinctly states that a shitcoin is "a cryptocurrency that is equivalent to a piece of shit."
A Quora poster calls it an "altcoin which is considered worthless due to the lack of product or useful features in the development of its blockchain. While shitcoins are considered worthless, that doesn’t necessarily stop them from going 'to the moon'".
Tell me which cryptocurrencies are "shitcoins"
Nothing in this article is financial advice. I am not a financial adviser. Please consult a professional financial adviser if you're looking for financial advice.
Truth be told, the definitions above are all pretty good. But in the end, 'shitcoin' is really an opinion. Everybody has one, right? Decryptionary raises the white flag and just defines a shitcoin as "any cryptocurrency that is disliked by the person talking about it." And even that has some merit. Some people think that all cryptocurrencies are shitcoins.
Take Noriel Roubini, an American economist who teaches at New York University's Stern School of Business. In October of 2018, the term 'shitcoin' actually entered United States Senate testimony at the Banking Committee, thanks to Roubini's 37 page assessment titled, "Crypto is the Mother of All Scams and (Now Busted) Bubbles While Blockchain Is The Most Over-Hyped Technology Ever, No Better than a Spreadsheet/Database."
In his testimony, he uses "shitcoin" and "shitcoins" each one time before making a minor note of apology to the senate for doing so and citing a google search as evidence of the term's as nomenclature in the cryptocurrency space.
So back to the question. Which cryptocurrencies are shitcoins? Is Bitcoin a shitcoin? Noriel Roubini thinks so. Is Litecoin a shitcoin? The creator of Litecoin, Charlie Lee, thinks so - the best shitcoin out there. Is Ethereum a shitcoin? BitMex calls Ether a "double digit shitcoin."
For every cryptocurrency, there will be a debate over whether or not it's a shitcoin. In reality, Father Time will have the final say over whether or not any given cryptocurrency is a shitcoin. And in many cases, he has already spoken, as countless projects have already died, gone to zero, and been abandoned entirely. For many others, the days are numbered.
Origins of shitcoin
Where the term "shitcoin" came from in the world of cryptocurrency and when it became popular is a mystery. But it very likely began shortly after Bitcoin was born in 2008-2009. Bitcoin, shitcoin! The earliest mention of the term "shitcoin" on the BitcoinTalk discussion board was on a post dated November 02, 2010, 10:21:57 PM. The earliest mentions of "shitcoin" on reddit popped up 7 years ago, in 2011. And according to Google Analytics, there was little to no interest in the word until 2017-18 during the cryptocurrency boom.
Today, the word shitcoin is tossed around referring to cryptocurrencies like boats in an ocean. It's forever a part of the cryptocurrency space. There's just something about it, as Eric Lombrozo explains, the word just has that viral ring to it which allows it to dominate.
TechCrunch recently wrote an article roasting Coinbase for adding shitcoins in an article that headlines as "Coinbase abandons its cautious approach yet links as "coinbase-dabbles-in-shitcoins."
Now let's put shitcoins to rest for now by enjoying some shitcoin tweets together with some shitcoin music.