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Top 5 meme coins: Which are the largest by market cap?

By Nicole Willing

Edited by Alexandra Pankratyeva

11:33, 6 January 2022

Communication technologies for internet business. Global world network and telecommunications on earth cryptocurrency, blockchain and IoT. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.
Top 5 meme coins: Which are the largest by market cap? – Photo: Shutterstock

Meme coins shot to prominence in 2021, as they gained popularity on social media and responded to comments by influencers like Tesla CEO Elon Musk. 

Dogecoin touched off the meme coin craze, skyrocketing by more than 15,000% at its peak in May, and remains one of the most popular meme coins. 

What are meme coins and could they still be an attractive investment? We take a look at the top five meme cryptocurrency coins by market capitalisation as a starting point for your research.

Meme tokens

What makes a cryptocurrency a meme coin?

Meme coins are cryptocurrencies based on viral Internet memes. Dogecoin was created in 2013 as a satire on the emergence of numerous cryptocurrencies vying to compete as alternatives to bitcoin (known as altcoins). Dogecoin adopted the image of a Shiba Inu dog used in a popular Internet meme as its logo. 

The value of dogecoin remained below $0.01 until early 2021 when cryptocurrencies surged in popularity. Its rapid rally in the first few months of the year inspired other dog-themed cryptocurrencies such as shiba inu and floki inu

These meme tokens have strong social media communities that aim to keep them decentralised, unlike bitcoin, which has seen mining become centralised among a small number of miners with large computing farms.

Which meme coins have gained the most value?

Top 5 meme coins by market capitalisation 

The top trending meme coins by market cap according to CoinMarketCap as of 5 January were dogecoin, shiba inu, dogelon mars, samoyedcoin and monacoin.

Top 5 meme coins by market cap

Dogecoin (DOGE)

The first of the meme coins to gain mainstream attention, dogecoin was created as a joke by co-founders Billy Markus, a software engineer from IBM, and Jackson Palmer, a software engineer from Adobe. They are no longer involved in the project directly. The surge in the coin’s popularity in 2021 saw the developer foundation which dissolved in 2014 reformed to support the development of the ecosystem and work on upgrades. 

The dogecoin protocol is based on Luckycoin, which is no longer operational but was a hard fork, or split, from the Litecoin blockchain. Dogecoin supply is not capped, so there are more than 132.67bn coins in circulation. The low price has made the currency popular for small transactions, such as tips on social media platforms.

Dogecoin’s popularity on social media makes it prone to large price swings, especially in response to various attempts by users on apps like TikTok and Reddit to collectively drive up the price, causing large spikes. 

Dogecoin gained attention after Elon Musk posted a series of tweets in which he referred to it as “the people’s crypto”. The price rallied ahead of Musk’s appearance on the Saturday Night Live show in the US and subsequently crashed when he called it a “hustle”.

The dogecoin price when it launched in 2013 was $0.000232, giving it a peak gain of 317,831%. With a market capitalisation of $21.4bn, dogecoin was the world’s 12th largest cryptocurrency at the time of writing (5 January).

The use of dogecoin has evolved beyond a fun meme. It is now being accepted by some merchants for payment and investors are incorporating the coin into their cryptocurrency portfolios. More than 1,900 merchants now accept doge as payment, according to Cryptowerk.

Dogecoin (DOGE) all-time performance

Shiba Inu (SHIB)

The popularity of dogecoin inspired the launch of a slew of other dog-themed cryptocurrency coins. Shiba Inu was launched in August 2020 by anonymous developers and touted as the “dogecoin killer” that would overtake dogecoin in value. The coin runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is focused on developing its strong decentralised community known as the Shib Army.

The anonymous founder Ryoshi locked 50% of the coin’s one quadrillion supply on the Uniswap exchange and sent the other half to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Buterin burned 90% of the coins he was sent and donated the remaining 10% to a Covid-19 relief fund in India, stating in a note attached to a blockchain transaction that he did not want “power of that kind”.


0.62 Price
+6.010% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168


64,601.70 Price
-0.350% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00


377.35 Price
-2.740% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 2.50


0.12 Price
-2.210% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.0012872

The SHIB token price soared from $0.00000006 in early April to a high of $0.0000388 on 10 May. The price then retreated as cryptocurrency prices fell, remaining rangebound until October when it rallied again and reached a new high of $0.00008845 on 28 October. The price has since dropped back to the $0.00003 level, but with 549 trillion coins in circulation, shiba inu had a market capitalisation of $16.8bn, making it the 13th largest cryptocurrency as of 5 January.

Shiba Inu (SHIB) all-time performance

Dogelon mars (ELON)

Launched in April 2021, the dogelon mars coin plays on several cryptocurrency memes at once. It refers to dogecoin and Elon Musk, while Mars is a reference to the meme that coins rallying quickly in price will go “to the moon”.

Like other meme coins, dogelon mars has an anonymous development team. It also has a large token supply, with one quadrillion created and 555.6 billion in circulation. As with the shiba inu coin, the rest of the coins were sent to Vitalik Buterin’s wallet for burning.

Dogelon mars is an Ethereum-based coin and data from Whalestats shows that an anonymous buyer purchased $1.28m worth of coins at the end of November, driving up the price. 

The ELON price peaked at $0.000003289 on 16 November, from the launch price of $0.00000018. The price slipped to $0.000001206 on 26 November and rose to $0.000001726 on 30 November in response to the large purchase. At the start of the new year, the coin was trading around $0.0000015-0.0000016.

Dogelon mars (ELON) all-time performance

Samoyedcoin (SAMO)

Another of the new meme coins using dog icons, Samoyedcoin is a mascot and community ambassador for the Solana blockchain. The samoyed breed of dog originates from Eastern Europe, as does Solana’s co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko. The coin also plays on the name of FTX exchange founder and chief executive officer and Solana supporter Sam Bankman-Fried. It aims to bring new users to Solana as an alternative to the Ethereum blockchain.

The coin launched in April 2021 and 12% of the maximum supply was airdropped to community members. In July, a 54% burn plan was initiated, with 500 million coins burnt on a random day each month.

From its launch the SAMO price largely traded between $0.001 and $0.005, then spiked to $0.246 on 29 October for a 1,200% gain. It dropped back to $0.08057 on 3 November before spiking again to $0.2163 on 6 November. The price declined again in December to trade around $0.03 at the start of January. 

Samoyedcoin (SAMO) all-time performance

Monacoin (MONA)

Monacoin is a Japanese peer-to-peer payment network that is based on the popular ASCII art character Mona. It was created in December 2013 by an anonymous developer named Mr. Watanabe posting on the 2channel online bulletin board. Mr. Watanbe reportedly introduced monacoin as a type of game currency, modelled after Japanese video games that have their own currencies.

Monacoin developed a strong online following in Japan and gained attention when it was used to buy a plot of land.

The MONA price traded at an all-time high of $20.23 on 6 December 2017, and subsequently fell in 2018, trading below $1. There were a few price spikes in 2019 and 2020, but the strongest rally came in April 2021 when the price reached $4.36. The MONA price then fell back again and was trading around $1.20 at the start of 2022.

Monacoin (MONA) all-time performance

Considering meme coins as investments, you should note that they are highly volatile and can quickly lose momentum as speculative interest moves on to other coins. 

They are prone to rapid price spikes that can generate large returns, but also plunge rapidly during selloffs. Whether you decide to invest in meme coins and which ones you choose will depend on your personal risk tolerance. You should do your own research and never invest more than you can afford to lose.


Are meme coins a good investment?

Meme coins are volatile and largely driven by hype than fundamental value behind the project, which makes them risky investment options.

Which new meme coins have growth potential?

The meme coins that have the potential to grow in the coming year and beyond are those that build strong online communities and use cases.

Markets in this article

Adobe Systems Inc (Extended Hours)
564.80 USD
-1.29 -0.230%
Bitcoin / USD
64601.70 USD
-228.95 -0.350%
DogeCoin / USD
0.1233429 USD
-0.002765 -2.210%
Ethereum / USD
3422.05 USD
-22.91 -0.670%
IBM Corp (Extended Hours)
187.14 USD
2.06 +1.110%

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