While multi-billion dollar disasters like FTX would lead a reasonable person to believe that the cryptocurrency industry is dead or dying, the unfortunate truth is that it’s doing just fine. Not only has Bitcoin’s market price been on a familiar rollercoaster ride lately, but droves of crypto believers have, in recent weeks, proven themselves willing invest in some of the most ridiculous projects ever.

Case in point: the Slerf token. Slerf is a sloth-themed memecoin that skyrocketed in value over the weekend, leading to some $1.7 billion in trading volume. Slerf, which appears to be based around a made-up character, “Slerf the sloth,” was created by an anonymous developer, @slerfsol. The Slerf project, which was announced just days ago, swiftly gained a huge following and hefty financial in-flows, only for a reported technical issue to destroy some initial investment funds. Indeed, according to the developer behind the project, a technical foible accidentally evaporated $10 million of early investors’ money.

“I burned the LP and the tokens that were set aside for the airdrop,” @slerfsol posted on X on Monday. “Mint authority is already revoked so I can not mint them. There is nothing I can do to fix this. I am so f—ing sorry.”

“This is not a joke I really f****d up and im really sorry. Was a simple mindless misclick when I was in the process of burning the the lp,” he subsequently posted.

I am not well-versed enough in Web3 jargon to know how this works, so I won’t even attempt to explain what any of that means. Some online have accused the whole thing of being a marketing gimmick to attract attention to @slerfsol’s memecoin project. Others have called it a scam. Still others have said it appears to have been a genuine goof-up.

At any rate, Slerf is actually a lot less interesting than the new industry trend that it represents. That trend—which is currently sweeping the Solana ecosystem—involves what are known as “memecoin presales,” in which crypto assets are pre-sold to interested investors before the project is even launched. Crypto presales are nothing new. However, unlike previous iterations of this setup, memecoin sales often involve little to no official documentation about what the crypto project entails. Coindesk notes that, in some cases, they lack even the basic vestiges of context—stuff like “a working product, a white paper, a long-term plan or even a meme picture,” and that a “simple post on X” can attract millions in investment.

In other words: The presale model would seem to suggest that crypto zealots’ standards are the lowest they’ve ever been. There was a time when Web3 denizens took themselves seriously enough to DYOR, or “do your research.” before investing in projects. The “white paper,” while often little more than a marketing gimmick, was supposed to be the stamp of seriousness that marked a stable investment opportunity. Now, the new model appears to be: Let’s just send online strangers huge sums of money because their meme is cool.

To be clear: There’s no evidence that Slerf is a scam and, from a certain perspective, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do—which is generate market value via buzzy FOMO. At one point, Slerf surged from an initial price of 3 cents to a high of $1.4. That said, the industry model that Slerf is a part of would seem to engender itself to scams. In fact, it’s basically a recipe for endless rug pulls.

The crypto world, itself, has openly acknowledged this. Cointelegraph notes that some of the soberer crypto minds have warned that the trend signals “peak degeneracy” in the market, a sign that people are about to get scammed left, right, and center. One crypto user pessimistically joked:

Another commented: “This meme coin mania is merely a more honest version of the 2017 ICO [initial coin offering] craze and the 2021 NFT/crypto-art bubble… Projects no longer have to pretend to deliver on a fake white-paper and investors no longer have to pretend to be in it for the art.”

In short: While it’s true that crypto isn’t dead, it might be in a period of serious decay. Like other parts of the web, it’s done with its classy glowup and is now in its nihilistic debauchery phase. 

Source link