How to Buy Shiba Inu (for Beginners)

Adventures of a Dilettante Doge-Mom

Photo by Petr Magera on Unsplash

A few months ago, I bought twelve dollars worth of Dogecoin at five cents per coin. I only did it to amuse my teenage son, who was making relentless fun of Doge bros. When I showed him the transaction, he started laughing hysterically and said, “You just threw away twelve dollars!” My husband said cheerfully, “Don’t tell your mom about Reddit memes. She’ll buy anything.” The two of them made jokes about buying me a garbage can where I could stash my money. Perhaps I’d like to keep my purse by the toilet? They started calling me Doge Mom. Which is like a Doge bro but with a more Scandinavian design sense and a cabinet full of Chardonnay.

Not long thereafter, I sold my Doge for 70 cents per coin. My son said, “That will teach you to listen to me. You should’ve bought $100.” I didn’t exactly make a killing, but in terms of ROI, it was fine. Investment isn’t only the money you put into a coin, but also the time and research it takes to open and fund an account to trade the coin. At the time I bought Dogecoin, I already had Coinbase, which I’d used to buy Ethereum in 2017 based on the recommendation of a dad I knew through little league, who later published a fun, informative book titled Confessions of a Crypto Millionaire. Coinbase, however, didn’t support Dogecoin, so I had to open an account on a different platform.

Now Dogecoin has been hovering at 29–37 cents per share for weeks. The much-anticipated Elon-on-SNL bump never happened. With Doge sitting dully on its haunches, speculators on the hunt for the next Doge recently started chasing Shiba Inu. A joke built upon a joke, Shiba Inu already created overnight Shiba millionaires thanks to a massive spike in May. A spike often cometh before a fall, especially in crypto-world, so anyone who held on, hoping to ride Shiba to some mythical quarter-cent, lost out on the quick gains. Currently trading at a teeny fraction of a cent — about .0000076 as of this writing — Shiba is so cheap almost anyone can buy it.

Okay, but why would I want to buy Shiba? you ask. Shiba is highly speculative, with a whiff of magic beans and fairy dust. So was Doge a few months ago. So were Bitcoin and Ethereum a few years ago.While Bitcoin and Ethereum may be here to stay, owning a lot of BTC or ETH is prohibitively expensive. Most of us sort of missed the boat on that one. For me, it’s just fun to own ten million of something, even if that something is wildly ephemeral — like paying to name a star. When you own ten million, you expect to get invited to the board meeting or at least get a fridge magnet. Maybe they’ll name a sandwich after you in the company cafeteria. We can all be Austin Powers for a minute.

Before we go any further, this is not a recommendation to buy Shibu. I am not a financial advisor. I probably know more about crypto than your grandma but less that your nieces and nephews.

When I first bought Shiba Inu at about .0000067 (plus more numbers, because Shibu is like pi…there are always more numbers, but also unlike pi, because the numbers are always changing), miner fees were high, and purchasing the coin required going down weird rabbit holes involving uniswap or binance. Do I sound like a legit Doge Mom yet? I went down the holes because chasing something new is a little thrilling. It’s like in the old days when you had to send away by airmail to get your Eurorail pass before you could backpack around Europe, and you had to arrange apartments by calling foreign phone numbers you found in Lonely Planet and the Village Voice, and you had to meet the apartment manager in a dodgy cafe down a dark alley with your American Express travelers checks. But crypto moves at the speed of light, and the old days of Shibu are less than a week ago.

Now it’s much simpler, not to mention incredibly cheap, to buy Shiba Inu (which trades as shib). It still takes a bit of effort, though. I’ve outlined the steps below. Please note I am not a licensed anything. I cannot give financial advice. I have a degree in English literature, an MFA in Creative Writing, and advanced certificates in forgetfulness and numerical confusion.

If you already have a Coinbase account, or any account with Ethereum in it, you can skip steps 1 and 2. If you already have a Coinbase Pro account, you can skip everything and just wait for Coinbase Pro to start allowing Shiba purchases, which they promise to do in the near future.

Note to beginners (if you’re reading this, I’m just going to assume you’re a beginner): Coinbase, Coinbase Wallet, and Coinbase Pro are related but not the same. Each requires you to create a separate account. Coinbase Pro has lower fees than Coinbase, but the Coinbase app is simpler and more intuitive than Coinbase Pro, which involves lots of charts and “trading pairs.” Shiba Inu is not supported on Coinbase. It is being rolled out in tiers on Coinbase Pro but is not at this moment available for deposit or purchase there. You can trade Shiba on Coinbase Wallet, provided your wallet already has some Ethereum in it.

Here’s what to do if you don’t have Coinbase Pro, or if you want to buy Shiba Inu now without waiting for Coinbase Pro to allow trading.

  1. Open a Coinbase account.
  2. Transfer money into your Coinbase account by ACH deposit. You can also wire money, but that incurs a hefty wire fee.
  3. Buy a little Ether with USD.
  4. Open a Coinbase Wallet account.
  5. Transfer Ethereum from your Coinbase account into Coinbase Wallet. (This step is necessary because you can’t buy Shiba with USD on Coinbase Wallet. You can only trade a supported coin for it).
  6. Click the three dots on your Ethereum page in your Coinbase Wallet, click “convert,” and choose Shiba as the coin you want to convert to.
  7. Before you click “proceed, you absolutely must click on “details” so you’ll know what the miner fees are. Just a week ago, miner fees could run $30 — $60 per transaction. As of this writing, miner fees are in the single digits.
  8. Remember that YOU CAN LOSE MONEY trading crytocurrency, just like you can lose money on any investment. Shiba is highly speculative! I cannot stress this enough: if the idea of losing what you put in gives you hives, do NOT buy Shiba Inu or any other coin!

Coinbase Pro announced that it would allow trading of Shiba on June 17, but as of this writing, Coinbase Pro isn’t allowing deposits or purchases of Shiba — only withdrawals. So the Coinbase > Coinbase Wallet > Ethereum-to Shiba method is still the most straightfoward and immediate. Sure you can do uniswap like I did, or you can follow directions online that tell you to open a Binance account only to realize that Binance US does not support Shibu while European based Binance.com does…or you can just save yourself the hassle and learn from my mistakes.

The weird thing about Shiba is that, unlike Bitcoin, it has no scarcity. I have’t yet found a clear explanation for why a thing without scarcity is worth buying. Shiba could be worth .000000 next week, or it could be worth .000009, or maybe there will even be one fewer zero after the decimal. Who knows? Shiba dreamers envision a world where Shiba reaches one cent. That’s where millionaires could ostensibly be made with a small initial investment. I think of buying Shiba Inu as similar to buying a lottery ticket, but it’s a lottery ticket that can resell for more or less than what you paid for it.

So I bought $100 of Shiba Inu. At worst it’s an investment in this article, my crypto knowledge, and hilarious dinner table conversation. At best it’s a new toaster, a cell service payment, or hell, maybe even college tuition (although I’d be fine with the toaster).

When I told my son over tacos last week that I’d bought Shiba Inu, he said, “You bought what?! Are you out of your mind?”After he picked himself up off the floor, he said, “Wait, should you buy more?”

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels and two story collections. Her books have been published in 30 languages. Her new novel, “a sharply written, subtly satirical thriller” (Publishers Weekly) set in Silicon Valley, will be published on July 6th by Grove Atlantic.

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New York Times bestselling author of THE MARRIAGE PACT — I help writers complete their first novels at Novelin9.com. Books at michellerichmond.com

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Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond

New York Times bestselling author of THE MARRIAGE PACT — I help writers complete their first novels at Novelin9.com. Books at michellerichmond.com