Vitalik Buterin (VB for the cool kids) was just 20 years young when he published the whitepaper for Ethereum in 2013. His insights into the future of blockchain technology and Web3 are legendary; when he talks, people listen. And with an estimated net worth of $400+ million and over 200 different cryptocurrencies held in his public wallet alone, Buterin’s decisions can have a tremendous impact on the crypto markets.
So VB divested his holdings in several shitcoins last week adding that he "antiendorses" them.
“I anti-endorse these projects to the greatest extent”
Does Vitalik know something we don’t? Let’s observe.
The list included around 9.9 billion CULT tokens for roughly 58 ETH (~$90,000). The CULT token is an altcoin that powers the CultDAO, and it had been experiencing a significant price rally of nearly 100% in the days leading up to Buterin’s decision to sell. The market cap of CULT is ~$35 million at the time of writing.
According to blockchain analyst PeckShield, however, the price of CULT dropped around -13.7% when Vitalik cashed in, but it was already on a steep decline by that time. It is worth noting that Buterin did not sell all of his CULT tokens, only half of them; he still holds around 10 billion CULT.
Buterin also sold 3.4 million BITE tokens, the native token of DragonBite, which was labeled as a decentralized asset management platform and a “loyaltyfi product”. The sale netted him 5.9 ETH (around $9,250 at the time).The initial project developers posted on Twitter in November of 2022 that they’ve encountered significant setbacks due to the FTX collapse and have ceased operations.
However, there is still a strong community around the BITE token and surprisingly the token price responded with a massive rally from well below $0.005 to nearly $0.03 in under 24 hours. The market cap of BITE is ~$1.75 million at the time of writing.
In addition, VB divested his MOPS holdings, the native token of MopsToken, which refers to itself as a "doge-themed token project built on the Ethereum structure”. He sold 50 billion MOPS for around 1.24 ether (~$2,000 at the time).
As was the case with BITE, the price of MOPS actually went completely parabolic after Vitalik sold, from around $0.00000004 to $0.000001 in under 24 hours as the daily trading volume ballooned from an average $10-20 thousand per day to $1-3 million per day. While the price has dropped back down significantly, there have still been healthy gains since Vitalik’s sale. The market cap of MOPS is ~$222 thousand at the time of writing.
Buterin’s biggest sale on March 7th wasn’t, however, any of those above. The Ethereum mastermind sold off 500 trillion SHIK tokens in three separate transactions for 380.3 ETH (~$600,000). Shikoku is a dog-themed memecoin that, on its website, bills itself simply as a decentralized experiment based around community development. The market cap of SHIK is ~$2.6 million at the time of writing.
Unfortunately for SHIK holders, the same effect wasn’t witnessed in the token price as was seen with BITE and MOPS. The price of SHIK dropped significantly and has yet to recover.
In total, the dollar amount VB received from his memecoin sale was just under $700,000.
So why did he decide to dump? Well, he didn’t exactly mince words.
While he mentioned BITE by name, clearly he was also throwing shade at the many other lower market cap projects that are discussed on the forum in question, r/Testingtesting62831, including MOPS, CULT, and SHIK.
How did he get so many tokens from projects he clearly doesn’t support? During an appearance on the Lex Fridman podcast, VB shared an amusing story about how he became the recipient of numerous "shitcoins" (again, his words). According to Buterin, the first instance of someone sending him a new token occurred in 2014, shortly after he launched Ethereum. A new project had just created a token and decided to send 5% of the total supply to Buterin's Ethereum address as a gift. At first, Buterin was excited about receiving the gift and decided to hold onto it. However, he soon noticed that other projects were following suit, and he was receiving new tokens on a regular basis. Somewhere along the way this wholesome engagement turned into a marketing tactic by projects looking for any way to get more attention to their token – they would send VB’s wallet a portion of their supply, assuming he wouldn’t sell it, and then advertise that Vitalik was a holder and therefore believed in their token.
This is why Vitalik probably doesn’t feel bad about selling them, even though he would be well aware that his actions create price depreciation and liquidity issues for the tokens and their holders. For the sake of completeness, we need to mention that sometimes he also donates them. In 2021 Vitalik donated over $1 billion worth of gifted dog-themed tokens to the India Covid Relief Fund and a range of other charities in a single transaction.