Shiba inu dog
Shiba inu dogYuki Cheung/EyeEm/Getty

The dogecoin-inspired cryptocurrency shiba inu jumped to its highest for the year on Monday amid a broader rally in meme coins.

The token gained 51.12% in 24 hours to stand at $0.00003492 by 1:11 p.m. ET, according to CoinMarketCap data. Shiba inu started in August 2020 as almost a copycat coin to dogecoin, the original meme cryptocurrency, and shot up in value by about 80,000 times in 2021, making it one of the top crypto stars of last year.

Other meme coins from dogecoin to floki inu also gained on Monday after suffering from a recent slump.

Digital assets including bitcoin and ether saw a massive sell-off in the past weeks as investors grappled with the prospect of aggressive monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve, causing investors to trim risky assets from their portfolios. This encouraged chatter about a "crypto winter" — a period in which prices stay depressed for a long time.

But shiba inu has been slowly staging a rebound, boosted by a couple of factors.

Over the weekend, the community behind the coin revealed a partnership with Welly's, a small fast-food chain in Naples, Italy. Welly's will accept the coin, launch non-fungible tokens, and initiate a full rebrand of the store to reflect the new joint venture, according to a February announcement by Shytoshi Kusama, the pseudonym of the coin's community leader.

And in late January, Kusama offered investors a sneak peek at a shiba inu metaverse project by posting an image from the "shibverse" on Twitter, triggering a rally in the meme coin. The team initially touted plans for a metaverse back in November in a blog post.

"Shiba inu has also developed a cult-like following in recent months, which has resulted in increased prices," Vladimir Kardapoltsev, CEO of PointPay, a blockchain-based financial ecosystem, said in a recent note. "According to Etherscan wallet addresses, the passionate SHIBArmy has grown to over 1 million hodlers, and Elon Musk's tweets have contributed to the project's growth."

The ethereum-based token, since its creation, remains a popular coin trade in ethereum wallets, based on data from WhaleStats.

Still, not everyone is as bullish on the meme coin trend. Daniel Polotsky, founder and chief advisor of CoinFlip, a network of bitcoin ATMs, has this warning for investors:

"When there is a bull market or market uptick, it's reasonable to assume that a speculative asset like shiba inu may see some quick returns," he told Insider. "However, realize the good times may end and those holding the bag filled with speculative assets can end up losing the most."

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