Crypto investors are trying to cash in on Queen Elizabeth’s death

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Cryptocurrency creators are looking for viral moments to make a quick buck.

They found it when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, creating a Will Smith digital currency. And again, when the Netflix show “Squid Game” gained worldwide fame, hitting the Squid Game coin.

Now it’s Queen Elizabeth’s turn.

In the days following the queen’s passing, more than 40 types of meme coins were minted, according to industry data and media reports. These forms of virtual currency are often created by anonymous people with access to coin-making websites – and a clever name idea. And they are known for their strong fluctuations in value.

This includes Queen Elizabeth Inu’s coin, which largely honors her death. and is built and available on various cryptocurrency platforms. The price of the coin is currently around $0.000003, after rising and falling almost 30,000% since its starting point. There’s also Long Live the Queen, a piece that ran out of steam a few hours after being hit.

Experts said most of these coins are usually a joke or a scam rather than legitimate forms of payment – ​​or even akin to gambling in the new decentralized world of the internet known as web3.

“It’s no different than people selling t-shirts outside Buckingham Palace,” said David Hsiao, managing director of crypto magazine Block Journal. “This is only the web3 version.”

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By most accounts, meme pieces originated around 2013, when an image of a talking Shiba Inu puppy called Doge gained viral fame. A pair of software engineers released a thematic digital currency called dogecoin, intending to satirize the cryptocurrency market.

But in 2021, as crypto grew in popularity, the industry started to boom. Notable figures, such as Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, have touted meme currency, like dogecoin, online.

Some currencies, like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, have resisted and are accepted by Tesla and GameStop as payment. Most, like Space Kim – a symbolic satire of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – are jokes and a risky investment with no tangible purpose.

Even bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that has been around for over a decade and is considered more mainstream, is subject to large swings in value. And the industry is largely unregulated, leaving it wide open to scams.

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Meme coins are often of limited value, with many costing less than a fraction of a penny. Their value has limited financial underpinnings and is often based on the belief that “other people will buy it from you for more than you paid,” said crypto reviewer and Web3 blogger Molly White.

“If it goes viral, that’s the best case scenario because…people see the price going up massively and so they want to buy it,” she said. “It makes sense that people would just wait for any topic they think has a chance of going viral so they can capitalize on it.”

For coins like the Queen Elizabeth Inu, price fluctuations can be sharp and rapid. The coin began trading hours before her death was announced as Buckingham Palace announced she was ill. Shortly after his death, the value of a coin was around $. 000185, according to crypto data site Dexscreener. By Friday afternoon, the coin had fallen even closer to zero.

But on crypto messaging app Telegram, where investors talk about the coin’s performance, some remain optimistic. “$50,000 is EASY with this coin! I believe that when the funeral takes place, this coin will bring in $500,000,” one person said. Another person was more blunt: “Funeral day is coming. FILL THESE BAGS,” they said.

In recent days, the tone of the channel, which has nearly 900 members, has changed.

“The queen and this token are dead,” one user wrote. “Let them rest in peace.” Others encourage patience as the price of the coin drops: “Guys! Trust the process!

The Telegram channel moderators did not return a request for comment.

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“People holding these tokens are trying to get other people to hold these tokens [and] I think the token will go up for some reason,” White said. “It’s in [their] higher interest.”

Crypto entrepreneurs have also created a slew of queen-themed non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, including God Save the Queen, a commemorative token that depicts colorful cartoons of the monarch holding a staff with the bitcoin logo. NFTs are digital tokens that essentially function as title deeds on the internet allowing owners to claim digital art, music, and photographs, and have also experienced large fluctuations in value.

Ethan McMahon, an economist for crypto research firm Chainalysis, said interest in Queen-related Web3 products had generated less interest than he had expected. For example, the NFT called RIP The Queen, which was released shortly after her death, was purchased by 1,817 people on day one, according to data from Chainalysis. Thursday morning, it fell to one. This comes as trades in major NFT markets hit all-time lows.

Queen-related coins and NFTs don’t appear to have any specific purpose beyond novelty, McMahon said. More importantly, there is less confidence in the broader cryptocurrency market than a year ago, when coin prices were exorbitant and additional revenue from pandemic stimulus funds gave people more disposable income to spend on similar investments.

“People probably don’t have the greatest belief in crypto right now, and maybe they don’t have the most enduring dollars or capital,” he said. “So things like this won’t get the same hype as they did about a year ago.”

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Despite this, critics, analysts, and crypto experts agree that the government needs to step in and regulate, especially given the scams that have occurred recently. In November, the creators of the Squid Game memecoin let it rise in value over 11 days to $2,860, then quit the project, dropping its price to near zero and walking away with $3.3 million in funding. investors.

White, who writes the Web3 Is Going Just Great blog, said viral cryptocurrencies have significant consumer protection flaws.

“With these meme tokens and things like that, there’s no level of disclosure or transparency about who’s behind it, what their goals are, or even who they are,” she said. “Whether [creators] had to get away with a token, there’s no way to know who they were, or to track them down and take legal action.

Block Journal’s Hsiao agreed, but noted that the money bad faith actors scam people is often not enough to attract the attention of government regulators.

“It’s definitely a great place for money hoarders,” he said.

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