Beyond The Hype: The Addictive Nature of Memecoins in Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency, once a niche interest, has now become a mainstream phenomenon, with the 2024 approval of a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund marking a significant milestone.  Millions worldwide are participating in trading various digital assets, extending beyond BTC to alt-coins like Ethereum (ETH).  Alt-coins currently boast a market capitalization of approximately $748 billion, excluding ETH, nearing their all-time high of $1.1 trillion in 2021.  Within the realm of alt-coins, there is a proliferation of memecoins, digital currencies that derive value primarily from online communities and viral popularity, rather than intrinsic value or technological innovation.  Memecoins such as Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, Pepe, Bonk, Wif, Jeo Boden, and numerous others have captivated the attention and investment of many, yet they also carry a set of dangers, chief among them being their addictive nature.


The Allure of Memecoins:

The allure of memecoins lies in their ability to harness the power of social media and internet culture.  Memecoins often originate as jokes or internet memes, gaining traction through online communities and celebrity endorsements.  Their rapid ascent in value can be captivating, enticing investors with the promise of swift and substantial returns.  Additionally, the sense of belonging to a community of like-minded individuals can create a compelling psychological pull, fueling the desire to invest more and ride the wave of excitement.  FOMO (fear of missing out) sets in, a psychological mechanism in crypto overwhelming individuals with fear and anxiety that they will miss out on potential profits or exciting opportunities if they do not invest.

One of the most prominent examples of this phenomenon is Dogecoin.  Originating in 2013 as a playful homage to the Shiba Inu dog, Dogecoin was initially conceived as a lighthearted and humorous cryptocurrency, devoid of serious ambitions.  However, despite its whimsical beginnings, Dogecoin garnered a devoted following and community.  Social media platforms fostered a vibrant community known as the "Dogecoin army," frequently rallying around the coin and advocating for its price to reach $1 per coin even when it was a fraction of a cent.

Dogecoin's popularity soared even higher with endorsements from celebrities like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Snoop Dogg, and several others.  This convergence of factors propelled its widespread adoption and eventual value appreciation in the cryptocurrency market, skyrocketing over 12,000% in just five months in early 2021.  Following Dogecoin's success, many other memecoins have emerged, each capitalizing on the viral nature of internet culture and social media to attract investors and enthusiasts alike.

The Danger of Addiction:

The addictive nature of memecoins can lead investors down a perilous path.  The thrill of watching the value of a memecoin skyrocket can trigger dopamine rushes similar to those experienced by gamblers.  This cycle of excitement and anticipation can quickly spiral out of control, leading individuals to make impulsive and irrational investment decisions.

Moreover, the 24/7 nature of cryptocurrency markets can exacerbate addictive tendencies, as investors constantly monitor price fluctuations and news updates, unable to tear themselves away from their screens. This is further compounded by influencers, as well as exchanges leveraging sophisticated AI tools to lure and retain gamblers.  The strategic use of push notifications, powered by AI algorithms, plays a pivotal role in keeping investors engaged and fostering addictive behavior. These notifications are carefully crafted to capitalize on the psychological vulnerabilities of individuals, creating a sense of urgency and excitement that compels investors to pile in more money.

It's crucial for individuals to understand the severity and seriousness of cryptocurrency addiction.  An addiction to investing in cryptocurrency is no different than a gambling addiction such as to casino gambling or sports betting.  Unfortunately, individuals struggling with gambling addiction have the highest rates of suicide compared to those dealing with any other addiction.  This underscores the urgent need for effective prevention and treatment measures to address the growing trend of cryptocurrency addiction.

The Risks of Investment:

Investing in memecoins carries significant risks.  Unlike traditional investments, memecoins often lack fundamental value, relying instead on hype and speculation to drive prices. This makes them extremely volatile and prone to sudden crashes, leaving investors vulnerable to substantial losses.  Furthermore, the anonymous and unregulated nature of cryptocurrency markets can make it difficult to distinguish between legitimate projects and outright scams, increasing the likelihood of financial ruin for unsuspecting investors.  In many instances, the adopters and influencers of memecoins are nothing more than scam artists, holding a substantial percentage of market capitalization of their respective project from on the onset of the coins launch, only to sell or dump on retail investors once they pile in cash, commonly known in the industry as a “rug pull.”  This leaves investors with significant financial losses.

One example of this is the case of the "SaveDoge" token.  SaveDoge was a cryptocurrency project launched in May 2021.  It claimed to be a charitable token with the goal of donating a portion of its transactions to animal shelters and rescue organizations.  However, shortly after its launch and subsequent hype on social media platforms, the developers of SaveDoge executed a rug pull.  They abandoned the project, taking with them the liquidity from the decentralized exchange pools where the token was traded, effectively leaving investors with worthless tokens.  The sudden disappearance of the project's creators and the loss of investor funds exemplify the devastating impact scams in the cryptocurrency space.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Cryptocurrency Addiction:

As the popularity of cryptocurrency trading grows, so too does the risk of addiction associated with it.  While investing in digital assets can be exciting and potentially lucrative, it's important to be mindful of warning signs that may indicate a problematic relationship with cryptocurrency trading.  Here are some common indicators to watch out for:

  1. Obsessive Monitoring: Constantly checking cryptocurrency prices, market trends, and news updates, even to the detriment of other responsibilities or interests.


  1. Loss of Control: Difficulty limiting the amount of time and money spent on cryptocurrency trading, leading to impulsive and excessive investments.


  1. Neglecting Responsibilities: Neglecting work, school, hobbies, or personal relationships in favor of trading cryptocurrencies, resulting in declining performance or strained connections with loved ones.


  1. Financial Strain: Experiencing financial difficulties due to excessive spending on cryptocurrencies, borrowing money to fund investments, or risking savings on high-risk trades.


  1. Mood Swings: Experiencing extreme emotions such as euphoria when investments perform well or anxiety and depression during market downturns, leading to emotional instability.


  1. Withdrawal Symptoms: Feeling restless, irritable, or anxious when unable to access cryptocurrency trading platforms or during periods of market volatility.


  1. Denial and Rationalization: Minimizing the consequences of cryptocurrency trading behavior or justifying excessive investment activities as necessary for financial gain.

If you or a loved one exhibit these warning signs, it may be indicative of a problematic relationship with cryptocurrency trading.  Seeking support can be beneficial in addressing these concerns and regaining control over trading behavior. Additionally, setting clear boundaries and establishing healthy habits can help mitigate the risks associated with cryptocurrency addiction. Remember, it's essential to prioritize your well-being and financial stability above the excitement of trading digital assets.

Seeking Help:

If you or a loved one find yourselves addicted to trading cryptocurrency, it's essential to seek help immediately.  Addiction to trading can have serious consequences, both financially and emotionally, and can take a toll on relationships, physical health, careers, and various other life areas.  Consider reaching out to a qualified therapist who specializes in cryptocurrency addiction to develop coping strategies and regain control over your behavior.  Additionally, joining support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous or SMART Recovery, or seeking guidance from financial advisors can provide valuable support and guidance on managing your investments responsibly.  If you live in the United States, you can reach out anonymously to the national problem gambling helpline 24/7 for support and resources in your area at 1-800-GAMBLER.

While memecoins may offer the allure of quick riches, their addictive nature and inherent risks make them a double-edged sword.  It's crucial to approach cryptocurrency investment with caution, conduct thorough research, and seek professional help from a cryptocurrency addiction expert if you find yourself struggling with addictive trading behaviors.  Remember, investing should be done prudently and with a long-term perspective in mind, rather than chasing short-term gains fueled by hype and speculation.

If this article was useful to you, you may also enjoy reading:

The Ultimate Guide to Day Trading Addiction and Recovery

Staring at Charts: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Addiction

Breaking The Cycle: Strategies for Overcoming Cryptocurrency Addiction

Bitcoin Addiction – 11 Reasons Why Cryptocurrency Trading Can Be Highly Addictive

Why These Next Few Months Could Be Catastrophic For Individuals Addicted To Cryptocurrency

How To Support a Loved One With a Cryptocurrency Addiction

Beyond Mere Financial Loss – Consequences of Day Trading Can Go Well Beyond Your Wallet

Crypto Chaos – Volatility, Liquidation and Mental Health

Understanding Cryptocurrency Addiction Amidst A Bull Market

For more information on cryptocurrency addiction treatment, as well as day trading addiction treatment, gambling addiction treatment, alcohol or drug addiction treatment, video game addiction treatment, and other forms of addiction treatment, and to find the best addiction counselor near me, or for general therapy and mental health counseling, or to inquire about Family Addiction Specialist’s private concierge sober coach services, recovery coach services, sober companion services, addiction therapy services and/or teletherapy services (online therapy or virtual therapy) for drug addiction, alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, day trading addiction, cryptocurrency addiction, video game addiction or other forms of digital addiction and technology addiction please contact Family Addiction Specialist’s undisclosed private therapy office in the Upper East Side of New York City today by emailing  Family Addiction Specialist serves clients in Manhattan and the surrounding NYC area, as well as concierge or virtual services with select clients worldwide.

Lin Sternlicht & Aaron Sternlicht

You Might Also Enjoy...