Ready. Set. Token.
That’s the gist of a video shared by digital artist Johnny Shankman, also known as @iamwhitelights on Twitter, where the Brooklyn-based creator takes a time-centered approach toward creating a new coin.
With a few flicks of the cursor and some fast typing, Shankman is able to write and deploy a smart contract for a token called EASY_MONEY. The entire process took a total of 27 seconds, documenting what is perhaps the first meme coin speedrun.
Speedrunning has decades-old roots in the gaming community, dating back to retro classics like Dragster and Super Mario Kart, where players try to complete video games as fast as possible. But Shankman’s video takes a time-tested method for mastering video games and applies it to Web3 tech.
The artist’s display of dexterity comes amid a meme coin frenzy, where tokens like Pepe and Wojak are notching notable gains. Many of these emergent meme tokens are ERC-20 tokens, meaning they are built on Ethereum’s network using smart contracts and adhere to a standard set of rules.
Shankman’s method for churning out EASY_MONEY involves using a so-called Contracts Wizard created by the crypto cybersecurity firm OpenZeppelin. The tool can generate code for an ERC-20 token based on just a handful of inputs. Then, using the application Remix, the token’s smart contract is compiled and deployed in seconds.
On Saturday, the artist warned that the video was made “for educational purposes only” and that his EASY_MONEY token was “deployed on [a] testnet,” indicating it wasn’t a full-fledged launch. Additionally, he called attention to a token using the same name as his example that he “did not make,” adding he “will not be buying it.”
Improving on Shankman’s meme coin speedrun, a user named @0xdiid on Twitter was able to shave off a handful of seconds, bringing the unofficial world record down to 22.45 seconds, according to their post.
The original video was shared by numerous influential accounts on Crypto Twitter like @Loopifyyy and @3orovik, amassing millions of views. The speedrun’s reach led @notthreadguy to comment, “Shitcoin season is far from over.”
A crypto-centric term for referring to altcoins in a pejorative manner, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has acknowledged that the “shitcoin” label is somewhat subjective. And anyone can create a token given the permissionless nature of Web3.
Still, meme coins are far from just a joke, carrying the potential for astronomic gains but often leading to FOMO that can be leveraged by bad actors. The online blockchain sleuth @ZachXBT, known for exposing crypto scams, pointed out how many times a repost of the speedrun had been bookmarked, responding “wtf.”
As of this writing, @Loopifyyy’s post had garnered over 14,000 bookmarks on Twitter, outpacing both likes and retweets. “You just showed how to make a rug, we are doomed,” a user commented, alluding to the common crypto scam where a token’s development team suddenly disappears as an asset’s value tanks.
While Pepe is a notable standout, an influx of other meme coins, whether that’s Guacamole, Good Gensler, or Ignore Fud has made obscure tokens undoubtedly in vogue among some traders. On Twitter, @SlorgoftheSlugs claimed the speedrun will give way to an “oversaturation” of new, unproven tokens.
But not everyone thought the speedrun’s widespread reach was problematic, such as @RepeatAfterVee on Twitter, who argued, “The more people know how easy it is to create a token, the more likely they will think twice before buying these worthless numbers on the screen.”
And the speedrun’s original creator agreed, adding it can make the mystique of meme tokens less of a potential danger.
“Once you know how these work, it doesn’t make them valueless or easier to make,” Shankman wrote, “Just a little harder to fall for a rug, I like to think, since you know what’s under the hood.”
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