The total market capitalization of memecoins in the cryptocurrency space has now topped the $56 billion mark after the value of these tokens nearly tripled since the beginning of this year, amid a memecoin mania that has seen traders make and lose fortunes in days.

According to IntoTheBlock’s Q1 2024 On-Chain report, demand for memecoins hit its highest since 2021 in the first quarter of this year despite the lack of stimulus checks from the government – as was the case during the last memecoin bullrun, with the checks coming over the COVID-19 pandemic – the firm noted that “appetite for seemingly useless crypto-assets has been very strong. 

The firm’s report notes that it’s unclear “whether this is due to the economy getting overheated, or perhaps just growing financial nihilism.” Financial nihilism refers to the idea that the growing cost of living and the lack of financial opportunities are  at an untenable level.

Memecoins, the firm writes, have “become the main subject in crypto over the last few months.” As CryptoGlobe has been reporting, the ongoing memecoin mania has been such that meme-inspired tokens like $SHIB, $PEPE, and $FLOKI saw their trading volume surpass that of Bitcoin on leading Indian exchange WazirX last month.

Source: IntoTheBlock

IntoTheBlock details that the price of leading meme-inspired cryptocurrency Dogecoin ($DOGE) double so far this year, while SHIB has seen a 2.5x gain, and PEPE saw a 5x gain. These memecoins, the firm details, thrived in ecosystems with low transaction fees such as Solana, which recorded several days with larger trading volumes than ETH year-to-date.

Solana’s leading memecoin, Dog Wif Hat ($WIF) has seen 20x yearly return and has a thriving community behind it. As CryptoGlobe reported Coinbase’s Base blockchain has also been seeing a memecoin frenzy that has taken the platform by storm.

The total value of cryptocurrency sent to Base has surpassed the $1.2 billion mark earlier this month, to the point that its total value locked is now above the $4 billion mark. The recent growth in activity on Base was partly tied to the Dencun software upgrade on Ethereum, which took place in March.

The upgrade has significantly reduced the costs of trading on Layer 2 (L2) blockchains like Base, making them competitive with other chains such as Solana. According to a Coinbase spokesperson, Base was prepared for the Dencun upgrade from the outset, resulting in a decrease in average fees from approximately 10 cents to 1 cent or less.

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