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What is SafeMoon? Your guide to the cosmic-themed cryptocurrency
May 17, 2021 2:24 PM PDT
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A relatively new cryptocurrency is trying to reach the moon, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin before it.
SafeMoon, which debuted in March, has received increased buzz recently, based on a pitch that it will avoid the wild price fluctuations endemic to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more recently, Dogecoin.
So far, 2 million people have bought SafeMoon, according to the currency's creators. Its price is a fraction of a cent—$.000007— but that's up 202% in the past month as cryptocurrencies across the board have soared in value.
Compared to more established coins, SafeMoon is a piker. Its market cap is $4.1 billion, versus $792.3 billion for Bitcoin (price: $42,584) and $365.1 billion for Ethereum (price: $3,168). 
Critics of SafeMoon complain that there’s not enough information about it or how it can be used.
But SafeMoon does fill what seems like a bottomless appetite for cryptocurrencies. The value of Dogecoin, which received a massive boost from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently exploded in value. Other like Shiba Inu, another dog-themed cryptocurrency, and Internet Computer, which debuted last week, have also gained traction.
Here’s what we know about SafeMoon.
What is SafeMoon?
SafeMoon is another digital currency similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum, with a couple of key differences. Its creators say they want to fix some of the problems—like price volatility—that are common in other digital coins. To do this, SafeMoon aims to discourage day trading of its coin and to reward long-term holders by charging a 10% fee on each sale. Half of the fees collected are earmarked for existing coin owners, who receive a sort of dividend in the form of additional coins.
“The goal here is to prevent the larger dips when whales decide to sell their tokens later in the game, which keeps the price from fluctuating as much,” SafeMoon said in explaining its currency, using the term for investors who hold large amounts of digital coins.
SafeMoon also says it opts for manual burns versus continuous burns, which is when digital coins are purposefully removed from circulation. Manual burns, according to the creators, give SafeMoon more control over the coin's supply. Less supply with increasing demand would increase the coin's price.
Who leads SafeMoon?
SafeMoon lists a team of six leaders. At the top is CEO John Karony, who previously served as an analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, according to his LinkedIn profile. He, along with SafeMoon’s chief technology officer Thomas Smith and community manager Trevor Church, is also working on an independent video game studio called TANO, an acronym for "technically a new operation." 
Smith has spent the past two years working with different organizations on blockchain and decentralized financial products. SafeMoon’s chief operating officer, Jack Haines-Davies, based in the United Kingdom, lists two companies on LinkedIn, LikeandShare and Ben Phillips Global, as his former employers. It’s unclear what those companies do.
What are SafeMoon’s plans?
SafeMoon has laid out a road map for the year. In the first quarter, the company said that it had doubled the size of its team and begun a marketing campaign. Next the company plans to complete a SafeMoon app (though it's unclear what that app will do), a wallet, and games. It also says it plans to explore allowing trading of its currency on exchanges like Binance, begin building its own exchange, expand its team by 35%, and establish a U.K./Ireland office. In the last half of the year, the company said it plans to finish its SafeMoon Exchange and open an African-based SafeMoon office. 
What do critics say?
The lofty plans have some skeptics raising their eyebrows at SafeMoon, especially as the price rises. 
For example, a Twitter account called WarOnRugs, which identifies itself as a "community based, grassroots movement" that aims to expose crypto scams, criticized SafeMoon last month.
"Owner owns more than 50% of the liquidity and refuses to fix it," the account tweeted. "He could pull LP and sell tokens, creating a rug pull [meaning an exit scam]. Likeliness of losing all funds: Absolute."
Crypto analyst and investor Lark Davis echoed the sentiment last month, comparing SafeMoon to BitConnect, an investment platform that ended up being a Ponzi scheme. "Remember just because you make money off of a ponzi does not change the fact that it is a ponzi," he tweeted.
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