“If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a meme is worth 10,000.” – Elon Musk
The History Of Memes
When Richard Dawkins coined the term, meme, in 1976, he defined it as “a unit of cultural transmission.” This definition is so broad that you could make an argument that memes have been with us for as long as humans have had cultures. For the purposes of this article I will just stick to how the memes within the Bitcoin ecosystem affect our culture.
The Culture Of Memes
“Memes are, in a way, distilled truth.” –Gigi
The mainstream news is constantly trying to separate us over our differences, but memes are one of the best tools we have to share a laugh. What’s even better than their jocular nature is the truth they can communicate efficiently to the masses that can bring everyone together on the same page. Nobody wants to feel like they’re left out of the loop and memes are a powerful tool that highlight for people what they don’t know.
MATT ODELL is known for epically tweeting out things along the lines of “THE MEMES ARE REAL” amongst other CAPS TWEETS, but when he gets serious in his podcasts he can be heard explaining his rationale behind the tweets:
“A good meme is based in reality to begin with. It’s not like memes created this reality. Memes simply captures the reality before it was apparent to the mainstream.” -Matt Odell
What they were saying in the “Dispatch” is that sats have always been the standard. As far as the Bitcoin protocol is concerned, there is no bitcoin, only sats. Only the smallest units of bitcoin (sats) are used in the protocol, since the very beginning of the Bitcoin network. As Bitcoin continues to be a monetary black hole, the whole world is being measured in sats. So how can we communicate that message to the mainstream?
Odell and Gigi are two of the best memers we have in Bitcoin, pure gold. The “Citadel Dispatch” captures the depth of everything you need to know, an absolute must listen after reading this article.
The essence of what Gigi is saying is that these memes are acting as shortcuts for new entrants. People like to trust people they know, even if that goes against the Bitcoin ethos of “don’t trust, verify.” So, if people they know are parroting memes that can help them, then the memers have done their jobs well.
The more basically and truthfully that a meme condenses a message, the further it spreads and the longer it sticks around. Bonus attributes for the meme if it’s somewhat offensive, funny or catchy.
The Value Of Memes
“I am become meme, Destroyer of shorts” – Elon Musk
The potency and vigor of an image with a few words can trigger new thoughts and emotions in anyone. Musk understands this value and is using it to catapult his company to growth never seen in the car industry before.
PUBLORD is someone I look up to for his watermarkable memes, like his classic “Don’t forget to zoom out” pinned tweet. He asks each of his guests on ‘The Toxic Happy Hour; (where most of the meme lords hang out) his perennial question: “What’s your favorite meme?”
This seemingly innocuous question often stumps his guests who are forced to wade through their memories and choose just one of our many, many memes.
Even studying Bitcoin itself has become a meme that we often refer to as “going down the Bitcoin rabbit hole,” since it’s seemingly endless, especially in how it intersects with many other disciplines. Now, let me introduce the uninitiated to the Meme Rabbit Hole.
From the classics like HODL, THIS IS GENTLEMEN and HYPERBITCOINIZATION, to the relatively recently-minted classics STAY HUMBLE STACK SATS, 6.15 and HAVE FUN STAYING POOR; everyone has their preferences.
What I find most interesting about their answers aren’t the answers themselves, but the reasoning behind them. For a 6.15 pleb, their favorite is probably 6.15, since it was the most impactful in their life. For someone like me who just loves memes, it’s whatever’s on the cutting edge.
The poor souls who follow me on Twitter already know my current favorites are #SATSQUEEZE and CONTANGO. They may appear to be silly and spammy, but I really want people to think about what they mean. I’m so glad Will wrote the piece specifically covering CONTANGO, as I think it’ll be around this whole cycle, which means it’ll be memed this whole cycle.
As for #SATSQUEEZE, it’s another one I heard Odell say, first mocking the #SILVERSQUEEZE that was trending a little while back. But #SATSQUEEZE makes much more sense, since most of us know the supply is unchanging and set by the protocol. Most folks don’t know much about Bitcoin yet, but what we can meme them to learn is that by not owning any, they are in essence SHORT BITCOIN. The #SATSQUEEZE comes when this reality dawns on many that they need to protect their portfolio with any allocation greater than zero.
The Power Of Memes
“In conclusion this is good for bitcoin” -Snowden
One example of how powerful memes are was recently quoted in the Seetee shareholder letter by our newest chad, Kjell Inge Røkke. In a similar way to the narrative behind #SATSQUEEZE, he cited the #GetOffZero hashtag that circulated in 2018 as a way to flip the risk question on its head. A meme changed the way one of the richest men in Norway perceived the risk in owning bitcoin. He was forced to ask himself if it is more risky to own or not to own this new asset.
Since Michael Saylor, the Gigachad, joined our community late last summer, he’s been meming Bitcoin right along with us through the constant stream of analogies that he’s always tweeting, his most famous being:
“Bitcoin is a swarm of cyber hornets serving the goddess of wisdom, feeding on the fire of truth, exponentially growing ever smarter, faster, and stronger behind a wall of encrypted energy.”
What makes his entrance even more special has been his determination in selling these meme-riddled ideas to other billionaire CEOs. He told us all back when Keith McCullough (that clown) interviewed him that his models would be destroyed (UMAD).
“If you think it, and you think it’s funny, post immediately.” -AMERICAN HODL (anecdotally)
Memes did this. Memes spread the narratives. Realizing the significance of memes was what convinced me to start making my own memes. If I can do it, anyone can. That’s why I wrote this article. I want every single Bitcoin pleb reading this to be a memer. YOUR MEMES WILL SUCK AT FIRST AND THAT’S OKAY. Unless you’re Gregzaj, then you’ll always be shit; fuck that guy.
The more memes we have competing in our echo chamber, the higher quality the ones that bounce out of our Twitter-sphere will be.
The Meme Community
A couple of other meme ideas I thought were unique and really cool were Hodlonaut’s (RIP) Lightning Torch which was a cool way to publicly show off how quick and simple the Lightning Network was to use. Another idea that I absolutely loved was when Swedetoshi direct messaged me that Marty’s Owl nominated me for his next GIF. It was the perfect showcase for how to bring people together through memes. You can see on his giphy how awesome he is for the community.
Aside from all of my sourcing throughout this article, I want to put a list here for you all to follow of everyone else I know who is making great memes.
In no particular order:
Another great article that covers more memes in greater detail is Lopp’s “The Memes Make The Bitcoin,” or, if you’d rather sit back and watch YouTube, watch MEME THEORY to see one man’s account of how impactful memes were in electing a reality TV star as the U.S. president.
This is a guest post by SEANSTACKN . Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.