What Are Memes?
The term meme is a word that first appeared in Richard Dawkins' 1976 book "The Selfish Gene," where Dawkins describes it as "a unit of cultural transmission." Several decades later, the term "meme" became strongly associated with online images with upper and lower text — sometimes funny, sometimes bizarre, but always capable of spreading virally across the internet.
Furthermore, memes have evolved into a sort of universal language of the internet, a method of explaining various events, personas, and phenomena in a simple yet comprehensive manner. They can shape existing discourse or even create their own discourse on any topic, including crypto space.
Moreover, memes can become so popular that they become a cryptocurrency in their own right—Dogecoin is the most vivid and well-known example.
Crypto Memes and Why They Are So Popular
In 2022, memes are back-of-the-napkin logic that appears to be gibberish on the surface but has internal cohesion that makes sense to insiders.
In this market, where so many different projects are already competing for attention, and new ones are being launched daily, it is critical for projects to try and motivate people to spend their time learning about THEIR projects. Memes are an easy way to spread a story and possibly the quickest way to gain attention.
Memes are the internet's lingua franca, serving as shorthand for complex phenomena. Memes are especially powerful in the world of cryptocurrencies.
Memes, like cryptocurrency, were born on the internet and have progressed from the margins to the mainstream. They are used to drive cryptocurrency adoption, signal bullishness or bearishness on specific assets or coins by traders, and even increase the value of tokens. They contribute to the conversation, commemorate events, spark narratives about specific coins, and even help people earn millions of dollars.
Meme No 1: 911, I’m Dying
This year's late-January crypto crash began as a small tremor that surprised crypto traders. Then, unfortunately, it escalated into a full-fledged meltdown. As a result, we're almost halfway through the year, and many people have yet to recover. This has spawned a plethora of memes that express both devastation and hope. The "call 911, I'm Dying" meme was one of the most memorable.
Meme No2: HODL
The HODL meme began in December 2013 with a post on the popular BitcoinTalk forum by a user named GameKyuubi. He intended to write "I AM HOLDING" to indicate that he would not sell his coins although the price had risen dramatically. Instead, possibly due to a few cold beverages, he mistyped it and wrote, "I AM HODLING." Bitcoiners began 'hodling' their coins instead of 'holding' them from that point forward.
The story, however, does not end there. As new investors unaware of the origin story entered the crypto space, the meme evolved into an initialism for 'Hold On For Dear Life.' Bitcoiners used it as motivation to keep their faith and 'hodl' their coins during the volatility.
There has been no better proof that this crypto meme had infiltrated the culture than when the US Senate inquired about its meaning during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.
Meme No 2: Where Lambo
The 'When Lambo' crypto meme arose due to people becoming wealthy through cryptocurrency and purchasing a Lamborghini. After a day or a week of investing in a coin, traders would ask, 'When Lambo?' When will the price rise so that I can buy a Lamborghini?
While it was all a joke, it reflected the reality that many people in crypto had quickly made a lot of money, as evidenced by these bitcoin success stories. It also inspired another well-known cryptocurrency meme depicting Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, as Jesus holding a red Lamborghini.
Meme No 4: Bitcoin Sign Guy
Janet Yellen, the United States Federal Reserve chairwoman, testified before Congress in 2017. A man seated a few seats behind the central bank chief photobombed her with a 'Buy Bitcoin' sign.
The video was broadcast live on television and has been viewed millions of times. It inspired 'Buy Bitcoin' street art. Bitcoiners tipped the advocate 6.3 bitcoins, now worth nearly half a million dollars.
It's a perfect crypto meme. To promote a stateless cryptocurrency, a random guy stole the spotlight from the world's most powerful central banker... And he became wealthy.
Meme No 5: In It for the Tech
The permabear Nouriel Roubini popularized this crypto meme. He tweeted the slogan "I'm in it for the technology" alongside a photo of an Indian businessman dressed in a 22-carat pure gold shirt custom-made for him, complete with gold chains, bling, and a gold Bitcoin emblem. It capitalizes on the fact that, while the underlying motivation is to create an uncensorable financial system accessible to all, many people also want to get rich.
The crypto community well received the meme. Some people enter the crypto space expecting to make a fortune, but when prices fall, they're suddenly "in it for the tech." The technology in the crypto space is constantly improving, so if the price isn't moving in the short term, you can focus on the technology instead. When you're in it for the tech, you will always win.
Meme No 6: Buy the Dip
Whenever the crypto market falls, the process of buying the dip is repeated indefinitely. You can buy the dip by buying when the market falls. When the price rises again, the temporary correction will appear on the price charts as a temporary dip. As the saying goes, "buy low, sell high."
For example, when the price of bitcoin fell in September 2021, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele declared that he had purchased the dip. The government spent a lot of money to buy 150 bitcoins. "If you buy the dips, they can never beat you," said the president.
One strategy to buy the dip is to buy more as the price dips. Another is to hold off on a purchase until the price has reached a support level. Alternatively, you can use Cointree's auto-buy feature to have a purchase made when the market falls to a specific level.
Meme No 7: That’s a Scam
The refrain "That's a scam!" has been liberally applied to any crypto project that the community dislikes - especially when the haters are bitcoin maximalists, who believe that everything except BTC is a scam, including Ethereum and Monero.
"That's a scam!" has evolved over time as a fine example of an iterating meme in the vein of Pepe or Wojak, as characterized by Leigh Cuen's "Scam or Iteration?" Coindesk's article on Ethereum at Devcon 2019 was then memed by Aaron Van Wirdum in "Scam or Iteration — Bitcoin Diehards in Berlin Still Believe in Lightning."
Meme No 8: To the Moon
How far can the value of a coin rise? To the moon and back. Many people could not have imagined the heights that bitcoin has reached in the last decade. The 'to the moon' meme encourages people to think big and recognize that their prices will skyrocket as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies grow and make a real-world impact.
Over the last decade, Bitcoin has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 150%. Unfortunately, even though we can do the math, no human can comprehend this incredible growth.
The exaggerated notion that bitcoin's price will skyrocket illustrates the very real possibility that its exponential growth will continue indefinitely.
Meme No 9: OK, Can You Guys Stop Trading
It was 2016, and a hacker had just exploited a vulnerability to drain 3.6M ETH from The DAO smart contract. Vitalik Buterin attempted to limit the damage in a conversation with leading cryptocurrency exchanges, typing the now-famous words, "ok, can you guys stop trading?" Unfortunately, like many others, his comment has been taken out of context and is now used in any situation where market manipulation is suspected.
Meme No 10: Doge
Dogecoin, a meme cryptocurrency inspired by a meme dog with its meme language, was one of the cryptosphere's first memetic successes. At Devcon 2019 in Osaka, Ethereum developers erupted when Kabosu, the doge who started it all, made an appearance. Dogecoin is still a top 30 cryptocurrency, and its influence has permanently renamed Bitcoin's four-yearly halving event as The Halvening in honor of doge's own 2014 mining reward halving.
Meme No 11: Shitcoin
In Nouriel Roubini's testimony before the United States Senate Banking Committee, "shitcoin" was defined as "a coin that can be predicted to go to zero because of its flawed fundamentals." While the origins of this meme are unknown, it was launched in an ANN thread on the Bitcointalk forum in 2013 with the tirade: "I'm so tired of seeing so many CrapCoins pop up every day and nobody at least admits their coin is total dogshit." So I'm launching a new coin in the hopes of leapfrogging the CrapCoin Shark: SHIT. ShitCoin will be the largest POS coin ever created. No, not Proof of Stake, which is ridiculous, but "Piece Of Shit" coin."
There have been numerous shitcoins since, but SHIT will always be the first and worst.
Meme No 12: Metaverse and Mark Zuckeberg
Facebook has been broadly chastised for collecting personal information about its users. You might not realize it, but Facebook knows a lot about you. What you like to do, what you like to watch, who you hang out with, and so on. These are just a few examples.
Facebook is now moving closer to the "Metaverse." When Mark Zuckerberg announced the Facebook metaverse, crypto enthusiasts went full meme mode. People value decentralized platforms in cryptocurrency because one entity cannot control its users. However, people are skeptical of Facebook's Metaverse becoming decentralized.
Meme No 13: Elon Musk’s Crypto Memes
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has been trolling the cryptocurrency space since the beginning of 2021. First, he began tweeting Dogecoin memes. Dogecoin was initially designed as a payment system that is instant, enjoyable, and free of traditional banking fees. The Shiba Inu dog's face from the "Doge" meme serves as the coin's logo and namesake. Dogecoin later became known as the "meme coin" of cryptocurrency.
Of course, the price of Dogecoin skyrocketed after one of the world's richest men tweeted about it repeatedly, and it will continue to rise during the 2021 bull run. According to Coinmarketcap, Dogecoin is currently trading at $0.05 at the time of writing in September 2022.
Meme No 14: We Are All Hodlonaut
When Craig Wright attempted to sue Hodlonaut for disparaging him on Twitter, the cryptosphere rallied behind the anonymous Twitter user. Dozens of bitcoiners adopted Hodlonaut's avatar as a defiance gesture, with the slogan "We are all Hodlonaut" as a nod to the real Satoshi.
Meme No 15: Safu Meme
Binance established the Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU) in July 2018 to protect users' money. In other terms, SAFU functions as an emergency fund. For example, when Binance was experiencing some unexpected maintenance, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhou (CZ) posted via his account, "Funds are safu." Since then, CZ has used this remark to reassure Binance users that everything is great and they need not worry.
In the same year, a user named Bizonacci published a video on his YouTube channel titled "Funds are SAFU," and the meme was created.
Nowadays, the crypto community employs both "Funds are SAFU" and "Funds are not SAFU" variants: the former is used when funds are actually alright, while the latter is used when something is fishy, and there is no guarantee that the assets are secure.
Meme No 16: Don’t Trust, Verify
If there is one meme that sums up Bitcoin, it is this: Don't trust, verify. The blockchain's central concept is that you don't have to trust a bank or any other central authority with your money.
When you give a bank your money, you cannot know what they're doing with it or whether they still have it. However, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not the same.
The blockchain allows you to check the ledger to ensure you have your coins. You have complete command.
Meme No 17: Vitalik The Bear
Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, was spotted on stage at ETHDenver dressed to the nines. Not only did the programmer appear onstage in pajamas, but he also appeared in a full-body bear suit at one point. He's known for being playful on stage, but because the event occurred during a minor crypto crash, many people immediately saw the meme potential.
Meme No 18: The Prophecy
At the height of the bear market in 2018, only one thing could send Bitcoin back up: crypto Twitter's Romano flying out to Vegas and eating a piece of pornstar Brenna Sparks' anatomy. So he did it, the absolute lunatic, and lo and beheld, bitcoin rallied. The recovery, however, was short-lived, with some claiming that only a reenactment of The Prophecy could return bitcoin to its former highs.
Meme No 19: Not a Lambo
Lamborghinis have long been associated with flash and testosterone. So it was no surprise that the term "Lambo" was quickly adopted into crypto jargon. When a new coin was released, the question "When Lambo?" was asked, which meant "when will the coin afford its buyer a Lamborghini?"
"Not a Lambo," a template phrase derived from Lambo culture, is used to share non-Lambo items purchased with cryptocurrency. The items themselves can range from costly to ironic.
Meme No 20: I Thought Bitcoin Only Goes Up
Yes, the crypto markets can be a volatile roller coaster ride. Anyone who has been forced to hold their crypto holdings during a bear market can attest to this.
I believe that almost everyone involved in cryptocurrency for a long enough time has gone through the emotional rollercoaster and regretted not taking profits during bull runs. This meme refers to those who held Bitcoin in 2017 during a massive bull run in which Bitcoin went from $900 to an eye-watering $20,000, turning many Bitcoin enthusiasts into millionaires within a year and making coiners feel like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby Reaction meme has been going around since the film was released in 2013. The meme depicts a scene from the film in which Leonardo DiCaprio toasts a martini glass in a very classy manner. This is one of those heartwarming memes frequently used to recognize comrades and internet friends who share similar interests and passions on the internet.
Memes have become an important part of our daily culture and society, providing us with community-driven insight and opinions on everything from current events to major news and, of course, just plain old good humour.
Several times, major breaking news has been broken, with a handful of memes appearing on meme apps on the internet.
Memes have become commonplace on social media. They have evolved into the most effective means of disseminating information, whether it is news, opinions, or amusing commentary. Many memes are about what's happening in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
The crypto community will always be rich in memes, whether times are good or bad. Follow Margex on social media to see more exciting crypto and NFT memes.