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The meme economy |  Nasdaq


VSryptocurrency is a meme.

Money has always been structured around fundamentals, be it precious metals, governmental powers or advantages in trade. The reduction of major currencies to untied fiat currencies has caused a transformative reaction in the form of cryptocurrency.

While many claim that the value of crypto resides in a complex set of technologies, in fact the value – like all value – is entirely memetic.

Chris Gabriel is the host of MemeAnalysis, a YouTube channel that analyzes the meaning of internet memes, trends, and philosophies. He will speak on the big ideas scene at Consensus 2022 in Austin, Texas next week. Follow him on Twitter: @thegoddisk. Sign up for Consensus 2022 here.

“Meme” is a difficult word for many, as it has been inextricably linked with “internet jokes”, but memes are actually units of cultural transmission, or, as writer William S. Burroughs put it, word and picture viruses. Memes are reproduced endlessly across culture.

Read more: Investing in Meme Coins? 3 Things Every Crypto Trader Should Know

Think of “physical” memes as the peace sign or middle finger, “mental” memes as good and evil, and “world-builder” memes as the state. It all started as ideas, which got “hooked” and reproduced across the culture.

All currencies were built on memetics, but crypto is now closest to the source; often it does not pretend to have a material basis.

Essentially, crypto goes up and down with conviction, with vibe. Although this has made the crypto extremely volatile, with huge price surges and crashes, few have grasped the logic behind these changes.

Dogecoin, celebrities and memes

Dogecoin (DOGE) is the most vital “meme coin”, declaring no value other than its connection to the popular dog meme Shina Ibu. Thanks to the popularity of the meme, the celebrity-enhanced memetic spread, DOGE has skyrocketed from a tiny fraction of a cent for most of its history to a high of 74 cents during the pandemic. Only a few cents left. While Elon Musk’s apparent endorsement might have driven the price up for a while, the association with the billionaire muddied the character of the meme, hurting its long-term value.

While the meteoric rise of various cryptocurrencies has been attributed to a multitude of factors, the most essential is memetic virulence.

Those who can grasp the memetic nature of not just crypto, but any value, can gain immense power by reading these natural streams of meaning. To do this, one must construct a symbolic understanding, because symbols are the rootlets of meaning. The field of meme analysis posits memetics as an essentially psychoanalytic pursuit: grasping the unconscious meaning of images, symbols, and phrases and tracing their libidinal flows.

Read more: The Psychology of Meme Coins, from Real Investors

Meme analysis offers unique insight into memetics, eschewing popular political and economic modalities and aiming for unconscious meaning, stripped of superficial morals and prejudices. The irrational unconscious does not trade in manufactured logics and systems, but only in spontaneous energetics.

Economists have failed to make sense of these irrational processes, constructing their own esoteric methods while ignoring the archetypal patterns at play. JP Morgan (the tycoon, not the bank he founded) said it well “Millionaires don’t use astrology, billionaires do.”

Just as the ancient Chinese believed that observing natural cosmic processes would illuminate human processes, Western occultists have structured cosmic systems to understand man. Although these are often referred to as pseudoscience, this criticism has also been leveled at economics. In truth, both grapple with fundamentally irrational processes that defy simple laws, making esotericism a necessity.

Investors should be aware of this essential instability. Treating investing like a computer program works in a relatively stable market, but the volatility of crypto defies such a shoehorn.

The French writer Georges Bataille said, “Tragedy is the impotence of reason,” perfectly illustrating the inherent inadequacy of rational analysis. A rational analysis of irrational processes is doomed to failure.

NFT, memes and market irrationality

This is where psychoanalysis and occultism come in. Both approach the irrational through the mechanisms of the irrational: symbols and language, that is, memes. Formulating a memetic approach to economics is a necessity, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency, the most volatile – and mimetic – market.

This approach is also ideal for creators and entrepreneurs in the crypto world. Leaving traditional approaches to fundamental problems behind, they enter a dark new world that must be shone with new light, not borrowed from the systems they are struggling to overcome. Cryptocurrency can be made less fragile through conducive and consistent memetic branding. Things like powerful colors, symbols, and patterns can make or break a budding power.

Read more: Jeff Koons’ First NFT Project Is A Riff To Crypto’s “Moon” Meme

The inconsistent adoption of crypto efforts has been a notable aspect of this new field: some projects explode in popularity while others never make their debut. This was best exemplified in the non-fungible token (NFT) market, where some low-quality projects can earn millions, while others earn nothing. Ironically, the ugliness of some popular NFTs is precisely what makes them memetic, while the beauty of others is utterly mundane.

A study of memetics is a study of virulence. What makes art popular? Why do companies succeed? Rational answers to these questions are constantly being offered. Their success is tied to established fundamentals. But sometimes the skyrocketing popularity cannot be explained in rational terms. It can seem like failure and success are completely random or, at best, fatal.

To understand the volatility of this world, we must see the world as the ancients saw it: a playground for immense inhuman energies that we understand as symbols and what can now be called memes.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.




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