Bitcoin Meme History
Bitcoin meme history starts with the origin of memes themselves – an Internet phenomenon that started back in 1976 and said to be based on biologist Richard Dawkins’ claim that “ideas are like organisms, able to spread and mutate“, and that some ideas are more successful at spreading than others – thus what we call “viral” these days. Darwin coined the concept “meme” – a short version of “mimeme” which is a Greek word meaning “that which is replicated.”
It’s hard to say what the first meme was, but everyone agrees that one of the earliest to go viral was the 3-D dancing baby from the 1990’s sitcom, Ally McBeal. A meme is a joke or idea expressed as a photo, video, cartoon, character, celebrity, event – whatever – that gets spread across the web because it is hilarious. They are particularly embraced by Millennials but, at this point in time, pretty much everyone recognizes and laughs at memes. Memes allow us to be funny and laugh at funny things. The ability some people have to make even the most serious topic hilarious has been expressed in memes that have become famous for making the whole world laugh out loud!
American neurophysiologist Roger Sperry had similar notions, but it was Dawkins that coined the name “meme” and it has become his most memorable invention. Hilarious memes that simply make us laugh apparently have profound origins – who knew?
“Ideas cause ideas and help evolve new ideas. They interact with each other and with other mental forces in the same brain, in neighboring brains, and thanks to global communication, in far distant, foreign brains. And they also interact with the external surroundings to produce in toto a burstwise advance in evolution that is far beyond anything to hit the evolutionary scene yet.” ~ Roger Sperry
Dawkins proposed that memes compete for attention more than anything – something we can all agree is true, certainly when it comes to a bitcoin meme. Memes are not objects – they are ideas. For most of human history, ideas traveled via “word of mouth” – but then came cave walls, paper, printing presses, magnetic tapes, optical discs, broadcast towers and digital networks, so we’re now to the point where one simple meme can literally reach the world in a matter of minutes. A meme is a flow of information that provides connectivity as it evolves and spreads fast and far. While usually humorous, memes can also spread false messages that nonetheless become viral and believed by many.
“A meme is an information-packet with attitude.” ~ Daniel Dennet, Philosopher
Apparently, the topic of memes has been widely researched by those in the fields of computer science and microbiology – who knew? Memes are the Internet culture’s way of competing for space in our minds and the combatants are the messages that tend to bring to the surface thoughts we may have had but never voiced or visualized – they are relatable. They enable us to feel that we can all relate to someone or something, and laugh about it.
With crypto-mania taking hold on social media plus the high level of volatility, and amazing financial gains of early adopters, it is easy to understand the popularity of some incredibly funny, yet amazingly relatable bitcoin memes. One of the most popular bitcoin memes is arguably the roller coaster coin – one that surfaces with every rise and fall of Bitcoin price! Days when the price is rocketing upwards, the meme is going straight up – and when price is dropping, straight down. The one sitting still is the one rarely seen, but all represent a bitcoin “hodler’s” ability to remain unfazed during market corrections and skyrocketing prices.
Bitcoin Meme Favorite Topics
The bitcoin whale is a common bitcoin meme topic – a term in the cryptocurrency world used to refer to those persons or entities that hold large amounts of bitcoin. It is believed that bitcoin whales have a disproportionate impact on prices and sit in wait for newbies (shrimp) to panic sell their bitcoin so it can be snapped up at low prices. About 40% of bitcoin is held by maybe 1,000 users and when prices reach all-time highs, they sell for huge profits. Whales can sell a portion of their holdings to send prices plummeting, then buy back what was sold or even more – at low prices. There are probably groups of whales that work together, which is not illegal because bitcoin is a digital currency, not a security. There is no prohibition against a trade in which a group agrees to buy enough to push the price up only to cash out minutes later, which sends it back down.
Buy the Dip is a basic investment strategy that means to average buying as bitcoin price goes down and/or buy after it settles. It is much safer in a bull or stagnant market where the general trend is up. Experienced bitcoiners advise newcomers to buy incrementally as the price fluctuates to create an average position and reduce “buyer’s remorse” for having bought too high of a price. Likewise, one can try to wait for the price to settle and start to turn upwards again and buy at that point. Another strategy is to set buy orders just before support levels or psychological levels. Timing the bottoms of the dips is next to impossible… and that is why it can help to buy incrementally as the price falls.
One can buy the big dips or the little dips to average the price paid for bitcoin acquisitions, and there are plenty of bitcoin memes to illustrate the all the feelings experienced when buying the dips!
There are bitcoin memes about the “dips” to help fight off some emotions, especially when the price takes an epic tumble. Experienced crypto traders usually have a good understanding of why a dip happened, and this meme reflects sentiment to those crying about the price of bitcoin going lower than anticipated. Simply buying and hodling (holding) have been winning bitcoin strategies historically.
When you trade on stock, forex or CFD platforms, there are checks in place to make sure you understand the risks. Even gambling sites have controls to ensure those losing money fast cannot bet anymore. Crypto does not have these checks or stops, so new investors can enter the market with zero understanding, buy too high and panic sell to get “rekd” – online gaming slang borrowed to mean utterly destroyed or ruined.
The Internet is full of stories about those who gave up on cryptocurrency because of the volatile nature, selling their Bitcoin while bemoaning the loss of a few dollars only to see it trading weeks later for 10 times what they sold it for. The opposite is true also, and newbies are the first to crow when profits are phenomenal, only to panic sell when the price drops.
Experienced Bitcoiners recognize cycles involve legitimate investments, over hype, disappointment and crashes, or slow descents. The same patterns repeat… price hangs around a certain level then explodes beyond most people’s imagination, then slowly falls back and somewhat settles until the next explosion. Legit investments create the real price rises and when other factors result in massive spikes or spectacular crashes, veterans take it in stride, knowing that when the price starts to rally, it more than makes up for any short-term losses. Bitcoin veterans take a dim view of noobs that profit and instantly consider themselves “experts” – and there are numerous bitcoin memes that depict their sentiment. This one is really funny and quite an accurate representation of the delusion some adopt!
Dead-On Bitcoin Memes
There are tons of bitcoin memes that really stand out as being excellent explanations of the mentality or actions of Bitcoiners and nocoiners. “Nocoiners” are those who have no bitcoin, but not everyone who has no bitcoin is a no-coiner because it mostly has to do with having a sanctimonious attitude. They constantly claim Bitcoin is a scam or bubble, that it will crash to nothing, and are generally considered close-minded on the subject. A no-coiner accuses the bitcoiner of being a zealot while being every bit as zealous in their conviction to the point of gloating with every price drop and unequivocally declaring there are no use cases for crypto at all. Nocoiners tend to be of the same ilk as those that sneered at the Internet and tout the dot-com bubble burst instead of recognizing the success of the technology.
While there are plenty of nocoiners, things are beginning to change as more and more people become interested in cryptocurrency – especially as the price of bitcoin rises. There is a new survey of ~29,000 nocoiners in which 75% of respondents said they have now heard of cryptocurrency, 50% knew what it was, and 4% plan to buy some in the next six months. Cryptocurrency is not considered to be mainstream or even close, but awareness is growing rapidly and there are now more speakers, conventions, events, and media dedicated to education. Many people are starting to realize that the future holds disruptive technological advances, just as the past has, and these advances should be understood and embraced.
Cryptocurrencies are gaining traction because they do offer value that existing currencies fail to provide, and those educated on the subject are gaining respect. Society has already adopted digital currency – evident by the way we buy and spend money today. Few people carry around cash, and hardly any young people use cash. To further the point, most currencies have been detached from any intrinsic value or backing and rely on promises from central banks and governments.
Airline miles, hotel stay points, and credit card points are digital currencies already used and mainstream. While they are not “dollars” they can be redeemed for value, but only if the company fulfills its promise. They are not backed by any government, gold, or cash – just promises – and are valuable to the point that the IRS taxes airline miles in some instances as income. The difference between these digital currencies and Bitcoin is that no company or government or central bank is involved at all. It is decoupled from government and has the potential to become a worldwide, stable currency not subject to policy changes, inflation, war or election cycles. So when a person views Bitcoin as a bubble, the fact that society has already adopted digital currencies is ignored. Choosing not to bet on technology is not a sound investment strategy from a risk standpoint any more than putting all your “eggs in one basket” would be for any investment plan.
Veteran bitcoiners feel those who appear to oppose cryptocurrency are in reality buying it on the QT while embracing it behind the scenes. The financial world is aware that Bitcoin has the potential to impact and disrupt the status quo – but there will be winners and losers in the end. Even if decentralized banking emerges, the need for banking services and micro-markets that will emerge will be the likes of which the banking industry hasn’t seen for decades. Once a cryptocurrency obtains stability, and there is regulation that stabilizes markets – trade will explode in directions impossible to predict as new markets of new markets develop. Many bankers are afraid of this impact, but there are those who are embracing the experimentation around crypto technologies and business models. It makes sense their actions would not be broadcast publicly, but rather kept quiet and in consortia to reduce risks and take part in shaping platform innovations that will develop – one way, or the other.
There have also been some great bitcoin memes comparing other crypto coins. Bitcoin Cash, for example, was forked by a minority group of influential developers, miners, investors, and users who opposed the network consensus to scale Bitcoin. It supposedly provides benefits to its users, but at the huge price of giving up an uncensorable alternative monetary system for one controlled by an individual or a group of people. Bitcoin Cash differs from other forked cryptocurrencies because it claims to “be” Bitcoin. The fact remains that it is a censored currency with centralized mining and the crypto-community knows this – it’s only newcomers that are confused, which is exactly what those behind the imposter hope to achieve. This bitcoin meme reflects the reality of the situation – bitcoin cash is not Bitcoin.
One of the most asked questions is “when is the best time to buy Bitcoin?” – and there are a great many memes that answer it, but this one is a favorite. If only we knew then what we know now – all of us would have bought Bitcoin when it cost pennies. Those early tech innovators, entrepreneurs and far-thinking investors responsible for aspects of this revolutionary tech were the true believers. The view of most bitcoiners is “The best time to buy bitcoin was in 2009. The next best is now.” The crypto-revolution is just getting started and those who can envision the enormous, untapped potential of decentralization will discover the opportunities that will keep the pace of innovation running strong into the future.
And lastly in our lineup of bitcoin memes, is one that reminds us how important broader education about these innovations in a rapidly changing landscape really are! Perceptions of cryptocurrencies need to change quickly to keep up with the pace of this emerging technology. Regulators, legislators, and the media struggle to keep up with changes that move faster than many other tech fields. That widens the gap between perception and reality, fact and myth. There are some incredibly knowledgeable individuals, like Andreas Antonopoulos for example, who devote a great deal of time and effort to selflessly educate others.
Confusion is quite natural, as cryptography is one of the most complex topics in mathematics. But it is not necessary to learn everything about how crypto works no more than it was to learn everything about how payments with a credit card worked. Bitcoin is simply a form of digital currency, created and held electronically – unlike dollars or euros that are printed, bitcoins are mined electronically with computers. One must create a “wallet” in order to buy (or sell) bitcoin, and learn to safely store it. Creating a wallet is no more complicated than opening a PayPal account, and just as there are ways to safely store cash, gold or silver – there are best practices for storing cryptocurrency as well. Because Bitcoin is decentralized and operates independently of any government or central bank, people can exchange value on a peer-to-peer basis, without passing through any financial intermediary. The bad news is this means individuals are 100% accountable with no recourse for mistakes they might make. The good news is there is a plethora of reputable information online so anyone can learn the basics and participate in this revolution!