The term “meme” comes from the Greek word “mimema,” meaning “imitated.” According to Encyclopedia Britannica, this term was initially introduced in 1976 by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his work The Selfish Gene. However, it was not until roughly 2014 when users in the /r9k/ channel of the popular site 4chan began referring to original illustrations and photoshops of Pepe the Frog as “Rare Pepes.” 4chan users would share allegedly “rare” images of Pepe as if they were trading cards, initially on sites like eBay and Craigslist, but eventually, via Counterparty, one of the earliest chains to run on top of Bitcoin, Rare pepes went from meme to movement via the trading of cards and adoption of PepeCash. What is most remarkable about this ecosystem is that it was initiated in 2016/2017, way before most others were at all aware, let alone interested in NFTs.
Fast forward to March of 2022, and Rare Pepes are, in my personal opinion, one of the most undervalued NFT classes on the market. While yes, there have been momentous sales of Nakamoto cards over the past year or so, a treasure trove of OG NFTs from 2016-2018 are currently sitting on opensea for the taking on the Emblem Vault Ethereum account at a floor price of 0.032 ETH. You may be asking, ‘since these were minted on a Bitcoin layer two (for lack of a better term), how can one buy them on Ethereum?
Thanks to the incredible people at Emblem Vault– real counterparty NFTs from the early days of the space have been bridged over to Ethereum and Polygon, and are now accessible for us to buy on Opensea! According to Decrypt: “Emblem Vault is a tokenized multi-asset wallet [that] wraps crypto portfolios into a single NFT token.” So hodlers of OG counterparty NFTs are able to simply and safely bridge their NFTs, such as Rare Pepes, over to ETH, Polygon, and more!
How can you make sure that the NFT you’re buying is authentic? Since these are bridged over, and since we’re in the crypto space here, it’s up to us to do our own due diligence. So every time you buy any NFT from an Emblem Vault account, on Opensea for instance, it’s up to us to check the NFT’s emblem finance and XCP explorer links to ensure that the item we’re buying is a) an Original Rare Pepe (see example here) and b) via the XCP explorer link click on the asset, then click on “issuances” to see how many of a Rare Pepe NFT were originally minted.
While you will notice that there is an abundance of Rare Pepes available on Opensea, not all Pepes are made equal. While I’m not here to give financial advice, it should be obvious to anyone with a background in crypto or NFTs that the most scarce and oldest editions of these NFTs are inherently the most ‘rare.’ With the appropriately named Rare Pepes, rarity varies quite a lot from NFT to NFT. Some pieces come in editions of several million, and if you check them via the XCP explorer, you’ll see that they’re only evaluated at pennies apiece, so in my opinion, not worth buying for even 0.032 ETH.
However, there are NFTs available which are from incredible scarce mint batches of 5000, 3000, 1000, or even a few hundred. Since most of these were minted 5+ years ago on Bitcoin, and only some have been bridged over to ETH or Polygon, most of these collections are lost in a wallet somewhere, and many can’t be claimed. Owning a Rare Pepe from one of these small-batch collections today means that you likely own one of only a few hundred accessible NFTs, the scarcity of these Pepes making them, from my perspective, some of the rarest.
So while you can’t currently get a Nakamoto card for less than 100 ETH as of today, you can still snag some pieces of early NFT history on Opensea that are, in my opinion, still incredibly undervalued. Again, while we don’t give financial advice here, we can delve into the history of NFTs and pinpoint specific projects which we deem important and Rare Pepes are–undoubtedly–one of them. The purpose of this new series is for me to delve into the background of some of the OG NFTs in my collection. In the next article in this series, coming soon, I’ll delve into why I’m currently hodling gen0 CryptoKitties.
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Who would have thought Jackie and Kelso from That 70s Show would be early adopters in pioneering an animated NFT show called Stoner Cats? Although the name does fit the roles they both played as actors back in 1998.
Despite Ashton’s involvement with cryptocurrencies for nearly a decade, it was Mila Kunis who originated the idea to create the animated NFT show Stoner Cats. Mila explains on their YouTube channel that while stuck in the same house with Ashton during covid, she overheard what others were saying about how digital art was being sold as NFTs. Mila finally asked her husband if she could create an animated show as an NFT, to which Kutcher replied “Well, yes you could!” Fast forward to yesterday’s complete sell-out of Stoner Cats NFTs in 35 minutes.
Stoner Cats Teaser:
Low-effort Celebrity NFT Cash Grab?
While some in the NFT community would view this as yet another celebrity cash grab, there is much more nuance to be understood here. First of all, the project has an absolutely insane lineup of all-star talent voicing the characters of this adult cartoon including Jane Fonda, Seth MacFarlane, Chris Rock, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Vitalik Buterin himself. The all-star lineup doesn’t end with the celebrity cast, former CryptoKitties creative director Mack Flavelle is leading the effort along with the animation team of Chris Cartagena, Sarah Cole, and Ash Brannon. This breaks the low-effort celebrity cash grab narrative that in my opinion is really just rooted in a disguised form of jealousy amongst some of the louder voices in the space. There is already a mockery NFT project looking to capitalize on all the buzz Stoner Cats is generating that I won’t even mention here. In my own view, I choose to celebrate the success of others instead of criticizing it, regardless of how successful they were previously. The last time I checked, it takes quite a bit of effort and work to become an accomplished celebrity and to deal with all the haters that inevitably come with it. I spoke with a few other prominent NFT community members within the WTF Dao to get their opinions. Bryan Brinkman had some insightful nuggets he shared with me. “I may be an optimist, but as an animator who has worked in the industry, I’ve seen how hard it is to get a network to approve an idea that doesn’t fit into the mold they are looking for. This space is all about decentralizing and removing gatekeeping and this could prove to be a way for creators to do that.”
“I see this project as a rough roadmap for how creators can bankroll and build a community around their ideas in the same way Kickstarter and Patreon have. The difference here is that as an investor, you hold the value you invested in the Non-Fungible Token. As a supporter, you can help the project grow in value and increase the return on your investment. It’ll be interesting to see how the next wave of projects learn from what did and did not work in this one. I see future examples as having more utility and ownership of the content.”
“This project signals a new wave of “Celebrity NFTs”, prior to this we had some musicians, athletes, and actors joining the space, but none of them had the star power that this project brings. We are now going to see celebrities and influencers that have access to major networks late night and daytime talk shows being able to promote their NFT projects and that is going to onboard a massive wave of new interested collectors that I think will rival the boom we saw at the beginning of 2021.” Bryan’s comments really just confirmed my own observations about what this project was really about. If you are a builder or creator in this space, the selling out of this Stoner Cats NFT project is likely to inject an enormous amount of interest in NFTs, which is a net positive for creators in this space over the long term.
Failure to Launch and Gas Problems
This project was not without its own set of challenges and problems, I was in the Stoner Cats discord when its failure to launch on the original drop date prompted a flurry of anger and frustration along with an overwhelming amount of keyboard warriors with no manners saying things they would not dare say to another human face to face.
The very next day after the team worked tirelessly to fix the issues with the smart contract, they launched on time, however, there was so much demand for these Stoner Cats that gas prices on the Etherum blockchain skyrocketed north of 500 Gwei from less than 30 prior to the launch.
I myself had a transaction that failed after 40 minutes of waiting. According to data from Dune Analytics over $700,000 USD was lost in failed transactions.
I also got to speak with another WTF Dao member, Kai Turner, founder of the Meebits Dao, Experience Designer at Netflix, and Product Content Innovation lead and Advisor to NFT42. This is what he had to say:
“Funnily enough, I pitched a similar idea to the now-Dapper Labs CTO when I was at Sony Pictures Entertainment suggesting that CryptoKitties should do something exactly like this in 2017. So it’s notable that the former CryptoKitties Creative Director is leading the effort because maybe he saw similar potential in the space.”
“In terms of the creative concept, I think they could have set a higher bar. It does feel like someone has asked: What does the crypto community like? Cats and Weed! However, even though these are hackneyed themes within our niche, they might be slightly novel to the broader adult animation audience– so given the names, especially Seth McFarlane, attached — there is still a lot of potential for this to become a quality piece of entertainment.”
“Finally, with the NFT release, lots of complaints about the launch, but for us who have been in the space for a while, we’re used to the gas spikes. Although I think we do need a better model for oversubscribed drops than just pushing the contract and website live – Top Shot is pioneering models here out of necessity. So if it’s queues or tickets or waitlists
– just telling the community to pay a 200% premium on gas is not good enough anymore.
Gas isn’t my main concern though – I think the drop could have provided more variation than the same characters, the characters associated with characters in the show could have been the rarest ones, but why not build out a Stoner Cats universe of all the cats in the world? Even if they don’t make an appearance in the show in season 1 — there is future potential for them to! — maybe as a community reward/competition.”
“Overall, I’m enthusiastic about the project and the hope that it will set a new model for funding content – but like Kickstarter projects in the past, I’ll believe it when I see it … the execution of the final product is what matters most.” – Kai Turner
For me, the general takeaway is that despite all of the problems with the initial launch, the gas wars, lost funds, and the hate being hurled at celebrities for “daring” to use this nascent NFT technology; this project looks to be a major success in proving NFT’s are a better way forward for creatives in the entertainment industry. The idea that celebrities and all of Hollywood would not eventually be beating down the door to enter into this space is a short-sighted sentiment. There is a tremendous opportunity for those who are open to seeing the importance of this very moment in history as the future infrastructure for nearly all forms of entertainment media, is being built now. NFTs will continue to empower more creators and break down some of the very entrenched middlemen in the entertainment industry. Studios and publishers have carved predominantly predatory relationships with creators, but this new model of funding creative works via NFTs will force them to innovate and alter the way they interact with the true creators of value behind all types of intellectual property. I see a future world where the consumers of entertainment experiences will also be the stakeholders, contributors, and even the co-creators themselves, where the fans can have a more intimate connection and even ownership of the stories they love without all the bureaucratic bullshit, all brought to you by Non-fungible Tokens.
Featured image credit: Stonercats.com
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With the super hot NFT collectible drop hype cycle going on right now, many in the community are apeing into NFT project after project. From fucking pickles, bananas, rats, misfits, camels, strawberries, ducks, and now some undead monsters to boot, there is an emerging trend in collectible drops. We have a large number of NFT drop examples to pick from and many in the community are letting it be known what they don’t want to see more of. Take this tweet from one of the most vocal on-chain evangelists J1mmy.eth, founder of NFT42, Nameless, and Avastars
selling out and "waiting" a week for reveal of the actual tokens is pretty much the same thing as a FOMO ramp. and devs can give their friends the good nfts since we have no idea what we got until they decide to tell us.
Obviously, there are pros and cons to any line of logic, and J1mmy himself notes that there are some useful reasons to use a delayed reveal mechanic in certain situations, but not in the way we are seeing it used for the sake of pumping the floor price before a reveal. This is a trend that I agree, we as a community should push back on. To be contrarian for a moment to J1mmy.eth’s point, instantly revealing when a collectible NFT is minted, whales often have a serious advantage over us mere mortals who would like to participate in certain drops. We must find a solution that keeps things pointed towards a more egalitarian outcome, in my personal opinion. Then there is this rather concise summary of what many in the community are not liking about these recent collectible NFT drops:
Couldn't agree more @j1mmyeth. Summarizing the responses on my earlier post of what people hate: -Fomo ramps. -Delayed reveal. -Non-verified contracts -Use of generic OS storefront -No community building / anon teams -Absence of roadmap -Paid shilling https://t.co/uCv8UbPUA7
I would agree with all of these points. While I do understand that projects are all working to extract attention from a rather modest NFT-aware userbase, as we slowly creep towards mass adoption. The FOMO mechanics of many of these projects are merely trying to replicate what they have seen work in the past. If every NFT project team is replicating what they think will sell out the fastest, raise the most funds, or create the most hype and attention then we will keep getting more of the same repeat mechanics in future NFT drops.
I will not lie and say I don’t fall victim to the collectible hype, but I think we as a community should become more thoughtful in what we vote on supporting with our participation and spending. In full transparency, I own at least one of each of the NFTs I mentioned earlier( besides a banana). This is all mostly due to my efforts to diversify which projects I currently own, but low key because I am still butthurt that I didn’t get a few Bored Apes when I had multiple chances to. For me, bonding curves will keep me out of a project. Anonymous developers just feels like trouble, and no real utility being added to a project just spells a HARD no for me. Now, fun and novelty can be an underestimated utility especially if there is strong community involvement.
This commentary is mostly referencing these newer NFT collectible drops and not just crypto art that I like or supporting artists that I connect with. I don’t necessarily buy all NFTs because I think they may be worth more in the future, I will buy something that I really love, if I can afford it at the moment, or if it’s from an artist that is someone I really want to intentionally support because of who they are as people and/or if their work is just really dope. This would bring me to my next major gripe, especially around Avatar NFT projects. I want to pick what my avatar looks like, and not just randomly receive something I may not like at all. I see the outcome of this quite often when people start dumping avatars they don’t like on Opensea for lower prices than they paid for them.
Now I understand there are issues with letting everyone just choose what they want, but I am putting it out into the universe. If someone can come up with a novel method that protects the masses from gas wars and whales from just taking over while allowing us to build out avatars that we can love, then I think we would mostly agree: that would be cool! Perhaps without revealing the rarity of those physical aspects that are ‘choosable’ then we would have a win-win, or if rarity was not tied to only visual attributes but instead non-visual attributes to allow for customization. I know technically this could just be wishful thinking, at least for right now, but if we can send chunks of silicone and metal to Mars I think we can at some point figure out how to let me buy an avatar NFT that I fucking love before it hits the secondary market or I get priced out of what I want.
Many projects are thinking in the short to medium term and not thinking about their futures, where new technical possibilities can and will exist. This is where the on-chain gang argument really does shine with merit. Being able to reference things on-chain in the future will be a really powerful asset and boost the longevity of the projects that keep that future-focused mentality. I spoke with Michael Keen, founder of NFTcatcher.io, that is building a really fantastic platform that aggregates the most significant upcoming NFT drops in a comprehensive and useful way. I asked him about what he does not like to see in NFT drops because, honesty, he probably participates in and is aware of more drops than any single person that I know. Michael echoed many of the similar points listed above with some additional nuance: He told me “I don’t like to see metadata leaks before a reveal, any issues with the smart contract implementation really scares buyers” and he “doesn’t like to see the developers hiding and not answering questions” I would like to second the metadata leak issue as there were early rumors that were later confirmed during the Misfit University drop, which can be exploited by the technically gifted over the average user to mint the token ids with the rarest traits. Crying eyes and duct tape drama debacles aside, a responsive team can work through issues with the community as they arise. I personally watched as NFT Twitter wanted to burn the devs of the Misfit University project at the stake, with the alleged rape culture references, but they were responsive and listened to the community and arrived at a solution that in many ways has saved that project, at least to live or die another day. If we want to see better NFT Collectible Drops with less of what we don’t want and more of what we do want then we as a community should be having these conversations with the developers and creators of these projects. Above all, we should be putting our crypto where our mouths are and voting with our fungible token spending.
Main Featured Image Credit: Remix of Slacker Duck & Arabian Camel by Albert Polanco
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Digging through Twitter threads to figure out what’s going on can be like having to make a trip to the DMV -it’s almost never fun and almost always painful. On the 24th of June, there was a little spark of controversy that flamed out into what appeared to be the only thing people were talking about, at least for a few hours in the NFT Twitterverse. Especially if you live in the NFT echo chamber on Twitter and follow some of the most engaged accounts. It started when account @beanieMaxi revealed that he was allegedly not just one person, but was a team of professional marketers and that he and @digitalartchick, another prominent NFT tweeter, were in fact the same group of people running both accounts for engagement purposes.
I will say the same people have written our Tweets and we are on (work for) the same team. That’s why you probably notice an overlap and similarities. We try to keep each account fresh and unique though and of course max engagement always. Metrics are how we get paid.
Now, why in the fu*k should any of us care about what these two NFT Twitter accounts are saying? Who are they? and why are you even going to spend the next few minutes reading this article about this Twitter drama?
Beanie is a self-proclaimed senior art critic @punkscomic, villain, and JPEG Shiller who at the time of this article being released has around 25K Twitter followers.
Digital Artchick, with a similar following on her Twitter, states that she drinks and tweets about art. Both of these individuals are semi prominent collectors and recognized figures in the NFT space. They are known to invest in various projects and tend to draw attention to NFTs when they become collectors and start to tweet about them.
There are a few things about this whole debacle to unpack from this that I’d like to highlight:
Operating under anonymous pseudonyms and Twitter handles allows people to be curated versions of themselves, sometimes realistic, sometimes not so much. This can also be problematic especially if the NFT community is going to grant these people any form of influence over this growing non-fungible token ecosystem. Take both of these accounts, for example, they are pretty raw and no-filter-type Twitter accounts that create controversy as a method to gain engagement and exposure. While many find these antics entertaining, it also seems to really muddy the NFT space, at least from my perspective. First of all, let me ask you a question, do you talk to other people in real life the way we see many of these Twitter personalities speaking to others online?
I would hope not, much of the terrible manners I see in public social media conversations across the board, in real life could possibly earn you a good punch to the face, due to the overall lack of respect and basic decency. To be honest, this is not just these two influencers, it seems society and platform-wide, this is a growing trend that once you have some level of obscurity in your conversations, humans get a whole lot less inclined to have manners and I am not sure that is a good thing. Personally, I refuse to even get involved in Facebook conversations outside of the tight-knit communities I am involved in because it is just so energy-draining and toxic to see how disrespectful and intolerant people feel entitled to act when they are hiding behind a keyboard. What we pay attention to grows and so why would I even highlight this drama, that at the end of the day could be ignored by hitting the block button as many who value their sanity choose to do.
@Digitalart chick felt so much backlash from Beanies stunt that she posted a selfie to prove she was in fact a woman and not the alleged group of male marketers pretending to be a woman, and then ruthless twitter began to bash her for how she looked, which was definitely not cool.
Is this what the NFT community is about? There is some humour to be found in Meme culture, but there is also a line we should consider as a community. Berating, trolling bullying others online just does not represent what the NFT space is about in my opinion. In many ways what Beanie did was just reckless, added zero value to the community, and overall shows a lack of empathy and basic respect. Selling out for engagement at the expense of others in the community is not just on this one individual, it falls on us as a community that engages with, applauds, and rewards this type of behaviour. The fact that I am writing an article about it now, calling more attention to this type of behavior, in some ways can be seen as rewarding these types of antics. However, my goal is to start a discussion about our ethos in general as a community and to dialog about how we can begin to agree to treat one another better in this space. To be honest, I can see why some find Beanie entertaining, but personally, for me, I’ll just mute him and keep moving forward. Which may be a very valid way to filter out what you want entering into your own mental space. I find it much more worth my time to be inspired by others in this space who are building awesome things, helping others, contributing to causes that matter, and having a good time while still retaining some basic kindness and decency.
At the same time I am not looking to always be politically correct or cater to each and every person’s personal triggers because at what point do you draw the line? Humans can virtually be offended by nearly anything these days and Who TF has time for all that?
Here are just a few profiles in this space that I do believe are worth highlighting for their work and how they show up in the NFT Community.
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With the spotlight on non-fungible tokens unlikely to fade anytime soon, it was only a matter of time before memes showed up to the party with their entire crew. Meme.com, the new digital platform for fine memes, was officially announced on May 19th, after raising $5 million from a group of both blockchain-centric venture capitalist firms as well as independent investors.
The announcement was made on Twitter by Meme Explorers and in a Medium piece written by MarbleCards co-founder Johan Unger. The valuation capabilities that are built into Marble.Cards will also be a part of Meme.com. According to Unger, the platform was built specifically as a “crypto-economic system that can track the value of memes.”
The co-founder of Polygon, Sandeep Nailwal, also contributed to the initial funding round for the new marketplace. Polygon (formerly Matic) is an Indian-based blockchain startup focused on scalability and the creation of a multichain ecosystem on the Ethereum network.
The arrival of Meme.com marks the beginning of a new era for this internet phenomenon. NFTs have re-fueled the ongoing debate over what qualifies as art, but memes have already established themselves as a textbook example of postmodern, often absurdist, art.
The first internet meme, Baby Cha Cha, aka the dancing baby, appeared in 1996. Flash forward to 2021, and we now have fine memes and trends, courtesy of MarbleCards.
Humor is a big part of meme culture, and references to iconic memes such as Pepe the Frog and Doge can be seen on the landing page for Meme.com. At the moment, users can sign up for the new online space, but the marketplace is not yet live. However, the meme.com website is full of whimsical wordplay, billing itself as the “The Majestic Establishment of Memetic Exploration.” Please send us your favourite usage of the word “memetic” @NFTSwtf on twitter.
But what exactly is this site for? Meme.com describes itself as a combination of Wikipedia and Dogecoin. What that means exactly is anyone’s guess, but from our context clues and public information, it will definitely involve cryptocurrency, altcoins, and an open-source database.
Meme coins, which started more or less as a joke, have shown both their value and volatility over recent months. In the span of less than a week, the price of these coins dropped dramatically. On May 8th, Elon Musk hosted Saturday Night Live and joked (was serious?) that Doge was “just a hustle.” Four days later, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin traded a large quantity of dog meme coins that were sent to his wallet address for ETH. He then donated this Ethereum to the India coronavirus relief fund, Crypto Covid. The owners of these meme coins sent half of their token supply to Buterin’s public Etherum wallet address in a burn attempt. However, because he chose to sell them, the price for these coins dipped dramatically. According to data compiled by Coinmarket cap, the Dogecoin was worth approximately $0.3203 at 4:30 pm EST on Friday. May 28th. Soon after, Dogecoin was trading at roughly 72 cents on May 8, the same day as Musk’s SNL appearance.
For an interview with Coinbase, head of investment at Digital Finance Group, Joanna Ling talked about the firm’s funding support for Meme.com. “We believe that memes and meme markets, such as Meme.com, are promising and innovative ways to empower users who find or create trends,” says Ling.
Solutions that financially reward cultural influencers continue to be released and developed, each with different value metrics. How the market lands is anyone’s guess, but the evolution of decentralized finance and advancements in blockchain technology are creating an exciting environment for exploration.
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I recently had a zoom chat with Johan of Meme.com wherein we discussed his upcoming launch, how memes fit into blockchain and much more:
D: You’ve recently raised over 5 million in VC backing for this new meme blockchain project. So, speaking about memes, what makes them so valuable in our society today?
J: I think they are the most fun way to tell stories. They’re also very effective in getting the story told, and there’s also a really strong internal recognition as in “oh, I understand what this means.” This meme understands, and so do you. It’s like this connection between people and it’s a lot of fun! So that’s why I think it’s so powerful. And that people can relate to it as well is a big part of it.
So I’ve almost turned into when I talk I find myself more and more referring to memes. “It’s like that meme.” You know?
D: It’s become part of our vocabulary at this point, it’s not so foreign.
J: Yeah exactly!
D: So for you, what’s the connection between memes and blockchain?
J: I think it’s the way to measure the value of the memes. I think we are moving towards a trend where more and more things become financialized. And the line between entertainment and speculation is blurring. And so there I think that memes, and trying to determine the value of memes is a great way for people to speculate on the popularity of things, and try to ascribe value to them. And that’s where crypto comes in.
D: Excellent, and perfect transition. The first “meme currency” that gained popularity was Dogecoin. How do you feel about Dogecoin?
J: It’s definitely an inspiration, it’s the first time a token’s value came from a meme. And it kind of opened the door to the notion that anything can be valuable as long as people agree that it is valuable. So I think that it opened the door to much of our thinking, both around Marvel Cards but also around meme.com as well.
D: Awesome. The universal value, or ability to use technology to measure value has been discussed as being one of the most important elements of this whole space. The certification aspects of NFTs or tokens. So when you start to see different coins popping up, it makes sense that the ones that are the most popular are the ones that have the most pop-culture value. So to me, it makes sense. I’m also someone who has done a lot of research in this space – I did my master’s thesis on NFTs and DeFi. So this next question isn’t coming from a place of criticism – but more so just to get your opinion:
Hearing people use the term “Shitcoin” to describe something like Doge – how does that make you feel – or what is your response to those that tout similar projects as less than valid?
J: I think that people use “Shitcoin” because that’s just what they’ve always said when describing something that’s not Bitcoin. In most cases, it is just used to describe something as a “non-Bitcoin-coin.” That being said, I can totally understand why people think that Dogecoin is a joke and we look at some of the other meme coins that have popped up recently and many of them are definitely not here for the long term. But I think that the trend where people speculate on things where the value comes from the name of the coin for example. I think that it’s an interesting trend that will, moving forwards, be refined. And we will see more interesting use cases pop up that tap into this speculation on trends.
D: And I think it also does tap into a little bit of the reality of all kinds of investments within this ecosystem. A lot is, to a degree, speculation. You can do your research, you can have 10-year projections; but they’re projections, right? And I think something really interesting that a lot of companies have done is to just go to “Shitcoin” conferences – like the one that just happened in Miami. And projects like Cardano were even there, projects that are new but really respected in the space. And they’re almost embracing the term “shitcoin” as in – call us what you want. How do you feel about that? Do you see a future in almost “memefying” the response to these meme coins?
J: Sure – that’s marketing. If they can get a result from that, then sure, why not. I do think that the memetic layer of things – take something like Gamestop for example – where people bought into it just because it was a meme on Reddit. I think potentially more companies and coins will try to embrace that and capitalize on that somehow. So we’ll probably see more and more weird attempts at getting this meme thing running. It will be interesting to see as I’m sure some will come up with interesting ways to achieve that. So it will be interesting to follow.
D: Absolutely, and again – perfect segue – thinking about some of these larger meme coin projects (like Doge or Shiba). A lot of the early adopters are trying to find more and more use cases for those currencies. Even being as simple as accepting them at their local businesses etc. How do you feel about that response from the community? Do you see a future in people trying to find more use-cases for these coins?
J: I think the value of the coins comes from the value of their memes. And so, if I have a local business that accepts it, I don’t think it has much impact on the actual value of that coin. So I think for a meme coin to be successful, it simply has to have a very strong meme. Which Dogecoin has, for example. I think when it comes to meme.com – the coins are means to an end. The goal of the platform is to try to quantify the value of the memes. To see what is trending at the moment, what people believe in. And so the platform itself can give value to the coins. But I think that for standalone meme coins, the meme is everything. So for it to be valuable it has to have strong marketing basically.
D: That makes a lot of sense. It sounds like something that you’re going to provide which doesn’t exist right now is the quantifiable data about specific memes and their popularity. Maybe they can go on other sites and databases to see some information about the history, but they can’t really get stats, which people who are investing on any level really want. So maybe with that in mind – to people who want to make the argument that this is investing and not gambling – what is your response to naysayers?
J: So we like to describe ourselves as: if Wikipedia and Dogecoin had a baby. And what we mean by that is – you have sites like Wikipedia, Knowyourmeme, etc. Where you can go to get the history, and maybe some extra links and content. But where it gets interesting is where we can actually get ‘skin in the game data.’ Where we can actually see that people are believing in this meme and putting money behind it. Or people are creating NFTs around this meme which are selling for X amount. So I think it adds another layer of analytics or data when you add financial mechanics to it.
D: Perfect. And I think that’s really what people need in the space right now to ease a lot of speculation. And also just to have some specific projections in the space, so that’s awesome. So just wrapping things up, with this venture in mind – what’s the future of memes in crypto – is there anything in particular with this project that you’re particularly excited about at the moment?
J: We’re launching the first version of the meme market in July. Before we were Meme, we were Marvel Cards which is an NFT platform that has been around since 2018. So we’ve been building that, and now we’re finally ready to start launching big sites that people can “Marvel” from. So we just launched Spotify, our biggest launch yet. And we’re planning on launching Twitter and Instagram and YouTube in the coming two months. So we’ll correlate with the launch of meme.com hopefully and get a lot of people to engage.