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Post #5: Meme tokens, Scene Coins, and Culture Capital

Thoughts on how memes are fueling the next evolution of cultural capital

$CRASH chat going crazy

On Telegram, the general channel for the token $CRASH often echoes the phrases like the ones used above. Extremely active and alive, the chat comes together, feeding kthe vibes of this so- called "meme coin." $CRASH functions more like an art project than a speculative frenzy, characterized by its high-quality designs for ads, authentic partnerships, and a fervently engaged community. The coordination within this project is unparalleled, reflecting a broader shift in how we perceive meme tokens—not merely as trivial pursuits but as potentially groundbreaking cultural phenomena. This isn’t an isolated event by any means, and it seems like more is brewing within the narrative of these valueless “shitcoin" projects.

Memes: The Untapped Cultural Force

Early meme pages that are catching value (Hidden, Nolita Dirtbag, Patiasfantasyworld)

Memes have long been a potent, albeit untapped, energy source on the internet, capable of shifting perspectives, sparking conversation, and both forging and fracturing connections. Historically, media outlets have harnessed memes to sway public opinion, transforming them into powerful artifacts of cultural expression. With the advent of social media, the transformation of memes from mere amusement to valuable assets has accelerated, with prominent accounts turning a profit from meme engagement.

Social media was one of the first platforms to harness and exchange memes, transforming them from mere raw forms to sources of value accrual. Many prominent accounts have, in some shape or form, churned out a profit from the memes they share. Yet, our meme foundries have been running at full capacity, with every meme page attempting to capture some essence of our culture. We click, follow, and passively ingest these memes through our eyes and ears, sharing what resonates with us—or what doesn’t. But what if this essence found a new conduit?

What if it opened up new channels of communication, engagement, and ways to proliferate the information that surrounds us?

Linking Up Onchain

leader in the culture coin category $FWB

NFTs initially ushered in a wave of innovation, but this was only the beginning. We witnessed communities emerge and flourish, with value being imbued into IPFS links and some on chain. Trading centered around brand identity and cultural proliferation, introducing new means of coordination, status, and gating that differentiated insiders from outsiders. However, this was only the beginning. As the crypto market crashed (around 2022-2023) and necessitated a new wave of growth, ideas evolved from ERC-721s and began extending to ERC-20s. In all fairness, Dogecoin was one of the pioneers, having been used as a form of payment through the tipping system on Reddit. And communities like $FWB were also early adopters, proposing that the token, the community, the identity, and value, could all be linked.

There’s nothing wrong with this development; if anything, it has unlocked new opportunities for collaboration, novel methods of speculation, and ways for people to directly benefit from the culture they are part of.

$CRASH: A Case Study in Value Creation

effective design from the $CRASH squad

Post-2023, with SOL as a catalyst, we are witnessing a new kind of engagement layer take shape, one that showcases the power of decentralized coordination—a stark contrast to conventional corporate strategies. $CRASH exemplifies this shift, operating with a token that lacks inherent value but is bolstered by a strong narrative and cohesive branding.

We start with a token with no inherent value (most don’t), and at its center, a strong narrative that permeates seamless branding materials. But surely you are wondering how the value is created?

Remember, memes largely go unharnessed and move too quickly to be captured in their raw essence. In the case of $CRASH, what if you take those brand materials, make them available to your public, and use the creation of memes as a method to distribute and increase their value? Propagate the meme (nouns anyone?)

Reimagining Marketing and Engagement

meme.market making culture capital easy

Meme.market has truly taken this concept and catapulted it into the spotlight, making the purchasing process an integral part of your engagement. Crash has achieved this by allowing people to use the brand materials to create and distribute items. If their creations are selected, they receive a share of the value, which is even more beneficial when the token's value increases. Furthermore, we see initiatives like tipping with $DEGEN and $Enjoy, which distribute rewards based on participation. It might seem like a lot, but imagine using this approach for larger brand exercises, or integrating it into your marketing department.

Traditional marketing departments struggle to keep pace with collectives that make decisions asynchronously. This isn’t to say it’s the ultimate solution, but I often wonder when observing marketing initiatives that feel disconnected from the communities they aim to engage, whether this doesn't present a real alternative. It has significantly aided $CRASH and could similarly benefit "valueless" blockchains, small businesses, production studios, and more.

sick meme from Edmond Lau, can cop on Zora

The (Developing) Future of Scene Coins

So, I think we'll see more Scene Coins (though I prefer the term Culture Coins) emerge, as more people begin to experiment beyond just this moment in the meta. Just like NFTs, which aren’t going away anytime soon, a new layer and stack for creative development are just being realized as the internet continues to evolve.

And to be clear, this isn’t some sort of declaration. For the most part, I've refrained from delving too deeply into the economics of things; I’m not an economist by any means. However, the intertwining of these concepts has me thinking about the role culture and economics will play in the developing future.

I personally want to contribute to building a more sustainable world where these opportunities lead to robust new support systems, opportunities for people to benefit from their involvement, and the creation of new worlds where mutual benefit could actually become a reality. Utopian in design, but perhaps achievable with the right technological support.

If you want to see references I used, things I am reading, looking at, etc, check out the are.na channel here.

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#emergent tech#culture#meme coins#fwb#scene coins
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