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The Shitcoin Paradox: Human Nature, Psychology, and Technology

We're all just trying to make it...

In the wild world of web3, "shitcoins" have become the talk of the town these last few weeks, grabbing collectors' and creators' attention away from JPEGs and bringing the cycle of degeneracy back to its original roots. As someone who's always thinking about how human nature, psychology, and technology mix and mingle, I can't help but be intrigued by the appeal of these seemingly worthless tokens. Why do people trade these things, anyway?

Not unlike NFT "investing", at the core of the shitcoin phenomenon lies the fundamental desire for personal gain. Inherent in the human experience is the pursuit of wealth, power, and status, often in the face of overwhelming odds. Trading shitcoins is the purest of speculative gambles, tapping into both our innate risk-taking tendencies and the adrenaline rush of chasing lucrative, high-risk opportunities without needing to pretend we're into the art that comes with NFTs.

Tech's really good at magnifying our natural tendencies, and as we've seen recently, anyone can hop on a decentralized exchange or even launch their own coin after watching a YouTube video or getting help from AI. Compared to NFTs, shitcoins are way easier to get your hands on, with smaller price tags and way more liquidity. So, it's no surprise people jumped on the bandwagon like there's no tomorrow.

The psychological underpinnings of trading shitcoins can be traced to the social dynamics that pervade our online lives. With the advent of social media, we have cultivated a culture that thrives on instant gratification, a sense of belonging, and validation. Shitcoins, in their ephemeral and fluctuating nature, offer an ideal platform for communities to rally around, united by the shared pursuit of profit and the desire to belong to a movement. It is within this context that we witness the viral proliferation of memes, as well as the formation of "tribes" that cling to specific coins, imbuing them with identity and value. Just like with NFTs, this communal aspect of shitcoin trading serves to fulfill our deep-seated need for connection and affirmation, while simultaneously exploiting our susceptibility to FOMO.

In conclusion, shitcoin season reveals intriguing insights into the complex relationship between human nature, psychology, and technology. The speculative allure of these tokens can be traced to our innate desires for wealth and social validation, while their rapid proliferation is fueled by the connective power of technology. As a student of human nature, crypto has been the best live-action experiment to observe. I invite everyone to recognize and analyze the aforementioned patterns, challenging ourselves to further question how our cognitive biases shape our engagement with emerging technologies, and ultimately, the world around us.

We all said NFTs would onboard the masses to blockchain, and with speculation still being the main use case for crypto, I do laugh a bit at the irony of all these former NFT collectors who had no idea about Ethereum 1-2 years ago now mastering the use of block explorers, decentralized tooling, and other pieces of the shitcoin tech infrastructure. JPEGs did onboard a lot of people after all, maybe we just have to build other real use cases.