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Exploring the Divide: Degen Culture in Korea vs. the World

Respect the Degen

A few days ago, I initiated a conversation on Twitter about the meaning of 'Degen' and received a myriad of responses. This prompted me to delve deeper into how Koreans perceive Western Degen culture. In Korea, we embody the Degen spirit in our unique way, yet we often overlook the richness of its diversity.

If you're curious about what I mean, satisfy your curiosity by reading on:

The Missing Piece Many Korean Services Seek: Degen Sensibility

Web3 services need that Degen flair, something we find lacking in our approach. Successful services seem to have that Degen vibe, which we find challenging to emulate. This sentiment is often echoed.

So, what exactly is 'Degen'? It's shorthand for 'Degenerate', denoting a state of decline or degradation. However, within the blockchain community, 'Degen' refers to those well-versed in crypto culture, who daringly invest in emerging coin narratives, carrying a positive connotation.

The irony embedded in its origin and meaning is crucial to understanding Degen sensibility.

I personally view crypto as a subculture originating from the U.S. It combines American humor (extending to the vibe of the Five Eyes countries) with 'coins', showcasing groups that quickly earn and lose money. Those referred to as Degens on platforms outside Twitter differ from traditionally admired figures.

In crypto, a mid-30s bearded man can proudly display a cat profile picture and shout "GMEAOW". Esteemed Web2 entrepreneurs start Twitter accounts with anime avatars, leading to a collective "that's crypto for you" response, complete with screenshots.

In a capitalist society, money and status are closely intertwined. Degens often possess wealth without the corresponding social status. Yet, society covets 'money'. Degens, however, don't take society's standards seriously, apart from wealth. This irony seems to manifest Degen sensibility, mixing B-grade, mocking, self-deprecating, and sharp sentiments.

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If Degen were a speech bubble, it might read: "I'm a billionaire always ready to apply for a McDonald's job. I strive to turn my billion into ten, sleeping merely 3 hours a night in search of alpha."

Identifying four Degen traits from this bubble:

1. They embrace risk.
2. They're not necessarily poor.
3. They're early adopters, always on the lookout for something new.
4. Despite experiencing daily financial fluctuations and stress, they masochistically enjoy the situation.

Alternatively, they lean more towards Street Smart than Book Smart, honing instincts through real-life experiences rather than academic knowledge.

This clashes with Korea's Confucian culture, making Degen sensibility a challenge. We're raised to admire those who excel academically, aspiring to prestigious jobs or positions in well-known companies. Hence, the prevalent values in Korea don't align with the four aspects of Degen sensibility, making the crypto vibe particularly elusive.

Even abroad, those deeply involved in crypto investment fitting the 'Degen' description are a minority. Additionally, Korea has a problematic culture worth mentioning. Crypto intersects heavily with internet community culture, where dissenting opinions, even logical ones, often face dismissive or hostile reactions, distinguishing Degens from mere crypto speculators.

The 'Degen' persona services aim to attract might impulsively buy meme coins but also conducts thorough research for subsequent investment decisions. They might buy on a whim, but in-depth study and hypothesis testing follow for informed decision-making. This highlights the crypto culture of DYOR (Do Your Own Research), not just insights gleaned from Discord or Telegram interactions but also understanding market trends and specific services.

Anecdotally, 80% of Koreans have suffered losses in crypto, yet less than 1% work in the blockchain industry, often starting with DYOR on their lost investments.

Discussing community culture, I believe Reddit users are more exposed to environments conducive to developing Degen qualities compared to DCinside users. Reddit fosters philosophical and logical constructive conversations, allowing easy sharing of new perspectives without personal attacks.

Additionally, the cultural gap in humor and graphics between Korea and the West adds another layer of difficulty for Koreans to grasp Degen sensibility.

Not all Web3 services require Degen sensibility. The most critical aspect is creating a well-made service. Not every service needs a community, but it does need users, who are attracted to quality services. Ultimately, understanding the user base and spreading the word about our service is crucial for service planners, making it necessary to keep tabs on what Degens follow.

I hope you enjoyed today's content! If there is any topic you would like me to cover, please comment below! 💡

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#korean#web3 marketing
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