Memes are really powerful. They act as a way to quickly disseminate information to a wide range of people and, because of the internet, a meme can literally spread around the globe in just a few hours. This level of information sharing is incredible and often taken for granted so I wanted to explore how memes influence the crypto space and Ethereum in particular.
My tweet above is basically a simplification of a wider meme - that is, the meme of ETH staking (or “steaking” - get it?). Proof of Stake has been in the works for Ethereum for years now so the community has been rallying around the meme of “32 ETH” (the minimum required stake amount). One popular take on the staking meme is a tweet format that Evan Van Ness is quite fond of using.
So, what makes a good meme? A few things - it has to have broad appeal, be easily understandable, relatable to something that people are familiar with (like “digital gold” for Bitcoin), divisive (optional but gives the meme greater reach), and it needs to be timeless.
What I find really interesting is when a prominent figure that’s part of a project is turned into a meme that the community latches onto. For example, Chainlink’s founder Sergey Nazarov can be found in many of the Chainlink-related memes and is worshiped as some sort of deity by the “link marines”. Similarly, Vitalik is commonly used in memes across the crypto-ecosystem with very notable examples being the Vitalik lambo meme and, my personal favorite, Italic Buterin. There’s really no shortage of these people being used in memes - Ethereum even has its own dedicated meme Twitter account where you can follow along with all of this.
Then there are memes that are borne out of negativity:
“No one can run an Ethereum node”
“Cryptokitties killed Ethereum”
Memes about high gas prices
Memes about crypto prices falling
These memes are great because they trigger an emotional response from both the people spreading the negativity and those trying to defend against it. This works to propagate the meme out much quicker than it would normally as humans love drama (whether they admit it or not) and social media algorithms are usually tuned to promote content that gets lots of engagement - and what gets more engagement than playing on human tribalism?
One thing I’ve learnt over the last few years is that trying to “force” a meme into relevance is rarely a winning strategy. You need buy-in from the wider community for a meme to stick and most of the time something only becomes a meme naturally. The best example of this is the “link marines” aka the Chainlink community. As far as I can tell, this community emerged organically from 4chan and then they spread themselves out to Twitter and other forums. Most of their members are anonymous and have continued to grow in numbers as the price of LINK has skyrocketed and the project has grown over the past 18 months. This community not only promotes Chainlink constantly on social media but they are also responsible for creating all of the memes that further spread their message.
When it comes to crypto-networks or individual crypto-projects, I believe a strong community is everything. I also believe that the best tool a community has to spread its message and recruit new members is through memes. The best example of this phenomenon of “meme magic” is, again, Chainlink.
Just look at what meme magic did for the price of LINK.
Have a great day everyone,
All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.