President Nayib Bukele is responding to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) warning that El Salvador should remove the legal tender status of Bitcoin (BTC) with a meme.
Back in September of last year, El Salvador became the world’s first nation to recognize Bitcoin (BTC) as an official currency.
The leading crypto asset has since gone on a roller coaster of price swings, climbing to an all-time high above $69,000 in November before a series of steep declines took it below $40,000 this month.
Now the IMF, after its annual bilateral meeting with Salvadoran officials, recommends that Bitcoin’s legal tender status be rescinded.
“There are large risks associated with the use of Bitcoin on financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection, as well as the associated fiscal contingent liabilities.
Some directors also expressed concern over the risks associated with issuing Bitcoin-backed bonds.”
President Bukele then took to Twitter to post an animated meme from the popular TV show The Simspons, where the character Homer Simpson performs a walking handstand while two other characters are speaking.
One of them shoos him away and responds dismissively,
Bukele routinely updates his followers when El Salvador buys Bitcoin, recently informing the world that he’d just scooped up over 400 BTC.
“El Salvador just bought 410 Bitcoin for only 15 million dollars.
Some guys are selling really cheap.”
The big buy follows several other purchases after Bitcoin’s price fell, including 100 BTC in November, 420 BTC in October, and 150 BTC in September.
At time of writing, Bitcoin is trading sideways on the day and priced at $37,428.
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After a couple of years of studying Bitcoin and the U.S. dollar that I was raised to trust like it was some faceless god, I eventually started valuing everything in Bitcoin’s satoshis instead of the U.S. dollar.
The biggest reason wasn’t because of Bitcoin either. It was the U.S. dollar’s system that did it to me. Once I learned what the system was and how it functioned, I could no longer value anything in dollars after realizing how fast they were exponentially losing value.
The U.S. dollar is a system that is burning up its own value with every new dollar that is digitally issued and shoved into the bank accounts of the top 1% of the world. It is shoved into their accounts whenever they need to get a new bank bailout loan or corporate bond loan. They then take that new money and freeze it into their own portfolio’s asset holdings. Jumping ship from the dollar while the loan/money printing process that got them those dollars melts away the buying power of everyone else’s U.S. dollar savings.
This process leaves almost none of that newly printed money liquidity to trickle down to those at the bottom that are relying on the dollar. Dollars that are perpetually being devalued thanks to the digital printing of trillions of new dollars; trillions of new dollars that are issued through loans acquired by the top 1% for their asset-hoarding greed. And we wonder why the wealth inequality is getting so bad with all this loan welfare. Loan welfare for the top 1% where they get a majority of the newly printed cash to then play musical chairs within their asset market of choice.
They possess most of the now 35% of all U.S. dollars in existence that were digitally printed out of thin air last year, as stated by Jack Choros in a blog post going over the increases in M1 money supply during the pandemic. They always get a majority of the new digitally printed cash every year through loans to hoard in their assets, all while giving employees the bare minimum. Not even the bare minimum to survive anymore, but the bare minimum they can get away with since minimum wage isn’t even enough to afford the new rising costs of rent. NPR covers this in their article: “Rents Are Out Of Reach For Most Americans Earning Minimum Wage.”
That happens because our cash is created with every new loan that gets issued in our current monetary system, as stated by Forbes in “How Bank Lending Really Creates Money, And Why The Magic Money Tree Is Not Cost Free.”
The top 1% can afford to get the largest loans out of all of us. Some of them can even force the government to give them large loans or even buy up their stock, which in turn forces new money to be digitally printed. Devaluing the rest of the dollars in circulation in the process. We saw this during the pandemic. It was covered by The New York Times in their article titled: “1 Percent of P.P.P. Borrowers Got Over One-Quarter of the Loan Money.” According to the article, the 1% of businesses that got the lion’s share of the P.P.P loan money consisted of “powerful law firms like Boies Schiller Flexner, restaurants like the steakhouse chain started by Ted Turner, as well as the operator of New York’s biggest horse tracks.”
The government is often forced to give out these massive corporate loans that cause the printing of new money which devalues everyone’s U.S. dollar savings. There are situations like this that we see every couple of years where banks need to get bailed out because their corrupt systems go bust and start falling apart, further increasing the debt imbalance on the U.S. dollar’s balance sheet.
To see examples of these forced loans and forced stock buying programs for the largest banks and corporations of the world, all we have to do is look back to the same 2008 bailouts that caused Satoshi to invent Bitcoin in the first place. Wikipedia has a page detailing the events well, listing all the beneficiaries of the bailout in their page named the “Troubled Asset Relief Program.” A program that was created because banks and corporations marketed themselves as “Too Big To Fail.” In other words, using unproven theories about how their own failures caused by their own mistakes would somehow cause the whole financial system to crash, all to scare the general public and their lobbied politicians into bailing them out with programs that print new dollars just for them. These bailouts charge anyone saving in dollars an invisible tax via the inflation those bailouts cause. Wikipedia also has a page covering this that explains it in the following words: “Inflation tax It is a hidden regressive tax. Financial repression A range of measures which governments can employ to reduce their debt, which are often accompanied by inflation.”
Another part of this money printing picture for the top 1% is “Corporate welfare programs.” Programs in which governments hand out money grants, tax breaks and other special favorable treatment to corporations in the top 1% of the financial world.
The U.S. dollar’s system in which new dollars are generated through loans is basically a loan-based, asset-hoarding pyramid scheme with extra steps. One that is falling apart at increasingly faster rates with every uptick in inflation, and no uptick in wages thanks to the wage stagnation caused by corporate greed. Corporate greed likes to test how little they can get away with paying people while avoiding an uprising.
It falls apart further with every new digitally printed dollar that forces them to print even more dollars to pay off old debts, which in turn creates larger debts in the process. Repeating this bleeding debt, money creation cycle that is causing the inflationary purchasing power loss of the U.S. dollar to grow exponentially faster over time.
All this so 1% of the population can hoard enough assets to live like financial gods. With enough money to fly their rockets to the heavens and still have more money left over than they can ever possibly spend in their lifetimes. But sure, some of them are promising to give it all away when they die, so they tell us that it’s okay for them to do it.
Their corrupt schemes get more fun, too, on the other end of this debt/money creation equation: the investor’s end.
On the investor’s end, the government pays off debts to old national bond investors with the money they receive from new national bond investors that are investing into the government’s bond market system.
That means that the U.S. pays off old investors of the nation with the money they receive from new investors into the nation’s bond system. Sound familiar? In the dictionary, this is called a Ponzi scheme. I call it “a Ponzi scheme with extra steps.”
These government bond investors are supposed to be the ones funding the new government bond loans. But there are not enough investors to do that, since most people today are wage slaves. So, the investors that are able to invest can only afford to fund a small percentage of the massive corporate-government loans that get approved every year. Meaning the rest is new money printed out of thin air with each loan that exceeds the national bond investment cash inflow.
They print the new money that devalues the purchasing power of everyone else’s U.S. dollar savings, while at the same time freezing the new money supply in corporate assets that prevents it from trickling down and circulating throughout the economy: This system is how a wage slave working class is created.
A working class with wages so low that they can never save any substantial amount of money before the dollars in their savings are devalued beyond any meaningful utility. Usually forcing them to have no other option but to take on unpayable debts just to get by and get anything they need in life like a house, a car, food, or rent, or even to pay emergency medical bills.
The national bond investor end of this equation is what allows the government the front they need to be able to print the massive amounts of money that they do. Money that they then loan to Wall Street every year who then freezes it into their asset bags.
You know, like how a money-laundering operation works. Except, instead of the money coming in from cartels or nefarious businesses with offshore bank accounts to then be washed through their fake businesses and stored in legal assets, it’s just being printed out of thin air by the Federal Reserve. Adding more dollars to the overall circulating dollar supply, while reducing the value of everyone else’s savings who save in U.S. dollars and/or fiat currencies like it that rely on the dollar.
Have you felt that something was off with our financial system in this country? That might be because you subconsciously noticed that the system unfairly flows the stream of new money to the top 1%. While at the same time leaving those at the bottom with less money and only higher debts every year that perpetually grows and forces them to work all their lives.
In layman’s terms, the system is a debt-based pyramid scheme with extra steps, fronted on the other end by an investing-based Ponzi scheme with extra steps.
George Carlin said it best: “It’s a big club, and you ain’t invited.”
Everyone else might as well be a WestWorld robot-like wage slave whose time can be rented and traded with a paycheck like a deck of trading cards.
It’s two sides of the same rotten apple, and it is starting to rot down to the core. Two corrupt practices that the government takes other companies and individuals down for when they’re caught doing it. Maybe they just don’t like the competition.Maybe it’s Maybelline.(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)
When Bernie Madoff gave his first interview from jail after being caught running a Ponzi scheme, he told the press: “Why are you even talking to me; the federal government is running the biggest Ponzi scheme in the world!”(Paraphrased from NBS News: “Madoff: ‘Whole government is a Ponzi scheme’”)
If there was one thing Maddoff was an expert in, it was Ponzi schemes. Game recognizes game.
All this is inching the U.S. dollar closer to a cliff of hyperinflation. A financial cliff drop in the dollar’s purchasing power that most of us now have a high probability of seeing in our lifetimes.
When we compare where our debt-to-balance ratio is today to other countries in history who have been where we are now. Each of those countries historically fell into hyperinflation within 30 years from when they were at the point we’re at now. Unsustainable increases in inflation rates, which caused a loaf of bread to cost their citizens upward of a million dollars in their currencies.
Where Venezuela is today. Where Argentina, Zimbabwe, and so many more countries are today. All countries who are already experiencing this ahead of us 30 years ago were, 30 years ago, where we are today in our rates of inflation and national debt balance sheets.
It happened to Germany before they got desperate and fell into wars from the pains of those economic collapses. Wars that were started as last-ditch efforts to save their country. Well, more so to save the wallets of the country’s political leaders and its war profiteering military industrial complex.
The fall of these countries’ currencies always started off with a slow ramp-up in speed like what the U.S. had in 2008, when Satoshi first noticed it during the second bank bailouts. That’s right, the first bank bailouts were done in the late 1990s, and almost nobody paid attention. Next follows a moderate-to-fast increase in speed like we are in now. All finally resulting in one giant uncontrollable drop in the values of their currencies within 30 years. A value-loss rate of inflation that never ended once they fell into hyperinflation.
And with the U.S. dollar being the reserve currency of most countries today, then its collapse will drag the whole world down with it if they all don’t hedge themselves properly to protect themselves against the dollar’s approaching collapse.
El Salvador is a great example of that kind of hedging against the dollar that other countries appear to be taking notes on. If you don’t know, El Salvador made bitcoin a legal currency and treasury reserve asset in their country to protect themselves against the dollar’s increasing rate of inflation.
The signs of the dollar’s collapse and that it’s exponentially picking up speed is obvious when you look at all countries that are experiencing hyperinflation today. Countries that relied on the dollar until its increasing rates of inflation failed them and their currencies. This is further explained in Robert Kiyosaki’s video, “Shocking Prediction: The Price of Bitcoin by 2031.”
Because of all that, I’m more afraid to save dollars long term than I am afraid to save bitcoin. Especially after reading the charts on https://wtfhappenedin1971.com/.
It really paints a good picture of how we started heading down this increasing rate of inflation rabbit hole after Nixon ended the gold standard. Something that even Nixon said was supposed to be temporary. Well, it’s been 50 years since then and the dollar has only lost what? Over 99% or more of its value when compared to things like houses, cars, food or rent. But sure, it’s temporary.
If you want to know why I’m bullish on bitcoin, and why I started using it as my primary savings ever since learning about its system instead of the U.S. dollar then check out my article, “My Best Attempt To Simplify The Math Of A $50 Million Dollar Bitcoin.”
This is a guest post by Fausto Liro. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
Exploring how Bitcoin memes can contribute to the growth of culture.
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Understanding Bitcoin can change your life. Once you do understand it, your entire system for evaluating what is worthy of your time, money and effort is also changed. I discussed this idea and more with the Bitcoin Conference team’s latest addition, Brad, on Twitter as @Chad_Capital.
He and I discussed how he first heard about Bitcoin, which was a result of the infectious excitement many feel about Bitcoin once they understand it. It seems that there is an exuberance that begins to come off of people once the incentives of nature align with a technological experience available to them today. He agreed, and followed up with his thoughts about how Bitcoin can change peoples’ lives. Brad has written two separate articles for us here at the magazine, one of them being titled, “Bitcoin: The Ultimate Opportunity Cost.” In this article, he discusses how upon realizing the true value of bitcoin the asset, every single choice one makes is an opportunity cost involving Bitcoin. Both time and money are what one trades for goods, services and advancement in the world, and every single decision we make must take into account maximizing our bitcoin stack.
In addition to this, we discussed the power of memes and how they, through humor, convey commonly understood ideas of the absurdity of the fiat world we live in. A fiat world deserves to be mocked through memes, and it pushes forward a culture which searches for the truth.
We finished off with what he is looking forward to in the Bitcoin space, including a shoutout for Bitcoin 2022, and his final bullish price prediction.
Check out our written interview below and be sure to listen to our interview above.
What’s your Bitcoin rabbit hole story?
My first time hearing about Bitcoin was in a bar in L.A. in early 2017. I overheard someone talking about Bitcoin mining and showing people the price on his phone. I asked him about it and he was very excited to talk about it. He started to tell me about the halving, hash rate and how Bitcoin was entering a bull market. I had no idea what he was talking about but I was interested. He gave me his number and the next day he sent me a few articles and videos. By the second article, I was completely hooked.
How has Bitcoin changed your life?
Bitcoin has completely changed:
My time preference, the personal time preference change is pretty simple — when you know your purchasing power will increase over time you are forced to think twice about what you buy today.
My concept of opportunity cost, to me Bitcoin is already the ultimate opportunity cost. This means I weigh other financial decisions against the risk of not buying bitcoin. I think traditional finance will be forced into this realization at some point. Right now the opportunity cost or “risk-free rate” of every professional investor and money manager are treasury bonds. It’s such a hilarious idea that there is an investment with zero risk, but it’s even funnier that the entire financial system uses the worst-performing investment as its benchmark to make decisions. We’re living through a great social experiment where you can choose to use bitcoin, the best performing asset ever, as your benchmark instead.
My critical thinking skills, I think to understand Bitcoin deeply people are forced to question a lot of ideas and beliefs that they’ve held for a long time or that they’ve been told were right. I think I was lucky to find Bitcoin in my early 20s, when I wasn’t too cemented in the ideas I did have. The ability to look at things from first principles and always challenge my conclusions has definitely spilled over to other parts of life.
You’ve written about hyperbitcoinization using memes for the magazine. How do you see memes as a force to further the adoption of Bitcoin?
The memes are hilarious, I just laugh all day scrolling through Twitter. Bitcoin is the native money of the internet and memes are like the native language of the internet. The Bitcoin memes are so natural, I think it’s because most of the people I shitpost with feel the same way, like we are just fucking around killing time until hyperbitcoinization. Memes are 100% furthering adoption. A picture says a thousand words and I love the video memes because you can basically say a million words in 60 seconds. It is terrifying and hilarious the things that are meme’d into reality.
What are you most looking forward to in the Bitcoin space?
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in El Salvador, it’s like the testing ground for “fix the money, fix the world.” I’m looking forward to Lightning developments — streaming sats for content, messaging, Twitter wallets, video games, etc. I also can’t wait for Michael Burry’s liquidation tweet.
Price prediction for the end of 2021, and the end of 2030?
End of 2021: $158,000. End of 2030: 1 bitcoin can be traded for about 11 million central bank digital cuck bucks, but businesses stopped accepting the state surveillance in 2028.
We are fast approaching sovereign state adoption as game theory plays out in front of bitcoiner’s eyes.
This really feels like the “suddenly” part. A lot of work went into Bitcoin Beach over the last year to inspire El Salvador to make Bitcoin legal tender this week, but to the public this happened incredibly fast. The live announcement at Bitcoin 2021, the law being passed by a super-majority of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador a few days later, and that same night the President was asked if El Salvador is considering mining on Twitter spaces. The next day he tweeted about a volcano mine:
In 2017 I remember seeing predictions that corporations would slowly get involved after the next halving, and maybe nation states would get involved in the cycle after that, and maybe by 2030 a central bank. I think it’s undeniable that we have crossed over into a new era of the Bitcoin story where the stakes are much higher. The first nation state is here and they are moving fast. By default all other countries are now subject to the Bitcoin game theory and opportunity cost that individuals and corporations have been facing. In the last few days it’s been hard to keep up with the new Latin American politicians adding laser eyes.
With the higher level of adoption comes more powerful enemies. In the last month Elon Musk has tweeted misinformation about Bitcoin mining which resurfaced the energy FUD that has been debunked for years.
We got this from Elizabeth Warren on June 9:
It’s insane to think that someone in her position could be that unintelligent and or uninformed.
At least she’s self aware:
Trump called Bitcoin an outright scam:
We also got this brainlet suggesting we make open source code illegal:
Finally the equality loving humanitarian IMF chimed in:
This is a lot of noise and no signal but it’s important to know your enemy. We say Bitcoin deserves better critics and it does, but in terms of their ability to shift the narrative, spread misinformation, and slightly delay hyperbitcoinization, these are some worthy opponents.
It really feels like the “Beginning” chapter of Bitcoin’s history is over. I don’t know what this next chapter is called or how long it will last but it feels much more serious, like it’s not a game or experiment anymore.
It’s hard not to view the events of the last week through the lens of The Sovereign Individual. Countries like India and China that ban themselves from Bitcoin will harm their citizens by cutting them off from an inevitable innovation in freedom and financial inclusion with the worldwide economy. At the same time, as countries follow El Salvador’s lead, Bitcoiners will actually be able to live like Sovereign entities, crossing borders into whichever country offers the most favorable conditions. Nayib Bukele was openly answering unscripted questions from Bitcoiners on a Twitter space, and the “Bitcoin For Countries” playbook is being open sourced and shared with any nation that needs it. It feels very clear that the world is naturally trending towards the information age that was outlined, and Bitcoiners are leading the charge through all fiat roadblocks.
Meeting people at the Bitcoin 2021 conference really confirmed for me that we are on the right side of history. It’s great that we’ll get rich along the way, but Bitcoiners genuinely care about fixing a lot of the problems created by the fiat world. I saw 12,000 people inspired to help strangers across the globe who are unbanked, oppressed, or victims of the fiat monetary policy ripple effect. In the battle for freedom and property rights, Bitcoin is one of our most important tools. If you still think of it as just another investment you should listen to Alex Gladstein’s talk or watch Jack Mallers’ speech delivered at the 2021 Bitcoin conference.
The dominoes are falling and it’s an honor to stand with the plebs in the fight for truth.
We are winning. Don’t give them a fucking inch.
This is a guest post by Chad_Capital. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
The pleb who started it all tells the tale of the prolific meme and how it all began, as the leader of a country dons the lasers.
As Bitcoin 2021 wraps up, the announcement by Jack Mallers that El Salvador intends to adopt bitcoin as legal tender still resonates. Historical in scope, the announcement also comes with acknowledgements of the bitcoin community from the country’s president. One form of this acknowledgement is the donning of laser eyes, a meme created by myself. I believe this would be a good time to take a look at the origins of laser eyes, #LaserRayUntil100K and what led to the meme.
It all began when I was a Bitcoin Pleb with less than 300 followers. In April 2020, I found Bitcoin Twitter and joined the Pleb Army. I myself am Bitcoin Class of 2018, but I didn’t know that Bitcoin Twitter even existed at that time, let alone that it is populated with so many amazing people. The first account that I fell in love with on Twitter was American HODL. A toxic Bitcoin maximalist who would call out bullshit and scams, would have extremely insightful perspectives and, most importantly, he’d tweet perfect shitposts. A shitpost defined by Urban Dictionary is “any content on the internet whose humor derives from its surreal nature and/or lack of clear context. A meme’s humor comes from its repeatability, a shitpost is funny simply because it isn’t a predictable repetition of an existing form.” So, basically saying random shit to be funny and to encourage engagement from your community and/or haters. It felt like American HODL was absolutely the king shitposter on Bitcoin Twitter and I loved him for it.
One morning, a Bitcoin hater was commenting on a post by American HODL bashing his tweet. I decided to make a meme with the most basic of tools: the default Android photo editor application. I downloaded the appropriate image, created the meme and posted it under the nonbeliever’s comment. Before I knew it, I had a retweet by the AMERICAN HODL. Me, a Pleb, with maybe 30 followers was ecstatic. I now had a new mission: to meme.
I had always been the class clown, the jokester and always great with the quips. I also had a love for photo editing and drawing. With these talents and interests combined, I had found my new calling. I would become a part of the Bitcoin meme army. At this time, I was uncertain that a Bitcoin meme army even existed. This just so happens to be the time that two other memers came to my attention, Gregzaj1and Labra HODL. I had also been found by a legend by the name of RD_btc around this time who brought me into a meme group on Instagram. Greg and Labra quickly became my best friends on Bitcoin Twitter and we constantly challenged each other.
As months went on, we grew tighter while our group of memers grew larger. The Meme Factory(tm) was born. We didn’t have any agenda or goals other than to have fun, build each other up and help fine tune each other’s memes when requested. We all had our own styles and methods and absolutely complemented each other. We became a team of cyber hornets that attacked with imagery, humor and creativity. We uplifted the spirits in a bear market by poking fun at ourselves, shitcoiners and especially ridiculous no-coiners. We had inherited a mission to bond the community with memes!
On a smaller scale at the time, I enjoyed bonding the community with common avatars. I first did this in late November 2020. I started a campaign to create Christmas avatars for everyone in Bitcoin Twitter who would like one. I was soon overwhelmed, but I managed to create no less than 1,000 Christmas avatars for my fellow Bitcoin maximalists. Not only were we festive, we had a bond among our avatars, and it felt great to appear almost uniformed and separate from other subcultures.
This occurred again for New Years as I created avatars with fireworks and again when I assisted Yellow (ICOffender) on putting Hodlonaut helmets on Plebs who wanted to show support for the cat against the fraudster CSW.
This is the short backstory that led to what was to come.
Now let me take you to early February 2021. The price of Bitcoin is hovering around $42,000. The Meme Factory(tm) is doing what we do best, meme’n Bitcoin into the next world reserve currency. It’s at this time that Pedro requests that someone help him with a meme. He wanted laser eyes put onto a kangaroo to give his meme a little extra juice.
I gave Pedro’s meme some basic lasers… and then had an idea hit me like a bolt of lightning. I then proceeded to put laser eyes on everyone in The Meme Factory’s(tm) avatar. Well, not RD, he got derpy googly eyes. I posted all the laser eye photos to the boys and I said “When the day comes that we have to go to aggressive offensive meme warfare… We enact laser eyes!” We collectively decided that it would be awesome to rock the new avatars ASAP. I then voiced my thoughts to the crew “Trying to decide how we could kick off the laser eye campaign. #LaserRayUntil100K?”
This was the first time this hashtag had been shared. The meme-tards were onboard. Plan Marcus then suggested once the price hits $50,000 we start the campaign. The team was ready and the plan was set. We started the preparation by creating our memes beforehand and waited for the price to touch the $50K starting line. I reached out to one person that wasn’t part of The Meme Factory(tm), the one and only American HODL. I told him the plan and he responded with “I’m in!” The foundation was set.
February 16, 2021, the campaign officially began. The Meme Factory(tm) came out in full force. Within 72 hours, members of congress, celebrities and the vast majority of Plebs had donned Laser Eyes, while receiving prime time coverage from national mainstream media.
So, what happens after a $100,000 USD Bitcoin? Well … #LaserEyesUntilFiatDies, of course.
Memes are plentiful in the Bitcoin community, acting at once as sources of amusement, beacons of solidarity and resources for edification. Many prominent Bitcoiners before me have recognized this, and I would encourage those interested to consult the fantastic articles written by Bob Simon, SEANSTACKIN and Jameson Lopp for more information. In this article, I hope to contribute to this discussion by highlighting the evolutionary dynamics undergirding the existence of memes in the Bitcoin community.
To begin with, the word “meme” was popularized by Richard Dawkins in the 1970s, although it originates from the Greek word “mimeme,” meaning “an imitated thing.” Dawkins, being an evolutionary biologist, realized that in the same way that genes mutate, replicate and are selected for over time, due to evolutionary pressures, so too are cultural ideas.
Memes Represent The Fittest Of Our Culture
In the domain of biology, genes modify the adaptive fitness of an organism given the environmental constraints that the organism is exposed to. Those genes that enhance the adaptive fitness of an organism increase the likelihood that it will reproduce, thereby increasing the likelihood that the gene itself will proliferate among a population. However, the replication of genes across successive generations is imperfect, and it is via replication errors, along with random mutations, that new genes emerge.
There is a sense in which genes compete against other genes for their own survival and inclusion in the genetic makeup of the host organism. Those genes that enhance the adaptive fitness of an organism can be expected to outcompete rival genes that fail to do so over time. This process of replication, mutation and selection was famously described by Charles Darwin (although Darwin was unaware of genes at the time) and is known as evolution through natural selection.
Importantly, those genes that survive and thrive in a population can be thought to reveal truths about the selective pressures of the environment that the organism exists in. Consider, for instance, that after observing a unique Madagascan orchid with an extremely long spur, Darwin predicted that there would exist a moth with a proboscis long enough to extract the nectar located at the base of the flower. A moth with such an appendage was not known to exist when Darwin made this prediction. Lo and behold, 21 years after Darwin’s death, a moth fitting this precise description was discovered in Madagascar.
Thus, not only can genes reveal heretofore unknown truths about organisms and the environments they exist within, but it is also possible that a co-evolutionary process can occur between the genes of distinct organisms. All of this is relevant when considering the memes that exist in the Bitcoin community. As already stated above, memes, as cultural ideas, may also be thought to evolve through a process of cultural evolution via natural selection.
HODL Is Proscriptive
To help see this, consider the “HODL” meme, which is perhaps one of the most well-known and long-standing memes in the Bitcoin community. The meme originates from a bitcointalk.org post from December 2013, entitled “I AM HODLING.” In the post, the author, GameKyuubi, acknowledges and embraces the misspelling of the word “holding.” In the same way that genetic variation occurs through replication failures and random mutation, GameKyuubi unwittingly created a meme by failing to perfectly replicate the word “holding,” likely due to the whiskey they consumed.
Furthermore, in the post, GameKyuubi asserts that they will not sell their bitcoin despite the dramatic decline in price. This is because they didn’t consider themselves to be a competent trader. Others on the forum immediately seized upon the misspelling, clearly finding it humorous, and echoed the underlying sentiment by proudly responding with “HODL!”. Put differently, the meme was immediately embraced, imitated and proliferated among the relevant cultural population.
Importantly, the meme can be construed as a proscriptive moral rule and social strategy. It describes an acceptable mode of behavior for oneself and others in the community. Which is, obviously, that one should refrain from trading or selling their bitcoin. Any individual who saw GameKyuubi’s post and adhered to this rule has experienced a 10,000% increase in their purchasing power since that date.
The meme, and its persistence in the community, is not arbitrary, despite having an arbitrary origin. To see this, suppose that another individual made a similar post to GameKyuubi, although they advocated for others to trade their bitcoin with the aim of acquiring more bitcoin at a later date. Like GameKyuubi, we can stipulate that they made a similar replication mistake when they titled their post “I AM TRAEDING.” Suppose, further, that some community members embraced the HODL meme, with the associated strategy, while others embraced the TRAED meme and strategy.
To begin with, the tax implications, transaction and opportunity costs immediately disadvantage those embracing the TRAED meme when compared with those adopting the HODL meme. After all, it is a well established fact that the overwhelming majority of traders lose money. These realities alone suggest that the HODL meme will outcompete the TRAED meme.
More importantly, however, is the fact that the HODL meme more closely aligns with the fundamental features of the Bitcoin network when compared with the TRAED meme. Because there is a fixed and capped supply of bitcoins, any meme that implicitly recognizes this fact, which the HODL meme does, can be expected to outcompete alternative memes that fail to cohere with this environmental constraint that the Bitcoin network imposes.
This is because those memes that fail to align with the fundamental features of the Bitcoin network will not enhance the adaptive fitness of cultural carriers to the same extent that rival memes, which do align with the fundamental features of the Bitcoin network, can be expected to. Cultural carriers adopting the fitness-enhancing memes will outcompete rival carriers adopting memes that confer less of a fitness enhancement; meaning that the fitness-enhancing memes can be expected to proliferate among a population while those that fail to achieve this will perish.
Taking this analysis one step further, it may even be argued that the Bitcoin consensus rules that are upheld and replicated by the distributed network of nodes can be conceived of as a set of memes; they are, after all, a set of cultural rules all independently adopted by full-node-running Bitcoiners. In the same way that a biological organism is constructed with, and is the result of, a set of genes, the Bitcoin network may be defined as a cultural organism that is constructed with, and is the result of, a set of memes.
Memes And Bitcoin Are Co-Evolving
Examining this conception in greater depth is beyond the scope of this article, however, I raise this notion to highlight how memes in the Bitcoin community can be thought to co-evolve. As was the case with the co-evolving genes of the Madagascan orchid and moth, it may be thought that there is a symbiotic and co-evolutionary process occurring between the HODL meme and the capped supply consensus rule. Each meme enhances and reflexively reinforces the other; as more cultural carriers embrace the HODL meme, those same carriers are more likely to embrace and support the capped supply consensus rule, which in turn strengthens and helps to proliferate the HODL meme.
It is, for all of these reasons, why memes can be thought to reveal truths about the Bitcoin network and community; it is only those memes that in some way reflect, or reinforce, fundamental truths about the Bitcoin network that will survive and thrive over time. When viewed through a lens of cultural evolution, the HODL meme is highly adaptive and fitness enhancing when compared with competitor memes, such as the hypothetical TRAED meme. I posit that this is why the HODL meme exists, and will continue to exist, in this community.
This is a guest post by William Ridge. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
Attention, fellow bitcoin wealthy plebs; I’ve been summoned to write about the corn, and there is one topic that’s constantly in the back of my mind, creeping into every decision:
The Bitcoin opportunity cost.
Whether you’ve just started your journey down the rabbit hole or you’re already telling billionaires to “have fun staying poor,” by now, you’ve learned about the functions and characteristics of money. This is one of the first things about Bitcoin that stood out to me, as I hadn’t learned about it before. The money a society uses should function as a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account. Diving deeper, I learned about money’s different characteristics (scarcity, divisibility, transferability, etc.) and started to understand how societies grade money based on these characteristics to decide which forms of it are more desirable than others.
Many have come to the conclusion that Bitcoin earns the best overall grade on the characteristics-of-money test, and this makes it the best form of money ever (cc: @thisisbullish). I fully subscribe to the thesis that bitcoin the asset is currently functioning as the best store of value in existence, and that this delays bitcoin from fulfilling the other two functions of money. Why would people use bitcoin to exchange value at scale when it is serving as the best store of value right now? In the future, when Bitcoin’s volatility calms down and global adoption is above 80 percent, people won’t feel like they’re giving up generational wealth when they use bitcoin as a medium of exchange, and then Bitcoin the network will shine. This is all to say that we are still very much in the adoption phase, and we are lucky to be here this early.
If you agree with that thinking, you may have entered into a new wormhole mindset in the last few years, as I did. When you go down this wormhole, you stop thinking about bitcoin as an investment, which implies you’re trying to exit at some point after squeezing out more money than you put in. Instead, you start to think about Bitcoin as the money, which exists in a better system that improves incentives, trade, friction, efficiency, saving, time preference, freedom, innovation, politics, and community. Once you get to that point, the opportunity cost of not owning Bitcoin creeps into every single decision.
Today, money managers use the risk-free rate of treasury bills to calculate opportunity cost of financial decisions. This calculated yield basically represents the maximum amount of money you could make without taking any risk, and decisions should be weighed against this.
If you factor in the 2.3 percent annual government-targeted inflation rate via the Consumer Price Index (CPI), then most interest rates are already negative.
Now factor in the CPI being a farce.
Now factor in that nothing is risk-free and this yield is subject to a counterparty that operates like a failing business.
Finally, you have an opportunity cost that can’t ever be verified or agreed upon. As a result, we can’t trust the benchmark against which most investment decisions are calculated, and this leads to complete mispricing of assets.
Say you’re a bank and your group of investment analysts, pictured below, ignore all of that.
You are using the absolute worst-performing “risk-free” investment available as your opportunity cost. Bitcoin is basically a social experiment to see what happens if you try using the best-performing asset of all time as your opportunity cost instead.
Bitcoin Magazine’s @nikcantmine wrote about how he weighed his personal Bitcoin opportunity cost against college tuition. I went to college, and I can justify it because, in my opinion, it was a great time and I hadn’t heard of Bitcoin yet. But if I had, I probably would have made the same decision as Nik. In my mind, most purchases won’t outperform Bitcoin, so if I’m buying something, it better give me a large amount of enjoyment, and if I’m ever selling Bitcoin, it better be in exchange for large amounts of time. I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or curse to be at the point where every single decision, financial or otherwise, comes down to “Hey man, you should probably have more bitcoin instead.”
In summary: enjoy the ride, $500,000 is bearish, pleb forever, team surferjim, pray for Miami.
Thanks to @BTCization for the nod.
Play me off.
This is a guest post by Chad_Capital. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
1. To hold onto something [bitcoin] tightly with no intention of letting it go
2. To hold on for dear life
Origin: Misspelling of the word hold on a 2013 bitcointalk.org post
Like many great memes, HODL was immaculately conceived. It was not engineered, brainstormed, or planned. It sprung suddenly into existence on December 18th, 2013. In a span of 24 hours, the price of bitcoin had fallen 39%, from above $700 to under $500. Then, at 10:03 UTC, a Bitcointalk.org user by the name of GameKyuubi, infused with emotion and whiskey, published a post titled “I AM HODLING”:
“I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Still wrong. w/e. BTC crashing WHY AM I HOLDING? I’LL TELL YOU WHY. It’s because I’m a bad trader and I KNOW I’M A BAD TRADER… You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusioned noob. The people inbetween hold. In a zero-sum game such as this, traders can only take your money if you sell.”
Little did GameKyuubi know at the time, but he had just coined a new term and planted the seed for one of the most powerful Bitcoin memes to date. At 10:14 UTC, 11 minutes after the original post, user piramida posted this graphic:
And the rest, as they say, is history.
What Is A Meme?
“Who controls the memes controls the universe.” – Elon Musk
To fully appreciate the significance of HODL, it is first necessary to understand the significance of memes. When most people think of memes, they probably think of images with funny captions:
While this is certainly a type of meme, memes do not necessarily need to be funny, nor do they need to be images. Google defines meme as “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.”
Although the term “meme” was only recently coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, its roots go back thousands of years. Meme comes from the Ancient Greek word mīmēma, which means ‘imitated thing,’ and was designed to resemble the word gene.
The late ethnobotanist Terrence McKenna spoke abundantly of memes to live audiences during the 1990s;
“What a gene is to biology, a meme is to ideology… Launch your meme boldly and see if it will replicate—just like genes replicate, and infect, and move into the organism of society. And, believing as I do that society operates on a kind of biological economy, then I believe these memes are the key to societal evolution,” – Terrance McKenna
Read that quote again and again, until the idea that memes are only silly internet posts is erased from your mind. Everyone understands the significance of genes in the world of biology. Yet, few understand the significance that memes play in the world of ideas.
McKenna’s above definition of meme is the most eloquent I have seen. Analogies and metaphors convey information in a way that standard descriptions cannot. To my knowledge, the precision of the gene–meme analogy is unmatched.
If I may offer my own analogy to compliment McKenna’s: in many ways, memes are like inside jokes. Memes that are created within a specific community (such as the Bitcoin community) may seem unintelligible to those outside the community. Few understand the significance that NgU technology has on a stack of 6.15 bitcoin. Either you understood the previous sentence, or you felt like you were reading gibberish. If you did not understand it, you likely feel inclined to figure out what it means. No one likes to feel like they haven’t been let in on an inside joke. This is how memes spread, and this is why memes are especially powerful in the world of Bitcoin.
For further reading on the intersection between memes and Bitcoin, I highly recommend reading this post by SEANSTACKN.
Now, back to the meme at hand: HODL!
HODL As A Philosophy
So far, we have discussed the etymology of “hodl” as well as the under-appreciated influence that memes have on our culture.
When it comes to defining HODL, a traditional dictionary definition is insufficient. In its most basic sense, “to hodl” means “to hold.” But hodl is more than just a simple misspelling of hold. In the 7 years since it was born, HODL has accrued deep meaning within the Bitcoin community.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a meme is worth ten thousand.” – Elon Musk
Being a bitcoin holder and being a bitcoin HODLer are not the same thing. All HODLers are holders, but not all holders are HODLers. There are distinct qualities that distinguish the HODLer from the mere holder. The HODLer has laser-like focus, low time preference, and most of all, conviction.
To HODL is to have a clear mind. Whereas the trader spends his time trying to find “the next bitcoin,” the HODLer focuses on whatever his true mission in life is. It might be building a next-gen Bitcoin application, like Strike by Jack Mallers. It might be paving the way for institutional adoption of Bitcoin, like Michael Saylor. The mission of a HODLer might be educating the world on the principles of sound money, like Saifedean Ammous. It might be memeing hyperbitcoinization into existence, like the countless plebs on Bitcoin Twitter. Or it might just be casually stacking and focusing on a goal completely unrelated to Bitcoin.
The common thread between the pleb and gigachad hodlers is focus. They do not spend their time worrying about China banning Bitcoin for the 17th time, or whether or not an irrelevant stablecoin is fully backed by dollars. They focus their time on what is important: transitioning the world to a Bitcoin standard.
Low Time Preference
To HODL is to have low time preference. Elucidated in the Bitcoin world by Saifedean in his must-read book, The Bitcoin Standard, low time preference is all about delaying gratification. Time is mankind’s scarcest resource. Therefore, by default, the present is valued more highly than the future, as the future may never come. However, when humans lower their time preference (i.e., value the future more than the present), amazing things can happen. Technology, infrastructure, and businesses can only be built by lowering one’s time preference. Modern civilization is a product of our ancestors’ choice to delay current consumption for a brighter future.
The act of HODLing is the ultimate display of low time preference. For most people, the urge to spend newfound wealth is too great. Lamborghinis, exotic vacations, and diamond-laced watches are the norm. However, the HODLer makes the conscious decision to ignore the noise, delay their gratification, and resist showing off their wealth to the world.
The HODLer is not concerned with getting rich quick. The HODLer is focused on becoming wealthy slowly. The HODLer understands the magnitude of the concept of 21 million bitcoin. As Greg Foss, the Canadian all-star Twitter pleb, often says: This is not a drill. The HODLer does not care about DigiByte pumping 30% in the past 12 hours, or about the prospects of putting bananas on the blockchain. The HODLer is focused on making the future as bright and orange as possible.
Above all, to HODL is to have conviction.
This conviction is not necessarily in Bitcoin, but in oneself. The HODLer’s ears have grown numb from hearing things like “Bitcoin is a bubble,” “You should diversify,” “Buy my shitcoin,” “Bitcoin will be banned,” “You should take profits,” and “Bitcoin has no intrinsic value!” I could go on. We’ve heard it all. Without a solid foundation of confidence in one’s skills of discernment and judgement, the temptation to give in and sell may prove too strong.
To HODL is not to have a closed mind. Quite the contrary. The HODLer welcomes FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). The emergence of new FUD provides an opportunity to strengthen their conviction. It can also mean cheaper coins, something the HODLer welcomes with open arms.
The HODLer is not born but made. Strong hands are usually the fruit not of good genetics but of bad decisions. The reason most HODLers choose not to part with their bitcoin is because they’ve made that unfortunate error in the past and have vowed not to repeat it.
The sacrifice of Greg Schoen is always fresh in the mind of the HODLer:
Escaping The Matrix
In the beginning, HODLing requires discipline. However, over time, the foundation hardens, the roots anchor, and the hands strengthen. The longer one HODLs, the easier the HODLing becomes. To those who have endured an 85% drawdown and lived to tell the tale, HODLing becomes second nature.
The question most asked of HODLers is this: “Surely you can’t hold bitcoin forever… At what price will you finally sell?” To answer this question, the HODLer need not mutter a word. Like many questions in life, the memes hold the answers:
This is a guest post by Bob Simon. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
“If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a meme is worth 10,000.” –Elon Musk
The History Of Memes
When Richard Dawkins coined the term, meme, in 1976, he defined it as “a unit of cultural transmission.” This definition is so broad that you could make an argument that memes have been with us for as long as humans have had cultures. For the purposes of this article I will just stick to how the memes within the Bitcoin ecosystem affect our culture.
The Culture Of Memes
“Memes are, in a way, distilled truth.” –Gigi
The mainstream news is constantly trying to separate us over our differences, but memes are one of the best tools we have to share a laugh. What’s even better than their jocular nature is the truth they can communicate efficiently to the masses that can bring everyone together on the same page. Nobody wants to feel like they’re left out of the loop and memes are a powerful tool that highlight for people what they don’t know.
MATT ODELL is known for epically tweeting out things along the lines of “THE MEMES ARE REAL” amongst other CAPS TWEETS, but when he gets serious in his podcasts he can be heard explaining his rationale behind the tweets:
“A good meme is based in reality to begin with. It’s not like memes created this reality. Memes simply captures the reality before it was apparent to the mainstream.” -Matt Odell
He said this while conversing with Gigi and Croeseus in this rip of “Citadel Dispatch” when they brought up the question, “How do we meme sats the standard into being the standard?”
What they were saying in the “Dispatch” is that sats have always been the standard. As far as the Bitcoin protocol is concerned, there is no bitcoin, only sats. Only the smallest units of bitcoin (sats) are used in the protocol, since the very beginning of the Bitcoin network. As Bitcoin continues to be a monetary black hole, the whole world is being measured in sats. So how can we communicate that message to the mainstream?
Odell and Gigi are two of the best memers we have in Bitcoin, pure gold. The “Citadel Dispatch” captures the depth of everything you need to know, an absolute must listen after reading this article.
The essence of what Gigi is saying is that these memes are acting as shortcuts for new entrants. People like to trust people they know, even if that goes against the Bitcoin ethos of “don’t trust, verify.” So, if people they know are parroting memes that can help them, then the memers have done their jobs well.
The more basically and truthfully that a meme condenses a message, the further it spreads and the longer it sticks around. Bonus attributes for the meme if it’s somewhat offensive, funny or catchy.
The Value Of Memes
“I am become meme, Destroyer of shorts” – Elon Musk
The potency and vigor of an image with a few words can trigger new thoughts and emotions in anyone. Musk understands this value and is using it to catapult his company to growth never seen in the car industry before.
PUBLORD is someone I look up to for his watermarkable memes, like his classic “Don’t forget to zoom out” pinned tweet. He asks each of his guests on ‘The Toxic Happy Hour; (where most of the meme lords hang out) his perennial question: “What’s your favorite meme?”
This seemingly innocuous question often stumps his guests who are forced to wade through their memories and choose just one of our many, many memes.
Even studying Bitcoin itself has become a meme that we often refer to as “going down the Bitcoin rabbit hole,” since it’s seemingly endless, especially in how it intersects with many other disciplines. Now, let me introduce the uninitiated to the Meme Rabbit Hole.
From the classics like HODL, THIS IS GENTLEMEN and HYPERBITCOINIZATION, to the relatively recently-minted classics STAY HUMBLE STACK SATS, 6.15 and HAVE FUN STAYING POOR; everyone has their preferences.
What I find most interesting about their answers aren’t the answers themselves, but the reasoning behind them. For a 6.15 pleb, their favorite is probably 6.15, since it was the most impactful in their life. For someone like me who just loves memes, it’s whatever’s on the cutting edge.
The poor souls who follow me on Twitter already know my current favorites are #SATSQUEEZE and CONTANGO. They may appear to be silly and spammy, but I really want people to think about what they mean. I’m so glad Will wrote the piece specifically covering CONTANGO, as I think it’ll be around this whole cycle, which means it’ll be memed this whole cycle.
As for #SATSQUEEZE, it’s another one I heard Odell say, first mocking the #SILVERSQUEEZE that was trending a little while back. But #SATSQUEEZE makes much more sense, since most of us know the supply is unchanging and set by the protocol. Most folks don’t know much about Bitcoin yet, but what we can meme them to learn is that by not owning any, they are in essence SHORT BITCOIN. The #SATSQUEEZE comes when this reality dawns on many that they need to protect their portfolio with any allocation greater than zero.
The Power Of Memes
“In conclusion this is good for bitcoin” -Snowden
One example of how powerful memes are was recently quoted in the Seetee shareholder letter by our newest chad, Kjell Inge Røkke. In a similar way to the narrative behind #SATSQUEEZE, he cited the #GetOffZero hashtag that circulated in 2018 as a way to flip the risk question on its head. A meme changed the way one of the richest men in Norway perceived the risk in owning bitcoin. He was forced to ask himself if it is more risky to own or not to own this new asset.
Since Michael Saylor, the Gigachad, joined our community late last summer, he’s been meming Bitcoin right along with us through the constant stream of analogies that he’s always tweeting, his most famous being:
“Bitcoin is a swarm of cyber hornets serving the goddess of wisdom, feeding on the fire of truth, exponentially growing ever smarter, faster, and stronger behind a wall of encrypted energy.”
What makes his entrance even more special has been his determination in selling these meme-riddled ideas to other billionaire CEOs. He told us all back when Keith McCullough (that clown) interviewed him that his models would be destroyed (UMAD).
“If you think it, and you think it’s funny, post immediately.” -AMERICAN HODL (anecdotally)
Memes did this. Memes spread the narratives. Realizing the significance of memes was what convinced me to start making my own memes. If I can do it, anyone can. That’s why I wrote this article. I want every single Bitcoin pleb reading this to be a memer. YOUR MEMES WILL SUCK AT FIRST AND THAT’S OKAY. Unless you’re Gregzaj, then you’ll always be shit; fuck that guy.
The more memes we have competing in our echo chamber, the higher quality the ones that bounce out of our Twitter-sphere will be.
The Meme Community
A couple of other meme ideas I thought were unique and really cool were Hodlonaut’s (RIP) Lightning Torch which was a cool way to publicly show off how quick and simple the Lightning Network was to use. Another idea that I absolutely loved was when Swedetoshi direct messaged me that Marty’s Owl nominated me for his next GIF. It was the perfect showcase for how to bring people together through memes. You can see on his giphy how awesome he is for the community.
Aside from all of my sourcing throughout this article, I want to put a list here for you all to follow of everyone else I know who is making great memes.
In no particular order:
I know I’m probably missing a bunch more so feel free to yell at me on Twitter. And a special shoutout to Kit for helping me with edits and loving my memes.
Another great article that covers more memes in greater detail is Lopp’s “The Memes Make The Bitcoin,” or, if you’d rather sit back and watch YouTube, watch MEME THEORY to see one man’s account of how impactful memes were in electing a reality TV star as the U.S. president.
This is a guest post by SEANSTACKN . Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.