What are memes?
Meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.
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Although most often associated with the Internet, memes were around beforehand in the form of folklore, fashion, religion, and more. Memes then accelerated as the Internet connected nearly 60% of the world’s population (~4.66 billion people!) People can now reach out to and instantly talk with more than half of the people on earth. As the internet has formed its own culture, memes have become a way of virally spreading or communicating information throughout this culture. This greater connectivity and tendency to spread quickly means that memes have become one of the most powerful forms of communication ever created.
Even the wealthiest person on Earth understands the power of memes:
So how can we increase the power of memes by 100x? We can add a financial component, and turn them into non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
We can take these internet-native assets that have the world’s widest distribution platform and turn them into unique assets to be traded on a global marketplace (crypto). We are already seeing the impact of “meme-ified” NFTs play out now. For example, a single NFT recently sold at Christie’s for $69m. How did a JPEG sell for that much? Well, it had wide distribution and a prime story, and thus became the best meme.
The artist behind the mega sale at Christie’s is known as Beeple. He has a massive audience, including 2m followers on Instagram and over 300k followers on Twitter. Strikingly, he has been creating one piece of art every day for 13 years. The NFT that was on sale at Christie’s is a collage of his first 5,000 works and is known as EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS. Now that is a story worth sharing and talking about.
On top of that, this was the first time the legendary auction house Christie’s sold a pure NFT - adding another unique and valuable aspect to the story. These factors, mixed with a crypto bull market where everyone is flush with cash and excited for the NFT revolution, all contributed to the $69m sale of a single NFT - the most expensive meme in history.
This blog post was inspired by the above tweet. NFTs serve more purpose than just monetizable memes. NFTs will be adopted regardless, but because they have these viral properties, they will be literally unstoppable.
Another major factor that is driving the growth of NFTs is how understandable most of them are. I am full-time crypto, and even I do not know about or understand many things happening in the DeFi (decentralized finance) ecosystem. On the contrary, everyone can understand a piece of art, collectible, game, etc. For memes to be effective, they first need a community of people to understand them. Memes often spread because they have the best story, and those with the best stories win.
The most exciting part about monetizable memes is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to see these assets evolve in all types of ways we can’t quite understand yet. Part-financial asset and part-story, viewable and accessible to all, NFTs are unstoppable forces that are meme’ing themselves into existence.
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