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Who Controls the Memes of Production?
Memes are fast becoming one of the most valuable commodities in the world.
The meme supply chain is the process in which new forms of culture travel from obscure corners of the Internet into mainstream awareness.
A battle is playing out for control of the supply chain, with powerful institutions fighting to contain its transformative energy.
Here’s why its a big deal.
The Meme Supply Chain
Nowhere is the meme supply chain more evident than in the NFT boom.
At least $25 billion dollars of NFTs were sold in 2021, roughly a 75-fold increase from 2020. Sales have continued to grow in 2022.
One of the main drivers of the boom has been the arrival of venture capitalists into crypto.
VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has been at the forefront of the digital gold rush to monetize memes.
Last week, a16z founder, Marc Andreessen, took to Twitter theorize about the meme supply chain, the process by which new memes are forged on the Internet before escaping into the broader world.
Andreessen's key insight is that the Internet has become the dominant engine for generating new forms of culture.
The evolution of the meme supply chain means the future will look nothing like the past.
Much of the world still operates on assumptions formed during the meme supply chain 1.0, where influential ideas originate at elite institutions and slowly trickle out into the world through credentialed legacy media outlets.
So far, the story of culture in this millennium is meme supply chain 2.0 disrupting 1.0.
2.0 still bustles with activity today, but big tech's concentrated power structure means memes that threaten established narratives are often censored into oblivion. Social media giants frequently use 2.0 technology to prop up outdated 1.0 narratives.
Ideally, blockchain-based 3.0 takes the best parts of 2.0 and frees them from the stranglehold of centralized control, allowing people to cultivate new memes in an immutable way.
In response to Andreessen, Elon reposted one of his more famous and enigmatic tweets, suggesting that control of the meme supply chain has become an issue of world-historical importance.
Elon's tweet comes at a time when control of the meme supply chain is shifting decisively away from 1.0 institutions.
As old institutions lose their grip on the culture, more new narratives are emerging, and with them new forms of community.
Have the people finally seized the memes of production? Let's take a look at some cutting edge memes to find out.
One of the most powerful and disruptive memes on the Internet lately is SOD, or Seed Oil Disrespect.
Canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and other polyunsaturated fats are implicated in a range of negative health outcomes, including heart disease, hormonal imbalance, immunodeficiency, blood clots, and cancer.
Processed seed oils were originally developed as industrial lubricants to be used in soap, paint, varnish, cosmetics, and even fuel.
These oils are now found in most processed and restaurant foods. Their rise over the last fifty years goes a long way toward explaining the rise in chronic diseases during the same period.
Its success lies in its wholesomeness: familiarity with the meme promotes health and wellbeing.
If SOD breaches the walls of mainstream culture, it poses an existential threat to the processed oil industry.
SOD recently popped up on the Joe Rogan Experience, a sign that it may be ready to make the jump from Internet culture into mainstream.
Like most powerful memes, SOD has a chameleon-like ability to combine with other memes and make itself at home in diverse contexts.
It has gained a big following on crypto twitter, which links it to a broader critique of the financial-industrial complex.
Although government-funded science has turned a blind eye to the ravages of seed oils, the disrespecters have a large body of research on their side, artfully packaged into memes.
As the SOD meme propagates into the wider world, more people may find themselves saying "No" to seed oils.
At the moment, SOD has reached a state of simmering virality, but hasn't yet broken into the mainstream.
If it does, a blockchain-powered community of seed oil disrespecters could go far.
Wen SOD DAO?
Last week, the Canadian Freedom Convoy captured the world's attention.
Despite the combined efforts of media and government to discredit it, the Freedom Convoy continues to occupy Ottawa, with new videos of joyful protestors circulating on social media every day.
The utility of blockchain for these protests became apparent when GoFundMe froze $10 million dollars of donations to the Ottawa truckers and said they were going to donate the money to the charity of their (GoFundMe's) choice. Facing the threat of lawsuits and fraud investigations, GoFundMe backtracked and said it would return the money to the donators.
The GoFundMe SNAFU is a classic example of a 2.0 institution shutting down an inconvenient narrative by attempting to disrupt the meme supply chain.
The distinction between donation and meme became blurred when a $42,000 gift to the truckers was attributed to liar.com, which redirected to Trudeau's wikipedia page.
Some outlets speculated the donation was made by Elon. When a sympathetic journalist told him to get a refund, he tweeted "It's not my money" along with a meme:
As the convoy's funding streams were cut off, Bitcoiners organized a Sats for Truckers donation campaign.
So far, it has raised 9 Bitcoins, though it's possible the truckers have raised more in crypto than they're making public.
Can #DogecoinForFreedom be far off?
Who controls the memes of production?
Doge keeps gaining momentum as one of the most powerful anti-establishment memes in the world.
This week, Dogecoin creator Billy Markus floated the possibility that Doge could fix the internet by becoming the world's leading platform for small transactions.
Doge has run the gauntlet of the meme supply chain for over a decade, emerging stronger than ever in 2022.
Its mainstream breakthrough comes at a historical moment when powerful institutions are attempting to seize control of cultural formation through censorship and other strong-arm tactics.
Doge's history has encoded it with deep meanings. It shares anti-establishment affinities with other anti-establishment memes like SOD and the Freedom Convoy.
Despite its incredible run, Doge hasn't reached its full potential yet.
When it does, it could restore custody of the meme supply chain to the people, giving them the power to exchange digital money backed by dog memes for the world's most advanced technology.
Doges of the world, unite!
Dogey Treats: News Bites
A bill was introduced to the US House to remove crypto tax on transactions worth $200 or less.
A study found that owning cryptocurrency and NFTs increased people's odds of getting a date.
The Russian government is preparing to legalize and regulate cryptocurrency.
Wall Street Journal profiled Melvin Capital's Gabe Plotkin.
GameStop is partnering with Australian blockchain startup Immutable to launch its NFT marketplace
Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke joined Coinbase's Board of Directors.
Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, who is behind an effort to make Bitcoin legal tender in Arizona, acknowledged Dogecoin in a tweet.
Litecoin creator Charlie Lee said Dogecoin is "great" and "pretty fun."
House of Dough Pizza in Nova Scotia announced it was accepting Dogecoin.
The @dogecoin twitter account reached three million followers.
Starlink deployed 49 more satellites. Elon said Starlink would increase production of antennas this year.
Ted Cruz filed paperwork acknowledging a Bitcoin purchase of up to $50,000.
Barrons profiled Tesla's Optimus robot.
Robinhood has released beta crypto wallets to at least 13,000 users.
Memes of the Week
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Disclaimer: This is not financial advice and I am not a financial advisor. The article above references an opinion for entertainment purposes only and it is not investment advice. Do your own research and consult with a licensed financial adviser before making any investment decision. Do not treat any opinion expressed in this newsletter as a specific inducement to make a particular investment. Content, news, research, tools, and securities symbols are for educational and illustrative purposes only and do not imply a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell a particular security or cryptocurrency or to engage in any particular investment strategy. The information provided is not warranted as to completeness or accuracy and is subject to change without notice. The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, are not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. All investments involve risk, losses may exceed the principal invested, and the past performance of a security, industry, sector, market, cryptocurrency, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Dogecoin is a speculative and highly volatile asset susceptible to pump-and-dump schemes.
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