Memes are the fuel that powers the cryptoconomy. Exploitable image macros, shareable acronyms, and obscure in-jokes are the stuff that crypto is made of. To mark the dawn of a new decade, news.Bitcoin.com has endeavored to catalog the crypto memes that came to define the last one. These are the 50 greatest cryptocurrency memes of all time.
Dank Memes from the Decade That Bitcoin Built
In December, Buzzfeed published the 100 Best Memes of the Decade. While some of its selections can be questioned, the herculean effort that went into compiling it cannot. What follows is its crypto counterpart; an exhaustive attempt to document the memes that have shaped crypto culture since Bitcoin’s inception. There will inevitably be some that have slipped the net, but give or take, these are the crypto memes that shaped the last decade.
Hey hey hey. If you don’t begin each day by greeting your Telegram buddies and bemused pillow partner with these words, do you even crypto? For Carlos’ three-minute presentation alone, every line of which is a memetic classic, the Bitconnect ponzi was worth it. All together now: “Whatamigonnado?”
That’s a Scam
While we’re dabbing all over Bitconnect, Carlos Matos’ “That’s a scam!” refrain has been liberally applied to any crypto project that the community takes a dislike to – particularly when the haters are bitcoin maximalists, to whom everything bar BTC is a scam, including Ethereum and Monero.
A fine example of an iterating meme, in the vein of Pepe or Wojak, “That’s a scam!” has evolved over time, characterized by Leigh Cuen’s “Scam or Iteration?” Coindesk article on Ethereum at Devcon 2019, which was itself then memed by Aaron Van Wirdum in “Scam or Iteration — in Berlin, Bitcoin Diehards Still Believe in Lightning.”
In crypto, everything is apparently a scam, which has the unfortunate effect of making nothing a scam, and thus enabling blatant scams. Still, at least we got a nice meme out of it.
Technically You Kinda Lost Your Money
Not only was shameless Bitconnect promoter Trevon James wrong about the project’s legitimacy, but he lost out to Carlos when it came to conjuring its most enduring meme. “Technically you kinda lost your money” remains Trevon’s defining catchphrase, and one which has been applied to many subsequent crypto projects.
Bitcoin Sign Guy
Not all crypto memes are about scams, just as not all cryptocurrencies are scams, despite what the opening entries in this compendium may suggest. For a wholesome example, we can go to 2017 when a guy photobombed U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen with a “Buy bitcoin” sign as she testified to Congress. Bitcoin Sign Guy became the stuff of legend, and the invocation to “Buy bitcoin” has been shoehorned into the unlikeliest of places over the years, from the yellow vest protests in France to the streets of Hong Kong. Anywhere there’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, “Buy bitcoin” street art and slogans will follow.
Who spawned this particular crypto acronym? Do your own research.
Maximalists Eating Meat
Bitcoin maximalists are walking parodies of themselves, subsisting on nothing more than the tears of altcoiners and slabs of steak. If you follow a plant-based diet, can you even call yourself a bitcoiner?
Defined by Urban Dictionary as “Waking up and realizing your financial speculation just went south…and you should have known better,” getting goxxed is 2014’s dankest crypto meme, even if few were celebrating the verb at the time when Mt. Gox disappeared with everyone’s coins.
OK Can You Guys Stop Trading
It was 2016 and a hacker had just exploited a vulnerability to drain The DAO smart contract of 3.6M ETH. In a conversation with leading crypto exchanges, Vitalik Buterin attempted to limit the damage, typing the now famous words “ok can you guys stop trading.” Like many memes, his comment was taken out of context and is now used in any situation where market manipulation is suspected.
In 2018, at the height of the bear market, only one thing could send BTC climbing again: crypto Twitter’s Romano to fly out to Vegas and eat a part of pornstar Brenna Sparks’ anatomy. He actually did it, the absolute madman, and lo and behold, bitcoin rallied. The recovery was to be short-lived, however, with some suggesting that only a reenactment of The Prophecy can return bitcoin to its former highs.
I fulfilled the prophecy.
I did this all for you guys, for crypto I went on my knees.
— [ Romano ] (@RNR_0) August 28, 2018
While we’re covering crypto influencers pledging to consume body parts, McAfee’s promise to devour Mini McAfee if bitcoin didn’t reach $1M in 2020 was recently rescinded, but the meme lives on.
Don’t just stare at the f***ing dip – buy it.
There is no passing these arbitrary purity tests enforced by these toxic maximalists, some of them literally consider even https://t.co/OsFgRFRRZb itself a scam for listing wallets like BitPay. Everything is a scam or attack on Bitcoin to them.
— CØ₿RA (@CobraBitcoin) January 6, 2020
Okay boomer wasn’t invented by the cryptosphere, but it was eagerly adopted as a riposte to gold bugs and bitcoin haters like Peter Schiff.
— Bitcoin Meme Hub 🔞 (@BitcoinMemeHub) January 5, 2020
Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not
The NYT’s profile of bitcoin millionaires, penned at the height of the bubble, was a meme waiting to happen. Fast forward a year and its grinning protagonists’ faces had been replaced by crying Wojaks and a modified headline: Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rekt and You’re Not.
We Are All Satoshi
Maybe Satoshi is one person; maybe he’s many. Maybe he’s all of us.
A meme cryptocurrency inspired by a meme dog complete with its own meme language, dogecoin was one of the cryptosphere’s earliest memetic successes. At Devcon 2019 in Osaka, Ethereum developers went wild over a guest appearance from Kabosu aka the doge that started it all. To this day, dogecoin is a top 30 cryptocurrency and its influence extends to permanently renaming Bitcoin’s four-yearly halving event as The Halvening, in honor of doge’s own 2014 slashing of the mining reward.
F*** Your Mother if You Want F***
In 2016, at the height of the Segwit2x hard fork wars, Bitmain’s Jihan Wu tweeted a seven-word diss to @MrHodl and the insult stuck long after Wu went quiet on Twitter.
See also: Vitalik nose picking.
The hodl meme has become something of a newb test. There are those who believe it’s an acronym for Hold On for Dear Life, and then there are those who got into crypto before 2017.
Crypto’s equivalent of deus vult, “Satoshi’s vision” is an excuse for con artists to justify egregious behavior in the name of Bitcoin’s departed founder. Want to fork Bitcoin and drastically change its protocol rules? Just decree it to be Satoshi’s vision and you’re sure to reel in a few suckers.
In It for the Tech
A disingenuous reply from shillers whose altcoins are dumping is that they’re “in it for the tech” and have no interest in price. The refrain is commonly memed using a picture of “gold man,” an Indian who purchased a shirt made out of 3kg of gold for $250,000. Sadly, he was reportedly battered to death in 2016. The whereabouts of his famous shirt are unknown.
If funds are safu, they’re safe. After the /biz/ messageboard riffed on a reassurance from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao that user funds were safe, the meme caught light. Fast forward a few months and CZ himself was getting in on the act, culminating in Binance launching a Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU). Lesson: when the cryptosphere memes you, go along with it, unlike our next candidate.
When crypto Twitter troll @karbonbased mocked Samson Mow over his new girlfriend and her buff older training partner, the Blockstream CSO cried sexism and someone invoked DMCA takedown notices in a bid to kill the meme. The Streisand Effect kicked in, and Gym Friend was immortalized.
Would you like a hand with those crypto bags you’re clutching?
Congratulations on This. Seriously
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) November 12, 2017
Like Jesus, we don’t know what Satoshi Nakamoto looks like; the bemused face of Dorian Nakamoto is likely as close as we’ll ever get.
Horrible Boating Accident
After Litecoin’s Charlie Lee revealed he had sold all his LTC in what proved to be 2017’s market top, Monero’s Riccardo Spagni joked that he had been unable to follow suit, having lost the private keys to his XMR in a “horrible boating accident.”
Stay safe out there, cypherpunks! pic.twitter.com/ngwaeSqpGo
— Andreas Brekken (@abrkn) December 24, 2019
Bitcoin Fixes This
Bitcoin fixes a lot of things – just not all of the things its proponents claim. Given their propensity for touring BTC as a panacea for all the world’s woes, it’s become popular to append “bitcoin fixes this” to things that BTC can’t possibly fix.
Number Go Up
Mainstream media are obsessed with pinpointing the reasons behind bitcoin’s price moves and are usually wrong. Why is BTC climbing? Because number go up.
Soon, Barts began appearing on 4chan’s /biz/; as with any good crypto-meme. Some decrying latent manipulation while others boasting of their TA prowess in identifying an ‘obvious Bart.’ … In no time, Bizonacci was making light and posting videos. Even going so far as identifying ‘Marges’ and ‘Lisas’ on the 1m chart.
When all else fails, there is bitcoin.
2019 was the weirdest thing ever tbh pic.twitter.com/TD3CZXV7nm
— lil bubble 📉 (@TheCryptoBubble) January 1, 2020
Lil Bubble’s performance of popular songs with lyrics lamenting alt bags is the pinnacle of shitcoin karaoke.
Pink and Green Wojaks
When the market is climbing, Wojak turns green. When it’s crashing, he turns a pinkish red. Like so many classic crypto memes, credit for this one goes to /biz/, 4chan’s meme factory. Wojaks are a simple yet devastatingly effective expression of trader agony and ecstasy.
Defined as “a coin that can be predicted to go to zero because of its flawed fundamentals,” “shitcoin” famously made it to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee last year in Nouriel Roubini’s testimony. While its origins, like so many crypto memes, are hard to pin down, in an ANN thread on the Bitcointalk forum in 2013, a coin of this name was launched with the tirade: “I’m so tired of seeing so many CrapCoins pop up everyday and nobody at least admits their coin is total dogshit. So I’m launching a new coin in hopes this will jump the CrapCoin Shark: SHIT. ShitCoin will be the biggest POS coin you’ve ever seen. No, not Proof of Stake, that’s absurd, but “Piece Of Shit” coin.”
There have been countless shitcoins since, but SHIT will remain the original and worst.
Before Crypto/After Crypto
Blame /biz/ for the appearance of the cosmetically sculpted Bogdanoff twins who, legend holds, control the crypto markets. You tether up and they’ll make bitcoin pump. Buy BTC and they’ll crash the price. To be on the wrong end of a pump or dump is to be bogged by forces greater than you will ever know.
Possibly the world’s most universal meme, Pepe the frog was inevitably embraced by the cryptosphere. Like Wojak, Pepe is prone to evolving rapidly, with recent iterations seeing him reborn as Bobo the bear.
Hide the Pain Harold
Although not strictly a crypto meme, nothing describes the pain of hodling through a bear market like Harold’s iconic grimace.
The non-player character (NPC) meme was used to pillory the left. Then someone realized that it applies perfectly to Blockstream and their acolytes. “Bcash bad. BTC good.” Repeat after awakening each morning, and if anyone disagrees on Twitter, be sure to block and report.
Lightning in 18 Months
Lightning Network might be unusable right now, but just you wait – in 18 months it’ll be great.
Chainlink was just another ICO token borne along by the hopes and prayers of its bagholders. Then the link marines of /biz/ began mercilessly memeing its CEO Sergey Nazarov and a top 20 crypto was made.
As everyone knows, the house always wins, and there’s no greater winner than Bitmex and its perma-grinning CEO Arthur Hayes. For all his ebullience, there’s something maddening about those perfectly white teeth and that ear to ear grin when you’ve just been forcibly liquidated.
ICOs might be dead, but the excuses trotted out by investors on the ICO bingo sheet remain as true today as ever.
You’ve Been in a Coma
A classic 2017 meme that’s sure to be resurrected in the next bull market.
To experience trading losses worse than Brendan Fraser’s divorce settlement is to be justed. Just f*** my shit up fam.
What’s worse – to be a nocoiner or a justed shitcoiner?
Buy High Sell Low
The unofficial motto of /biz/ and the trading strategy of brainlets everywhere.
Long Bitcoin, Short the Bankers
Regardless of who conceived it, this meme is now synonymous with Pomp.
Long Bitcoin, Short the Bankers!
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) August 22, 2019
It’s easy to mock the asinine investments of shitcoiners, but everyone is a rekt pleb at least once in their trading career. Live and learn baby.
There aren’t many positive crypto memes on this list, which says much about the humor and tribalism of its community, but the invocation to accrue bitcoin slowly by stacking sats is one that everyone can support.
Craig Wright’s legacy to Bitcoin will be gifting it the term “Faketoshi” to describe false messiahs seeking Satoshi’s crown.
The Virus Is Spreading
If sloganeering were an Olympic sport, Pomp would be a gold medalist.
“Investors flee to Bitcoin”
THE VIRUS IS SPREADING 🔥 pic.twitter.com/wkmwZ5pXxi
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) August 5, 2019
Calvin Ayre’s Girls
When billionaire Calvin Ayre posted pictures of drinking rum with the Cuban dance team, accompanied by a twerking video, crypto Twitter had a field day and – to throw another meme into the mix – consequences haven’t been the same since.
Drinking Rum with Cuban dance team in Havana pic.twitter.com/Tuy7Pct3Gz
— Calvin Ayre (@CalvinAyre) March 12, 2019
A flippening occurs when one cryptocurrency leapfrogs another’s market capitalization. BTC vs ETH was the original flippening. Then BTC vs BCH. Today, coins flippen one another on a daily basis, but BTC remains unvanquished.
We Are All Hodlonaut
When Craig Wright attempted to sue Hodlonaut for writing mean words about him, the cryptosphere rallied around the pseudonymous Twitter user. Dozens of bitcoiners adopted Hodlonaut’s avatar in a gesture of defiance and the slogan “We are all Hodlonaut” in a nod to the real Satoshi.
We’ll finish with the beginnings of 2020’s first crypto meme – satoshism, the practice of assigning religious qualities to Bitcoin’s creator, triggered by the furore over Nakamoto.com. In the words of one commenter, “Convert to satoshism or die infidels.”
In no particular order, those were the top 50 (okay, 57) crypto memes of the 2010s. Here’s hoping the new decade proves every bit as prolific.
What other crypto memes should have made this list? Let us know in the comments section below.
While every effort has been made to link to the creators of the images in this article, if you have been overlooked, get in touch and credit will be assigned.
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