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Welcome to the Meme Economy
Trade and collect fractional NFTs of authentic memes and other iconic moments in internet history.
For years, the idea of a “Meme Economy” has held the attention of the world’s finest meme connoisseurs. Per Know Your Meme:
[The] Meme Economy is a satirical concept and internet subculture in which memes are discussed in the jargons of the financial industry, as if they are commodities or capital assets with fluctuating values.”
The movement began on the r/memeeconomy subreddit, which now boasts 1.4 million followers (self-proclaimed “meme analysts”), each dedicated to uncovering and “investing” in the memes that they believe have the most viral potential. And they’re competitive (Forbes: Ranking the Top Investors in the “Meme Economy”). There are even in-depth guides to help usher in novice meme traders (A Beginner’s Guide to the MemeEconomy and Meme Trading):
Keep a sharp eye out, and don’t rely too heavily on the community to cherry pick all the profitable memes for you. Do your own research and hunt them yourself every once in a while. Doing this will grow your aptitude for picking out the freshest and dankest memes. Not only will you be one of the first to stumble upon the next possible meme trend, but there is also a sense of satisfaction knowing that you were there in the beginning.
Spin-offs like NASDANQ and MemeTrades even offered what they called the “first online stock brokerage platform[s] for internet memes,” and were “equipped with basic functionality such as buying and selling memes and setting firms.” Meme Insider, a dedicated meme magazine, also offered “various insights and advice on the market conditions of meme exchange in the vein of financial news magazines like Forbes.”
But without real money involved, these platforms were unable to offer much more than a gimmick (despite their popularity). Memes had no real monetary value, until…
NFTs have opened the door to digital collectibles in a way that was never before possible. We won’t spend time extolling the virtues of NFTs themselves here, but A beginner's Guide to NFTs by Linda Xie and The Skeptics’ introduction to cryptoart and NFTs for digital artists and designers are both excellent introductions to an industry that had a sales volume of $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021.
Some of the most successful NFT projects like NBA Top Shot, the PUNKS comic, and the myriad crypto-art platforms have succeeded in replicating and vastly improving upon their real-world/meat space collectible counterparts: basketball trading cards, comic books, and physical art. Seeing their value as NFTs is conceptually simple given that they each already have a physical equivalent.
What has begun more recently, though, is the NFT-ization of digitally native content — the things which have never had a physical counterpart—like memes and viral videos. The meme economy has quickly become a reality, with the creators of the internet’s most iconic memes auctioning NFTs for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.
Why? Because the most valuable collectibles will always be the most culturally significant ones, and there is nothing more culturally significant on the internet than memes.
NFT memes have the media’s undivided attention. Here’s just a tiny sampling:
Each massive auction reflects the fact that there has never been a medium that embodies and influences the public consciousness quite like memes. Memes are art, have revolutionized the way we communicate, and are a “reflection of our culture” — Rosanna Guadagno, researcher at the Pace Innovation Lab at Stanford University.
But meme creators who sell NFTs are not greedy hyper capitalists looking to scam unwitting buyers. They are regular people who, often without their permission, became universally recognized cultural symbols (and sometimes laughingstocks) without any monetary reward… and now they’re finally getting the payout they deserve. Meme creators are the direct beneficiaries of sales. Zoë Roth, the subject of “Disaster Girl”, described her auction as “a way for her to take control over a situation that she has felt powerless over since she was in elementary school,” with every societal ‘disaster’ inevitably prompting a resurgence in the meme. She called it “a once-in-a-lifetime feeling” to “finally [have] some say in what happened with [the meme].” Zoë was able to pay off her student loans after Disaster Girl sold at auction for $500,000, then donated much of the rest to charity. Kyle Craven (Bad Luck Brian) describes NFTs as “the only thing that memes can do to take control.”
The meme economy has become real, but it is inaccessible to anyone other than the gluttonous memelord elites with millions to spend. It is in dire need of reform.
That’s why Dank Bank has created a platform where anyone can trade and collect authentic, organic, grass-fed NFTs of iconic moments in internet history without having to break the (Dank) Bank.
Dank Bank is the world's first platform solely dedicated to trading and collecting dank memes, built on the premise that memes are the greatest collectible of all time. We make buying, selling, and collecting fractions of officially licensed, verified NFTs of iconic memes as simple as the click of a button.
Dank Bank uses Fractional (What is Fractional?) to enable the mechanism for ‘fractionalizing’ memes. Fractional is “a decentralized protocol where NFT owners can mint tokenized fractional ownership of their NFTs,” which “function as normal ERC20 tokens which have governance over the NFT,” effectively making it possible to “buy and hold a percentage of an NFT.”
So why should a meme creator or owner list their meme on Dank Bank via an Initial Meme Offering rather than auction it to an individual collector?
- 1.Curator Fee — Earn a percentage of the meme's total share supply annually as a listing incentive.
- 2.Price Discovery — Know the market value of your meme without needing to sell the entire asset. Sell as much or as little of it as you’d like.
- 3.Liquidity — Get exit liquidity at any time without needing to find a single buyer of what are usually extremely high-ticket NFTs.
- 4.Clout — All the bells, whistles, and POAPs associated with being a meme’s biggest holder.
In the not-too-distant future, every meme will begin as an NFT, and they won’t all sell for thousands of dollars. Tried and true meme trading won’t be reserved for only those with deep pockets. Not only will more and more legendary memes be minted as NFTs, but it will also become possible to buy into memes before they go viral.
“As minting scales and every meme is born as an NFT, the meme economy will expand, establish open standards, and emerge as one of the most important social graphs on the web.” — nir.eth
This inevitability, accompanied by the fact that NFTs will supersede intellectual property rights, will facilitate making the free and open meme economy a reality. Savvy memesters will be able to use existing memes as on-chain templates, rewarding the original creator with ownership in the new meme. We’ll even be able to trace a meme’s distribution/’spread’ in real-time as it’s engaged with, invested in, and templated on-chain.
Dank Bank will enable any meme creator to mint, fractionalize, and sell their meme as soon as it is created. Dank Bank will build the apex meme creation tool, enabling savvy memesters to use existing memes as on-chain templates, rewarding the original creator in the process & inextricably unifying markets with social media.
- 1.“As intellectual property rights inevitably move onto the blockchain as NFTs, trillions of units of digital content will move onto secondary markets. This will unlock tremendous illiquid value and become the biggest asset class in blockchain” — Jake Brukhman, All Digital Content is Going On-Chain
Dank Bank is making memers millionaires.
If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ve probably heard of diamond hands, tendies, apes, and /r/wallstreetbets. Robinhood and the meteoric rise of retail investing have facilitated what is itself often described as the meme economy. The performance of a stock or crypto has become less about predicting the performance of a business than gauging its “memeability.” Look no further than Gamestop and Dogecoin.
User-generated, virality-based investment strategies can best be explained by René Girard’s mimetic theory of desire, which argues that “human desire is not an autonomous process, but a collective one. We want things because other people want them.” And when those things are also scarce, like stocks or NFTs, they become immensely valuable.
“Markets are some of the most mimetic places on earth,” and “the name of the game is to generate as much mimetic desire as possible.” — Luke Burgis
Mimetic desire causes people to invest en masse into things that they have little knowledge of beyond who else is a part of the movement. The social proof provided by friends and influencers creates a network effect, especially when combined with a genuine value proposition, is powerful enough to commandeer entire financial markets. Look no further than the $LINK Marines, the title given to Chainlink’s militant community of investors whose ranks are delineated by their commitment to buying $LINK and spreading the word.
But the $LINK phenomenon pales in comparison to what is by far the most widespread manifestation of the meme economy. On /r/wallstreetbets redditors have fashioned an entire political movement out of what began as a proudly degenerate investing subculture. Members share an innate distrust of centralized financial markets fueled by what they characterize as blatant government corruption, lack of transparency, and institutionalized market manipulation.
They view the meme investing crusade as an opportunity to take back power. Many of the top posts on r/wallstreetbets are firebrand political statements in the form of memes, petitions, and literal class action lawsuits, and it has quickly become one of the most cohesive political movements to ever form on the internet. If prices are already completely decoupled from intrinsic value because institutions, governments, and billionaires manipulate markets for their own benefit, why should regular people be criticized or prevented from banding together to do the same?
“Memes are fun and memes are also something to come together around. Speculating on the popularity of memes and their staying power is no different than any other form of speculation… I’ve decided that I am going to stop ignoring and dismissing meme investing and start trying to understand it better. I think it is not something that is going away anytime soon and may turn into something even more interesting.” — Fred Wilson, AVC
While the Gamestop and Dogecoin phenomena are powerful signals, the endgame Fred Wilson alludes to, perhaps unknowingly, is the ability to trade memes themselves.