Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Crypto Meme War

I think this is Izabella Kaminska's last piece for FT Alphaville. Because of that fact, I am going to add music and a forward. In light of her subject and her subsequent departure it is only appropriate to use the "last dance" waltz, Ashokan Farewell as our title theme

Please click play now.

And as a forward: 

The Meme War was fought in ten thousand places, from Crypto Valley Switzerland and Chengdu, Sichuan, to Almaty in Kazakhstan and Lambo headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese. More than three million memers fought in it. And over six hundred thousand bros, two percent of the population, died in it.  

From FT Alphaville, January 28: 

El Hodlador suffers an IMF counterattack
Remembering the great meme power wars of 2022, a retrospective time capsule of the El Hodlador fracas.

As George Orwell once didn’t quite observe:

As I write, highly civilised human beings are launching troll attacks, trying to kill my online reputation. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding people who would never dream of committing acts of great slander and hate speech in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing my reputation to pieces with a well-placed tweet, they will never sleep any the worse for it. They are serving their tribe, which has the power to absolve them from evil. 

At the dawn of the great meme wars of the post-Covid era, people didn’t quite appreciate the degree to which great fortunes could be won and lost with a single tweet. Nor was it clear who was fighting whom, or why. It took time for civilisation to understand the scope and parameters of the new Great Game. What was at stake. What the rules of engagement really were. How lives would be extinguished and lost.

In time, the nation-scale implications of finely crafted attacks from blue checkmark accounts became increasingly apparent. As they did, so did the collateral damage....


Sincere, oh so sincere apologies to Izabella Kaminska and Ken Burns.