Ask yourself this question: what is the most powerful, yet relatively untapped force on earth at this moment?
You might think of the ability of sustainable energy to replace fossil fuels, the strength of youth voices as they attempt to take power back from the boomer powers that be, or as it’s been hammered through the heads of technologists over the past 5 years, decentralization.
The Road to True Decentralization
The promise of decentralization is as follows: instead of the corporations owning all the services you pay for, the services run themselves and act in a truly fair way towards all users. This means no more price gouging of Epipens, no more ridiculously high medical bills, no more violations of net neutrality, and so on.
To get to this idealized form of world decentralization, however, we need to think about the how. Think about the one omnipresent force that is on every single person’s mind right now: virality.
Going viral online can create a force as unstoppable as the pandemic that currently permeates the world’s population. The medium at which anything goes viral, memes, can potentially take something insignificant and valueless and infuse it with one of the most valuable things in the world: attention.
Take Dogecoin, for instance. As an open-source peer-to-peer digital currency, Dogecoin sits at a $440 million market capitalization. As the brainchild of programmer Billy Markus and marketer Jackson Palmer, Dogecoin started as a joke.
The founders wanted to create a version of Bitcoin without all the Silk Road baggage that cast a stain on the cryptocurrency community. After years of up and down growth, Dogecoin reached a 2 billion market capitalization during the early 2018 cryptocurrency bubble.
Impact Beyond Market Cap
Dogecoin’s impact extends beyond monetary growth. To evaluate true impact we should look at Dogecoin from the lens of social impact. Social impact is defined as “significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge.”
In 2014, a fundraiser was established by the Dogecoin community to raise money for the Jamaican Bobsled Team to compete at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The team had qualified but could not afford to send their athletes to Sochi.
In only two days, the Dogecoin community raised $50,000 to send the Jamaican team to Sochi. The Dogecoin community also raised money to fund clean water in Africa and to support dog rescues.
The strength of Dogecoin lies in the fact that its community places a large emphasis on doing good for the world.
This type of community can only exist when the desire for profit is set aside.
Beyond the Crypto Bubble
Outside of the crypto “bubble,” does anyone really care about digital currency? Why would a random Redditor be interested in decentralized money? Why would a random Tiktoker care about Ethereum’s 2.0 mainnet?
The answer lies in memes. In the modern era, memes in the form of funny images and video clips drive information faster than any other form of communication. Coins like Dogecoin, Tendies, MEME, and other memetically driven projects represent not only a funny image but the promise of a world build for the people.
We can’t rely on venture capital-funded startups or coins controlled by giant mining pools to dictate the terms of a decentralized world. We need to listen to the voice of the people. The megaphone they use is a simple one: memes.