To fully appreciate this phenomenon, we must travel all the way back to the month of April in the year 2017 because that is where it all began. This is the time when the HODL meme was introduced to the masses and they embraced it almost instantly. It may be dead now, but it made a huge impact on arrival.
Yeah. I would have the same thought. What are we doing here? Researching memes now?
Well, kinda… This meme is actually a money trail and an IQ indicator of our humble community. Maybe even more. Please, let me elaborate.
Using this surprisingly underused tool called Google Trends, we can see where it all began.
Here it is in chronological order:
On April 10th, YouTuber Bitcoin With Attitude uploaded a parody Bitcoin-themed rap video titled “BWA — HODL” .
On April 30th, 2017, an article explaining the origin of the term was submitted to the blogging site Medium. On November 30th, the tech news site Inverse published an article titled ‘’What Does ‘Hodl’ Mean? The Bitcoin Meme Causing a Storm on Reddit.’’
By October, it all became one big cringe-fest that will soon consume us all.
Also, here is the money trail the HODL meme left behind.
Why are these charts even relevant?
For two reasons actually.
If you put them side by side you will see that the price of Bitcoin is following the same path as the popularity of the HODL meme. Not impressed? Fair enough.
Did you know that this meme had a significant impact on Reddit’s traffic for the same time period?
0.2 Billion sessions of an impact to be exact. Tech media picked up on it too. It was the thing that brought the masses to our communication channels and gave us free brand ambassadors that spread the word of the holy coin all over the planet.
You all remember that Thanksgiving dinner where you felt you knew what you were talking about while the whole table was listening because your words were interpreted as dollar signs in the listener's mind.
If you are still not impressed, let me try and explain why this meme is even more than just numbers and traffic stats. HODL, as cringeworthy as it was, can still be considered as a unique social experiment. It was a disconnect between two cultures that words can barely describe. At some point it was very close to becoming a complete shitshow but thank God, BTC took that nose dive.
On a sunny Sunday morning, a smoke signal lured the uneducated man out of his cave. He was well aware of his surroundings but it seems like a new stream of income is being discovered. The smoke signal was barely visible but they understood the meaning behind it. Free money is on the horizon and they shall not miss this opportunity.
The first ones traveled south and found the promised land of Lambos. Then they started asking questions:
What is this new thing?
Will it be more valuable than Gold?
Where is the Lambo line? xD
Others soon followed as word about debt-free lives started to spread across the valley. The dumbing down of an entire community could slowly start to unfold.
The hosts were shocked at first. They didn’t understand why is monetary value more important than the technology that is being developed? But they were a smart bunch. They didn’t have much to offer but the uninformed masses were satisfied with the HODL meme. It shall be their motivation when the markets are red and a symbol of victory when the green days are back.
The natives didn’t really like these newcomers but they came with pockets full of cash so maybe they should let them stay for a while. Maybe they could even make them fund startup ideas. Who could possibly teach them how to do that?
Bravo Six, Going Dark
Don’t you think Blizzard is overusing that phrase in their COD campaign? Yeah… Me too…
Marketing agencies flooded the space because the scent of money was too strong. Their new clients were easily talked into creating ICO campaigns and any other form of crowdfunding.
The masses were waiting in line with stacks of dollar bills in their hands and the manhunt was on. Every marketer and influencer for himself.
The newcomers are now known as investors and they have one simple question to ask:
Who will bring us the next Bitcoin? The real one is just too expensive.
*Here comes Ripple smashing through the door.*
News has already informed everyone about Bitcoin but could there be more to this story than just one decentralized currency? You are in for a surprise!
For a small price of just 20 cents, you can also own one cryptocurrency!
We can assure you that this is the same thing as Bitcoin. By definition, they are both a cryptocurrency and you sure as hell want one!
Sending money through PayPal takes too long? We can make you send money at the speed of light and you will have a lot to send because we are going to the moon!
This message was brought to you by Ashton Kucher
Circulating supply, volume, max supply, technical analysis, common sense… All of these terms were frowned upon in crypto communities worldwide. If BTC can reach $3000 why can’t we hit at least a hundred in a year or two? Another exaggeration, it may seem. But is it?
Marketing has ruined yet another thing we all valued and loved but it was far from over. They told all of these new “brands” that they need to keep their customers engaged because these investors have a short memory span. They need to be constantly reminded about that ICO date and how your coin is going to make a revolution in [insert industry at random] because it has its very own blockchain.
Since we are talking about professionals here, they knew how to leverage buzzwords. Privacy was big at the time so they all silently agreed that every cryptocurrency project should have a Telegram channel. This is where things started to get messy.
The uninformed masses were flooding the main communication channels that the natives used for constructive discussions and board meetings. Due to their lack of adaptation skills they just couldn’t work their way around the interface so they left some untouched.
Twitter was #easy.
Telegram was a bit complicated but they figured it out. The similarity with Facebook Messinger definitely played a big role there.
Reddit was hard to grasp at first but the visual changes that came soon after the big migration made them feel more at home. Most of them adapted to this new environment.
BitcoinTalk was just too much of a hassle. They had to create accounts, prove their knowledge to the community and all that stuff… Not worth it… The only ones that stayed were the marketers because they saw some shilling potential.
GitHub… Yeah, right…
Everyone was settled and the main event could finally take place. Get ready because your common sense will soon be tested.
Earn these shields, boys!
Since the initial size of the crypto community wasn’t something to brag about, these newcomers didn’t need too much time to become the loudest bunch in town. Even though they were shy at first there was no stopping them from forcing their own opinions as facts on everyone.
As the first line of defense, crypto analysts hit them with technical analysis and all those interest rates and federal reserves. When a few of these predictions didn’t match the preferences of the mob they called these educated human beings out for witchcraft! You can see that this custom is still present in our circles and respected by many.
Ridiculing the smart ones signaled the rest of the natives to pull back a bit.
Maybe we can let some things slide… they will eventually learn on their own if we start to pray.
Moderation was a huge issue because BTC was on the rise and everyone was right about it. The mad facial expression of Gerard Butler took over Telegram and Reddit but the community managers weren’t ready for that handsome raid.
Memes were the trojan horses of the true marketing experts because most of the time they were only used for subtle promotions. Telegram scammers started sharing links to free Bitcoin, everyone was getting their Lambo and the community managers were blamed for the scammed members. What a time to be alive...
image source — Blockchainlife
At one point, Telegram was impossible to use because of all the spam messages that kept showing up out of nowhere. Spambot development was too slow and everything was on the brink of collapse.
A small break before we enter the final stage.
I feel like I dumbed down Telegram and presented it as an ordinary messaging app that got famous because of a buzzword. There is so much going on with Telegram right now. Binance published a research on Telegram Open Network (TON) and I strongly recommend it if you are curious about the subject.
Here is one more from Decentral Park Capital.
Community management is also becoming easier with third-party solutions like Telefuel. This thing can turn a Telegram channel into a Discord server.
If you are managing a community on Telegram, I can’t recommend it enough.
The uninformed masses evolved into tech-gods and became well-versed in trading language as well. Terms like ROI and ATH were thrown all over the place and Satoshi Nakamoto was ready to show his face to the world.
It was Roger Ver all along!
Naaaaah… He is the guy that invented a cheaper Bitcoin.
So he gave them the finger.
You fools! It was me!
Shouted Craig Wright directly from the courtroom where he was just about to prove his identity.
Image source Steemit
But the second coming of Jesus wasn’t enough because they had a shitton of money to spend on more projects. Let’s get Trevon James and Crypto Nick on the line. They are good at explaining why Bitconnect is the future of printing money on demand. In case of emergency, release Carlos.
Money started flowing into even more streams of income and everyone forgot who brought them here.
With no one left to HODL the flood gates and only a few select individuals making profits in this state of delirium, Bitcoin had no other option but to shut down the engines and request clearance for a crash landing.
The leaders of the settlers knew that this day would come so they emptied their bags and headed back home. They couldn’t bear to watch the bloodshed in person. They will buy a better view.
The ones that actually took the time to get informed during this parade realized what was going on. They were late but they made an exit before the 15k mark.
The rest of the HODL gang escaped by chance because they couldn’t take it anymore but the true believers stayed to witness the massacre first hand. Some of them even had fantastic ideas on how to stop it.
STOP SELLING! MARKET IS CRASHING BECAUSE EVERYONE IS PANIC SELLING!
But every sad story has to have a hero. In the darkest hour, Vitalik showed up and gave everyone free ETH. The more you send, the more you shall receive. He even has the wallet address to prove it. Well done lad…
A New Dawn
The storm has passed and it was safe to examine the remains.
The vast majority of survivors have gone back to the caves but they took the bags with them. They shall hodl for another year or two but they won’t write it in all caps and they will not follow the news. Did you already forget they were in it for the long run since day one?
Our generous hosts didn’t complain too much about the mess that was made. It was paid for and we shall find someone to clean it up. Put some paint over those hodl memes, we don’t even want to remember…
But, some of us used it as a name for our news outlet!
I guess it is never too late to rebrand...
When everything was nice and tight the natives did a headcount. Just to make sure that everyone is still here. What they found came as a bit of a surprise. The numbers didn’t add up and their population seems to have grown in numbers.
Were some of these savages smart enough to blend in?
How can we know who is a fake and who isn't???
You could feel the panic in the air.
The storm may be over, but we have only passed the genesis block. The worst is yet to come.