Why NFTs and Memes Go Together
madeline
0x4C95
May 26th, 2022

We believe NFTs and memes go together like copy and paste or Snoop and Martha. Memes are an internet-native form of communication that transcend barriers. People who disagree on almost everything happily retweet, repost, and react to the same memes.

Until recently, the value of memes has been purely cultural — their power accruing with every social share. Bring to mind Disaster Girl, which sold for a whopping 180 ETH (~$500k) last year. With humble beginnings as the winner of a photo contest in 2008, the Disaster-Girl image has become one of the internet’s all-time, crème de la crème of memes.

"Disaster Girl" Dave Roth.
"Disaster Girl" Dave Roth.

Disaster Girl’s value, however, like many of the internet’s most famous memes (Bad Luck Brian, Distracted Boyfriend, Roll Safe), was never wholly contingent on its mass dissemination. Memes like Disaster Girl simultaneously represent the most complex and condensed version of a lingua franca.

According to the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, language derives its meaning from the action of speaking. He postulated that spoken language is “part of an activity or a form of life.” Language, therefore, can be understood as a constant state of flux. Online, where conversations overwhelmingly take place in text-based chats, forums, and servers, memes supplant “activity”, providing context for language as a form of life.

Memes are inside jokes with instantaneous cultural meaning. One of our partners, Elliot Tebele of the meme account @fuckjerry knows this well.

There’s tremendous value in memes because they’re extremely recognizable. In one image, the whole world can communicate the same way, there’s nothing else that has that impact.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a meme worth? ...How many dollars?

"Everydays – The First 5000 Days" Beeple.
"Everydays – The First 5000 Days" Beeple.

Unlike other popular digital media ripe for monetization, memes do not derive their value from permanence but rather from reinterpretation. NFTs like Beeple’s Everydays – The First 5000 Days, Edward Snowden’s Stay-Free (Edward Snowden), or even NBA TopShot’s Lebron James “Cosmic” Dunk stake their value as singular, immutable pieces of history immortalized on the blockchain. However, artworks, legal rulings, and sports highlights do not invite editing, reusing, or repurposing.

Memes are practically begging to be edited; it’s part of their genetic makeup. Done correctly, tracking their provenance via tokenization could make a profound difference in the lives of creators and remixers, from cultural and financial perspectives alike. Imagine if Zoë Roth, the subject of Disaster Girl, and her father minted their photo before submitting it to that contest fifteen years ago!

OG:Crystals
OG:Crystals

Some NFTs, like memes, can change over time. Dynamic-NFT projects like OG:Crystals and merge. demonstrate how smart contracts allow digital assets to evolve with every wallet transfer. Once you peel back the .jpeg, smart contracts reveal a metadata structure that functions as a historical record. For every meme template, a universe of versions—remixes—exists. Memes as dynamic NFTs, with each remix stacked upon another, could be indexed for frictionless searching and identification. In this world, memes would take on a richer, more accurate representation of their value—as semantic artifacts of culture, identity, and life.

TL;DR

We believe NFTs and memes go together (on the blockchain forever <3) for three primary reasons:

  1. Memes’ cultural value is determined by how many hands they change.
  2. Memes do not derive their value from permanence, but rather from reinterpretation.
  3. NFTs (like memes) can change over time.

RMX.PARTY is on a quest to transition memes into web3, giving authorship, remixing capabilities, and residuals to all who participate in meme generation. If you're passionate about this space, we are inviting people to our Discord. Request to join. If you want to start remixing NFTs, play our weekly caption contest on Instagram or Twitter.

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