Intermediate Series

10 Crypto Memes: A History of the Narratives Driving Crypto Forward

These crypto memes have shaped the culture of bitcoin, Ethereum and the entire crypto space since day one, and they’re much more than funny jokes on the internet. They’re ideas that move through our minds and shape culture. 

What do we know about crypto memes? Well, at Cointree we’ve been a crypto exchange here in Australia since 2013, so we’ve seen a few. We were here when the HODL meme was born, when Dogecoin launched, and when the Bitcoin sign guy photobombed the head of the US central bank. More importantly, we've helped tens of thousands of Aussies stack sats and buy the dip. 

Are these crypto memes really that powerful? Don’t take our word for it, scroll down and see for yourself. Or as we say in crypto; Don’t trust, verify.

The Don’t trust verify meme is at the core of crypto culture.

1. Don’t trust, verify

If there was one meme to epitomise Bitcoin, it’s this; Don’t trust, verify. The core idea of the blockchain is that you don’t have to trust a bank or any other central authority with your money. 

When you give a bank your money, you can’t actually see what they’re doing with it or if they still have it. But Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are different. 

The blockchain lets you check the ledger so you can verify that you’re holding your coins. You’re in complete control. 

Hold on for dear life and don’t sell your crypto.

2. HODL

The HODL meme originated in December 2013 when a user named GameKyuubi made a post on the popular BitcoinTalk forum. He meant to write “I AM HOLDING” to show he wasn’t going to sell his coins even though the price had risen dramatically. Instead, perhaps having had a few cold beverages, he mistyped it and wrote, “I AM HODLING.” From that moment, Bitcoiners stopped ‘holding’ their coins and began ‘hodling’ them. 

However, the story doesn’t end there. As new investors who didn’t know the origin story entered the crypto space, the meme evolved to become an initialism for ‘Hold On For Dear Life’. Bitcoiners used it as encouragement to maintain their conviction and ‘hodl’ their coins through the volatility. 

There was no better evidence that this crypto meme had permeated the culture than when the US Senate wanted to know its meaning during a Senate Committee on Banking. 

A buy bitcoin sign being held up on TV during a Congress hearing.

3. Bitcoin sign guy

In 2017, U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen was testifying to Congress. Suddenly, a guy sitting a few seats behind the central bank head photobombed her with a ‘Buy Bitcoin’ sign.

The footage was shown live on TV and has been viewed millions of times. It went on to spur a ‘Buy Bitcoin’ street art. For his efforts, Bitcoiners tipped the advocate a total of 6.3 bitcoins, now worth close to half of million dollars. 

It’s a very fitting crypto meme. A random guy stole the spotlight from the world’s most powerful central banker to promote a stateless cryptocurrency... And he got rich. 

A popular crypto Twitter personality jokes about buying the dip.

4. Buy the dip

Buying the dip is repeated non-stop whenever the crypto market falls. You can buy the dip by making a purchase when the market falls. Then, when the price rises again, the temporary correction will appear as a temporary dip on the price charts. Buy low, sell high as the saying goes. 

For example, when bitcoin’s price dropped in September of 2021, the El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced that he bought the dip. It was no small purchase, with the government buying 150 bitcoins. “They can never beat you if you buy the dips,” said the president. 

How can you buy the dip? One way is to buy incrementally as the price falls. Another is to wait until the price settles at a support level and buy in. Or you can use Cointree’s auto buy feature and automatically make a buy when the market dips to a predetermined level. 

The original Dogecoin meme.

5. Dogecoin

What is Dogecoin? It started as a crypto meme and has grown to become one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the space. Much wow. 

The meme coin was based on the Shiba Inu Doge meme. While it was only meant to be a joke, it gained popularity over time and eventually won the attention of billionaire technologist, Elon Musk who helped push the token to new heights. 

It went on to inspire a whole litter of copycats, including the Ethereum based Shiba Inu (SHIB).

Vitalik Buterin standing in front of a Lambo.

6. When Lambo

The ‘When Lambo’ crypto meme was born after people kept getting rich in crypto and would then buy a Lamborghini. Then, after a day or a week of investing in a coin, traders would begin asking ‘When Lambo?’, meaning when will the price rise so I can buy a Lamborghini.

While it was all a joke, it reflected the reality that many people in crypto had made an incredible amount of money in a very short time, as you can see with these bitcoin success stories. It also inspired another famous crypto meme of Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, as Jesus holding a red Lamborghini in his hands.

Man in gold shirt claims he’s in crypto for the tech, not the money.

7. In it for the tech

This crypto meme was made famous by the permabear Nouriel Roubini. He tweeted the slogan “I’m in it for the technology” on top of a photo of an Indian businessman wearing a 22-carat pure gold shirt made for him with gold chains, bling and a gold Bitcoin emblem. It plays on the fact that while the underlying motivation is to build an uncensorable financial system that’s accessible to all, many want to get rich too. 

The crypto community welcomed the meme. Some people enter the crypto space looking to make a fortune, but when the prices drop, suddenly they’re “In it for the tech.” The technology in the crypto space is always improving, so when the price isn’t going anywhere in the short term, you can focus on the tech instead. That way, you’re always winning when you’re in it for the tech. 

The stock-to-flow model highlight’s bitcoins scarcity, also known as number go up technology.

8. Number go up technology

The ‘number go up technology’ meme refers to the fixed supply of 12 million bitcoins. It can also be used for Ethereum becoming a deflationary cryptocurrency. 

Why does this matter? If the adoption of bitcoin and Ethereum continues to expand, then the price by definition has to increase as the supply is limited. This is no accident. The number go up technology is an idea carefully programmed into the monetary policy of each protocol. It’s an important part of incentivising investors, developers and users to stick with the blockchain. 

At the core of this meme is the idea of scarcity, which we discuss at more length in our article on bitcoin’s stock-to-flow model

Elon Musk is sending SpaceX to Mars and bitcoin to the moon.

9. To the moon

How high will bitcoin’s price go? To the moon. A decade ago many couldn’t imagine the heights that bitcoin has reached today. The ‘to the moon’ meme is used to encourage people to think big and see that as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies grow and make a real-world impact, their price will rise precipitously. 

Bitcoin has achieved a 150% compound annual growth rate over the past decade. While we can do the math, it’s still difficult for any human to comprehend how incredible this growth is. 

The hyperbolic idea that bitcoin’s price is going to the moon helps illustrate the very real possibility that its exponential growth could continue well into the future. 

Buy the dip, hodl and stack satoshis.

10. Stack sats

Satoshis or ‘sats’ are the smallest units of a bitcoin. There are 100 million satoshis in every bitcoin, so one sat is equal to 0.00000001 BTC. The ‘stacking sats’ meme refers to making small purchases of bitcoin every day or week and stacking sats in your bitcoin wallet. 

While you might not be buying a thousand whole bitcoins like a public company, you can keep staking sats every week and grow your portfolio over time. This is the popular investment strategy of dollar cost averaging. 

Want to start stacking sats yourself? It’s easy with Cointree’s recurring buy feature. You can set it to make frequent small purchases for you every day, week, or month. 

Do these crypto memes make you want to stack sats? Buy the dip and HODL with Cointree

At Cointree, we’ve created an easy-to-use platform that makes crypto information easy to access so you can make smarter trading decisions. You can get access to the top portfolios, pay bills with crypto, access to leading liquidity providers via our OTC desk, and even set an auto buy to ‘buy the dip’. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past decade of crypto memes, and are looking forward to sharing the best crypto memes with you as they keep coming.