Memetic Backed Value (MBV): With Head Cultist, Bill of Monad
An exploration of building an c̶u̶l̶t̶ engaging community through memes
If you’ve been reading PageOne for a while, you will know of an article I posted in March called “Community-as-a-Service”. If you haven’t already, I’d urge you to read it. Call me biased but I think it’s fantastic.
The idea of Community is an interesting one. It’s more often than not intangible and simply looking at the number of followers or members rarely provides a clear picture of a strong community.
Especially in crypto, if a project has a large community that only talks about the ticker price, they’re often regarded as delusional bagholders who are shilling their bags to the masses to realise profits. There's nothing wrong with that but that’s not representative of the “community” aspect we’re most interested in and want to explore. The delusional ticker price “communities” eventually become filled with jaded bagholders as the price constantly trickles lower, $SAFEMOON army roll call anyone?
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As you will have gauged from the title of this article, this is all a funnel leading to what is arguably one of the most important things that have been created as a result of the internet; Memes.
While normally you would expect a “gotcha” moment coming from a passage like that, there isn’t a gag to be had. Memes are important. They’re indicative of a lot of things, which we’ll get into below, but to say that internet culture and to a bigger extent Memes inspire everyday culture would be an understatement. With so much talk about “Memes”, it would be a good time to define it. While I could use the 1976 Version by Richard Dawkins from his Book The Selfish Gene, I’m not an NPC. I’m going to break it down to what we mostly refer to as a meme in its simplest concept:
“A meme is the fastest way to put an idea in someones head”
If you really want to go down an esoteric rabbit hole, here is a video breaking down how President Trump came into power using Memes. This is also where the previous quote was pulled from and is an interesting watch regardless.
A week or so ago, I tweeted out the following and hopefully, you see where I’m going with this. Having worked on this a bit, this article is a cleaned-up version of the thesis, which I will now refer to as “Memetic Backed Value” or “MBV” for short. As a bonus for all the PageOne readers, I’ll be doing so with Bill, the Head Cultist at one of the most anticipated crypto protocol launches of 2024, Monad.
Both of us are Community Maxis.
“Boffin” I hear you ask.
“If you’re having conversations with head honcho Bill, wouldn’t it make sense to talk about fundamentals ofthe tech? Such as Monad’s decentralised goals, Portability & Core Composability, their parallelization of the EVM or how they aim to superscale for the future?”
I could, but every threadooor on Twitter has you covered to a level of detail which I never get into. I like to talk about the *actual* fundamentals after all.
Starting with the basics, what would Bill define as a community? In a tweet that talks about this, Bill explains what he thinks is a community.
Community is a conscious and steady effort over long periods and it’s usually centred around a core belief that is shared by the group. As Bill had a very clear vision of what he wanted in terms of community, I asked him what his initial plans were before Monad went public.
The Monad community plan is “community is the product”
The idea that the community itself should have intrinsic value - The relationships, the network, the entertainment etc.
However, community is an emergent force. You can’t just work “on” the community and plan from afar, you need to work “in” the community and react in real time.
Things need to be tested before they gain adoption.
Sometimes to expedite this process you can take tested ideas and implement them after tweaking slightly, and this is how we arrived at
What is EVM/ACC?
EVM/ACC is a branch of Effective Accelerationism, (Or e/acc as you might have seen on Twitter (including my username)). The basic idea of e/acc is that technology companies should innovate faster with less opposition from “decels” or “decelerationists” — folks like AI safety advocates and regulators who want to slow the growth of technology.
It’s another rabbit hole to get lost in (and hopefully a future P1 article), but for the sake of this article, EVM/ACC is all about accelerating the Ethereum virtual machine. Monad aims to support 10k+ Transactions per second, with the aid of parallel execution and superscalar pipelining. Hence, EVM/ACC. Pretty simple.
Coming back to the core concept of “A meme is the fastest way to put an idea in someone’s head” the guys at Monad (or even the community) have banded around Pepe, or more specifically, Purple Pepe.
Both (EVM/ACC & Purple Pepe) of these existed before Monad, they were lindy memes, and so with a little bit of tweaking we could utilise them to reflect our beliefs and community.
It’s incredibly hard to make a meme happen, as the majority of them emerge out of nowhere and can’t be forced. We did try top down methodology with mascot creation etc, but the purple pepe is very accessible and allows for quick creation and iteration from the community.
Memes in crypto aren’t anything new. Hell, a majority of the coins launched are meme coins (with a new shitcoin launched whenever something “happens”. $GFY, $BENANCE, $GROK and so many more) and this year alone we’ve seen $PEPE breach the $1b market cap, and $DOGE is the 10th most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. However, with these, there is a fundamental difference.
However, No one buys/holds these tokens because they believe in the technology or the “utility” they’re seemingly teasing. It’s simply speculating on “Numba go up” and “Wen rich”. There is a good article on this by Web3.com Ventures, whose article name is similar to the name of this article.
MBV is different from pure meme coins.
After trying to answer this exact question since I originally tweeted my thesis, I believe the answer to be “Adaptability/Human Effort”.
We have the base meme and that’s good enough for most things. Make them as emotes or stickers, share them with your friends on some posts or even launch a shitcoin associated with it. That’s a pure meme.
Did you know that Molondak of Monad has a lore that is as old as time? Now you do.
MBV would be taking an existing meme and then repurposing it to fit the community. This is what Monad does very well with the aforementioned Pepe repurposification.
The core theme which is added is that of exploration. Exploring unchartered waters, exploring how to be better yourself, exploring the bleeding edge of innovation and of course, exploring what it means to be part of the community. It’s a brotherhood (or a cult, if we are to take Bill’s own words).
We kinda isolated ourselves by being locked and having stringent methods for getting in. This has allowed us to develop a really strong culture. There are also prevailing narratives and ideas about crypto that we are challenging, and so these things combine into an almost cult-like experience.
However cults tend to excessively control members, whereas we take the opposite approach. We just aim to provide a high quality substrate for interconnectivity and occasionally suggest directions of attention that are ideally enjoyable and beneficial for members to engage in, then anything positive that comes out of that is a bonus.
We also don’t really demand adherence to our beliefs, but rather let people come around to it in their own time. We’re very open in our support for all types of different and authentic crypto scaling methodologies, even if we do joke about people being a traitor for using them, lmao.
“What’s next for Monad?” I hear you ask without anyone except me muttering the phrase for this article I type out on my desk.
What’s the inside scoop that I’ve managed to nestle from an otherwise tight-lipped team? You know the old adage:
”Never ask a man his salary, a woman her age, or the core devs for the airdrop criteria”
Well, ladies and gents, you’ll be happy to know that I indeed have some alpha for you and to be eligible you need to head to the Monad discord server and just start being active. Ready? Here we go.
✨Virtual Christmas Hats✨
I had been having issues with how to end this article in a nice & rounded way and how can everything we’ve talked about be tied together? What’s the insight that is at the end?
Thankfully, Bill had an answer to that too
To get a true sense of the community and how strong they are, you need to in Gen Z terms:
“Check out how fire the memes they using are, ong, fr fr”
The better the memes, the better the community around the project as a whole, and the more it’s worth for you to stick around.
I’d like to give a massive thank you to Bill for being my counterpart on this piece and for putting up with me in his DMs. I’d also like to thank Tolks & Tervo for help with editing this article.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope this has been an useful read. You can follow me on Twitter to let me know what you thought about this post and don’t forget to subscribe to Page One for your essential crypto readings.
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