The Memeification of eCommerce

By Adam Chorley, COO & Co-Founder Alkimi Exchange

With the rebirth of Facebook as “Meta”, Mark Zuckerberg fired the starting gun on the future of data, advertising, eCommerce and even gaming. Although it remains to be seen whether they can convert this vision into reality, the real question is why they have made this step.

Ignoring the obvious rebranding of a political hot potato, the move was probably planned for a long time. The pivot from a web2 social media platform to web3 Metaverse is huge. It shines a light onto a fledgling subsection of the internet, even if it’s only so Mark the lizard man can try and own the next generation of social platform.

The term Metaverse was coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash:

“Where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson used the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the internet.”

Although the Metaverse is still science fiction, the vision of the where the internet is headed is being fought out between centralisation and decentralisation. Crypto currencies have let the decentralized genie out of the proverbial bottle. Being red pilled has become as much a way of life as any internet subculture. However as time goes on, it is becoming more and more part of the mainstream internet culture.

The technology on which the crypto industry is based has advanced to a point where utility is finally being realised. Defi started the wheels in motion and we have seen a raft of crypto to crypto based products offering users the opportunity to use they’re crypto to access platforms, interact socially and even hold unique digital art, in the form of NFT’s. The step change in the industry has thrust crypto to the very edge of the mainstream consciousness.

The subculture that’s born from the crypto world is meme culture. It has come so embedded in the crypto world that we even see meme coins like Doge, Shiba Inu and Safe Moon gaining multi billion dollar market caps. To say they are inextricably linked is an understatement. The internet has become so ubiquitous that it has created many viral crazes. But one that really defines a generation who have grown up only knowing high speed internet access. The ability to stream, share and socialise around certain content has given rise to a new mindset in a younger generation. It’s no surprise that a generation who live online have also adopted internet money in the form of crypto currency.

Crypto has gained huge ground as a group of young people, who have had to live online during a pandemic, have made large gainz outside of the traditional system investing in cryptocurrencies. As these younger cohorts of crypto enthusiasts live, work and invest in cryptocurrencies we will see it gain more ground in the popular consciousness.

The zeitgeist emanating from the crypto, gaming, meme and influencer culture is all melding into one. As the high speed internet generation gets older, this culture will become the preeminent culture of the 20–34 year old age category. The freedom crypto has given them through financial reward, the entertainment of gaming and the social media platforms they use means they have little regard for the traditional/old world.

This lord of flies epoch, where young people grew up together, generally outside the purview of the ‘boomers’ online, has created a generation with laws unto themselves. The old world will struggle to communicate with them on a level. Therefore traditional marketing channels and techniques are doomed to failure.

A future where consumerism is melded to social interactions online is already in motion. The advent of Facebook Marketplace, Etsy and alike have blurred the line between these two phenomena. However these are just siloed platforms, where data can only be shared via a cookie in a user’s browser. This limits the scope of any one platform to offer an end to end user experience.

Gen z are used to feedback loops online, they watch something they comment on the video and occasionally the things they do are replied to. Crypto communities offer the perfect embodiment of this feedback loop by offering a direct interaction between a Crypto brand and its audience. This community atmosphere creates high levels of engagement between a brand and a user. With users often able to speak directly with the senior team at crypto brands.

This is partly due to the small fledgling nature of the industry, however it is also down to the uniqueness of decentralisation. Decentralisation has done more than just reorganise the way business operate. It has changed the mindset of every single member of the crypto tribe. Not only is it a business function and a back end architecture it’s also a way of life.

As I mentioned the world has already been literally decentralised by the pandemic. But also figuratively in the way younger individuals see themselves. No longer do they view the world as a choice between collective action and individual autonomy. Every choice they make as individuals has an impact on something bigger than themselves. Much in the same way that each individual participates in a crypto community, their actions make a difference towards a common goal.

Large global tech brands who have prided themselves on being cutting edge and on the crest of the wave will try to adapt to the new paradigm. However there’s simply no way large centralised organisations such as Facebook and Google can truly embrace decentralisation as it’s the antithesis of their current business model. They may pay lip service and fudge it a little, but it wont work.

The future tech behemoth will be born a vampire, decentralised at birth, not reborn as a decentralised entity. Meta’s attempt to hide their bad behaviour through a name change has only served an industry that they are not a part of. It was a desperate lunge that has put the ‘Broadband generation’ in the spotlight. The future is theirs, but it’s not up to Mark ‘lizard man’ Zuckerberg to decide what that looks like. It’s up to the kids raised by wolves on the internet to decide what they want their version of the world to look like, and it will almost certainly be a meme.

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