Cryptocurrency and memes have always gone hand in hand. This is likely due to the fact that both are very much centered in “internet culture”. The latest convergence of these is the ‘BTC equals NPC’ meme making its way around the web. Memes are used for laughing off a friend’s disastrous trade, or to mock someone’s favorite dApp. Memes have always been a means to entertain as well as satirize the real world. They are a mirror of sorts.
The problem appears when the interpretation of what a meme “really represents” is filtered through centralized and ‘curated’ services like Twitter. Well, Twitter has gone and done it again; suspending more than 1,500 accounts that were related to the appearance of “NPC Wojak”. This is a meme which has been very popular in more than just cryptocurrency circles.
The meme makes reference to the Non-Playable Characters (NPC) from video games that operate according to their programming and have no critical thinking abilities. It’s used to make fun of people who don’t have an individual voice or personality, instead they repeat what their leaders deem appropriate. The NPC meme is an update on the traditional “sheep” or “puppet” archetype. But it has struck a nerve with the powers that be, as we’ve before with other powerful memes. This could possibly be the fastest banning of a meme we have ever seen to date, by the central-scrutinizers.
Apart from making it bigger and worse than what it seems, Twitter decided on its own that the meme itself was wrong-think, a consideration that led them to the eradication of the meme on their platform. But it’s really stupid that a meme could touch the fiber of so many people when there are real problems out there to fight, like the wild fake account and spambots epidemic who try to scam people out of their ETH. Should the platform be able to censor memes due to their entirely subjective interpretation? This the emergence of alternative, non-censorable social platforms are so important. They would allow content to flow freely; independently of these curators.
Luckily there is a Twitter alternative called Memo, built on top of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. Your status updates are directly embedded on the blockchain without being touched by anyone and with no possibility of being censored from the powers that be. While it is still not perfect, it already has a great community and developers behind it. These kinds of tools needs to appear to defend freedom of expression during these times where political correctness is devolving into book burning. Luckily “if we don’t like it ban it” is not a sustainable model. For the time being though, RIP NPC Wojak on Twitter.