No, Joe Biden isn’t using crypto memes to boost his campaign 

A decade’s worth of meme evolution has led us to weird, wrong takes amid the 2024 presidential election

OPINION
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lev radin and Igor Shikov/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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There’s trying to read between the lines, and then there’s trying to read between the laser eyes.

Joe Biden’s campaign team posted a laser eyes-enhanced headshot on his official X account after the Super Bowl. The post was in apparent recognition of a far right conspiracy theory or meme known as Dark Brandon. Specifically, its believers suppose that the White House planned to manipulate the game’s outcome to improve the embattled president’s political fortunes. The presence of Taylor Swift, who is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, was somehow also involved in this alleged plot. 

Or something. It makes my head hurt to think about it. 

The above sentences require an incredible amount of contextual knowledge and social media awareness, yes, but I suppose that’s where American culture is today.

But there’s another layer to the multitude of false deductions swirling around Biden’s laser eyes — the erroneous conclusion that Biden and his team were “appropriating” bitcoiner imagery and “copying crypto’s aesthetics.” With respect to CoinDesk’s Daniel Kuhn, this simply isn’t happening. 

Crypto remains a blip among blips on the political radar. An interesting blip, perhaps even an important one in the long term. 

But we live in an era when the US Congress can’t function on a day-to-day basis, the federal government appears incapable of addressing deeply felt economic anxieties, and large swaths of voters would really prefer to not vote for either political parties’ preferred candidates. Boosting bitcoin is probably not a high priority right now. 

The laser eyes post was chucklesome at best. The briefest moment of levity amid an American presidential campaign anticipated to be one of the nastiest — not to mention longest — in modern history.

But the joke didn’t end where it should have. Something strange, disappointing and perhaps ultimately expected started to happen: People made it about Bitcoin.

Fortunately, many of the posts I reviewed post-Super Bowl seemed to be in jest. But there were some who seemed to believe that it was, inexplicably, a bullish signal for 2024 and beyond. This, despite the fact that the Biden administration isn’t exactly a friend of the industry.

Read more from our opinion section: Crypto bros don’t drink from Stanley cups

Like most memes, the laser eyes date back to the early 2010s on sites like Tumblr and 4chan. Know Your Meme posits that the true origin was a joke tied to the game Mass Effect 2. In all cases, the laser eyes implied some magnification of power. In that vein, you can see where the crypto-themed laser eyes posts came from. Price go up? Unlimited power, etc. 

The Dark Brandon meme trades on the notion that Joe Biden is some all-powered overlord out to squash Trump supporters. Calling Biden “Brandon” dates back to a NASCAR race, when fans, initially believed to be cheering on driver Brandon Brown, were in fact shouting something much more derogatory toward Biden. It’s a joke about a joke about a conspiracy theory. 

But that’s about it. Memes are malleable and capable of extensive evolution to fit the themes and context of the moment. They’re capable of great power, especially in crypto circles. But reading too deeply into them remains a risky endeavor for most. 

It’s like trying to understand why the price of DOGE pumps whenever Elon Musk posted a dogecoin meme — sorry friends, but he really really isn’t going to add DOGE to X anytime soon. 



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