Ethereum Creator Vitalik Buterin Explains What Celebrity Tokens Get Wrong



Vitalik Buterin has a problem with the latest spate of celebrity meme coins, taking to Twitter to rail against pop culture-powered cryptocurrencies—and explaining how they could regain credibility.

The problem, Buterin emphasized, was not with meme coins as a caategory, but instead the fact that most don’t serve a purpose beyond making money.

“I’m feeling quite unhappy about with ‘this cycle’s celebrity experimentation,’ so far,” he wrote. “‘Financialization as a means toward an end’ I can respect if the end is worthy—healthcare, open source software, art, etc.”

The tweet came in response to a post by Placeholder VC partner and author Chris Burniske about the Mother Iggy (MOTHER) token. The Solana-based meme coin was launched in May by Australian rapper and model Iggy Azalea.

Meme coins refer to cryptocurrencies based on internet memes, such as current events like elections, and celebrities. Currently, MOTHER is trading at $0.10, up 11.7% for the day and 520.3% for the last seven days, according to CoinGecko.

Buterin referenced the Stoner Cats NFTs backed by Hollywood stars Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis in 2021 as more worthy examples.

“Ashton and Mila’s Stoner Cats was vastly more honorable than anything we’ve seen from this 2024 celebrity memecoin era,“ Buterin said. “At least there was an actual show being funded.”

Buterin also shared recommendations for future celebrity meme coins, including setting a goal that serves the public good rather than simply enriching early adopters. He also said there should be more creativity in what holders of the coin can do.

“As much as I dislike token voting DAOs, at least they give something for people to do and organize around,” he said. “The DAO should not fully decide the agenda, but it can have some influence.”

Finally, Buterin said the project should have a long-term roadmap.

“Make something that lasts 10+ years, rather than bubbling around for a few months and then being forgotten,” Buterin said.

Meme coins exist on many different blockchains—including the original meme coin Dogecoin. Solana, however, has seen a surge in meme coins this year, including two based on the upcoming U.S. presidential election: Jeo Boden (BODEN), named after Pres. Joe Biden, and Doland Tremp (TREMP), named for his presumed rival.

Pointing to a March 2024 blog post where he shared similar advice, Buterin reiterated that a meme coin project’s “north star” should be where—even if the tokens go to zero—participants are still happy to have been a part of the experience.

“Regular businesses and charities accomplish this goal all the time,” he said. “It’s a low bar, but things we build should meet this bar as well.”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.





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