Famous Crypto Meme Characters and the wider Wojak Universe.
Updated: Jan 12
As Elon Musk famously put it "Who controls the memes, controls the Universe". That is to say; in order to influence the world's online communities, projects need to understand the totality of memes as they relate to the sub-cultures, the in-jokes, the language and expressions used and the commonly held beliefs.
To begin with, we give an overview to the fundamental building block of meme culture, the characters.
The character that all crypto traders fear is Bogdanoff. It has even become a verb to get "BOGGED", "BOGG'D" or "BOGGING" i.e. to crash the markets.
Named after the twins Igor Youriévitch Bogdanoff and Grégoire "Grichka" Youriévitch Bogdanoff
They were already French celebrities with European nobility heritage and hosted TV shows, but surged into internet fame due to their looks, namely unique faces with significant plastic surgery. Whilst the original Bogdanoff's were twins Igor and Grichka, the crypto folklore of the meme merged them into one single character known simply as "Bogdanoff" or "Bog".
In the lore of the Crypto Universe, Bogdanoff represents the evil and nefarious genius behind market bull runs and crashes. He is portrayed as creating pump and dumps to bankrupt the average trader and blamed for whenever an individual loses money. It is often meme'd that whenever an average crypto investor goes to buy a coin, Bogdanoff will immediately be aware of this fact and consequently dump the same token causing a price crash.
In either case, we notice that Bogdanoff is usually depicted with a mobile phone and has the popular catchphrases "DUMP IT" and "PUMP IT". These sayings in themselves have become Memes with slight iterations being made such as "DOMP EET" and "PAMP IT". The changes in spelling have a lot to do with the thick French accent of Bogdanoff. His voice is recognizable to any crypto trader or follower of meme culture especially on the board /biz/ of 4chan.
Originally popular as an internet meme for their plastic surgery and unusual appearance they later were adopted by the crypto community and especially amongst animated video creators on YouTube that focused on crypto content and the in-jokes of the blockchain community.
Later, 4chan transformed the Bogdanoff meme into a mix between the idea of the Rothschilds and Illuminati, a nefarious elite that lives in the shadows and controls everything.
The most notable early reveal of the Bogdanoff character in animated form was from the legendary channel Bizonacci who's videos became viral sensations with millions of views.
The lore of Bogdanoff has been massively expanded since the videos from Bizonacci in 2018. New animators have depicted his house, his allies, and even his influence, being so powerful that he controls Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, The Rockefellers, Bill Gates and Klaus Schwab. In a sense Bogdanoff has become a humorous meme bringing the mythos of the illuminati to the crypto world.
In the lore of Bogdanoff(s), nothing is an accident and everything including economic and geopolitical events have been because of their doing. They have been depicted as all powerful and unstoppable, that is with exception to one powerful hero underdog, who we will discuss next, named Sminem.
Sminem is the hero of the crypto everyman, the average retail trader and the masses looking to get rich through punting on various tokens. He is a meme based from a real-life Russian man named Roman Zuev who went viral after a photo emerged on Reddit in 2014 of him wearing a t-shirt with Eminem on it. "Eminem" was misspelled as "Sminem." Hence the name for the meme character Sminem was derived from the shirt of the real life Mr Roman Zuev.
Sminem's importance in crypto is the role of the hero who defeated Bogdanoff, ensuring a bull-run in crypto markets helping the small traders, and standing up to the repeated plans of Bogdanoff to oust investors from their returns. This narrative began on 4chan, as photos that emerged of Sminem during the crypto bull run, led many to meme that he was a messianic figure. By 2018 Sminem was an unofficial mascot for the 4chan board of /biz/, a forum where cryptocurrency discussions take place.
A Twitter user by the name of @CryptoSminem (an account not operated by the original boy, Roman but a 4chan troll) with older Twitter user @PeterLBrandt was posted several times to /biz/, furthering the mythos that Sminem was a pioneer in cryptocurrency.
YouTube account Bizonacci, who also contributed greatly to the lore of Bogdanoff, created viral animation videos depicting Sminem as the saviour of crypto and the enemy of Bogdanoff. Since this point, Sminem became synonymous with bull-runs, moonshots and green candles and is worshipped by /biz/ users.
There have even been spin-off NFT collections based on Sminem.
And many great illustrations and memes, deifying him.
Here he is merged with the most famous internet meme character of them all, Pepe the frog.
As of late, Roman Zuev, the Russian man who became the meme is now launching an NFT collection of his own and seems to have fully embraced the crypto community that launched him into worldwide fame:
Finally, it should be noted that Sminem is often referred to by devotees and worshippers as "Lord Sminem".
Pepe / Apu Apustaja / Peepo
Pepe is the most famous of all internet memes, the iconic green frog that took the world by storm, retweeted by celebrities and politicians including Donald Trump, where incidentally the Pepe meme became a huge part of the 2016 US Presidential race, becoming politicised and criticised from various left-wing groups and the Democratic Party.
The meme of Pepe became so strong that entire cults were formed around it, and Pepe was often referred to interchangeably as "Kek" which was the ancient Egyptian God of chaos and primordial darkness (the bringer of the night) that took form as a frog. The expression "Praise KEK" is now often seen written in various forums and social media.
The Pepe meme in all its iterations has always remained a hugely popular and iconic illustration that continues to captivate, in the Crypto and Web3 space as well, and is not confined to politics or any one domain.
At The Meme Studio we use Pepe effectively for our clients, in so far as he becomes a great character for illustrations, blending with pop culture in a humorous way that is not only instantly recognisable, but signals to audiences that the project is in touch with internet culture. Posting a Pepe meme pays homage to the beloved meme character and continues the tradition of 'Pepe Posting', that is; creating new art of Pepe for the pleasure of collectors and meme-art loving connoisseurs. These variants and original art works are known on the internet as "Rare Pepes" and are highly sought after, such that users on social media are often requested to "post their rare Pepes" , and indeed a large NFT collection has been created called "Rare Pepes".
Whilst Pepe is used immensely in crypto communities such as the /biz/ forum on 4chan there has also been a new derivative emerge called "Apu Apustaja" or simply known as "Apu". It's a smaller and cuter version of Pepe and has gained a lot of attraction in the world of crypto and gaming.
Pepe and Apu are used in Discord emotes, Telegram stickers, Twitter profiles, NFT collections (Rare Pape NFTs) and memes and illustrations that are shilling for crypto projects.
Apu is one of the most popular Pepe variants and can look similar to 'Peepo', which was derived from Apu Apustaja and took form as emotes on Discord and Twitch. One famous example of Peepo which went viral with millions of views, was this 3D animated video on YouTube.
Bobo Bear & Mumu Bull
The two meme metaphorical representations for the bull markets and bear markets are known as Bobo Bear and Mumu Bull.
In 4chan /biz/ lore they share a grand rivalry and act like a slapstick Tom and Jerry nemesis duo, forever at odds, trying to outwit each other, taking pleasure at the other one's loss and becoming popularly posted images for /biz/ threads during the ups and downs of crypto market cycles.
Bobo Bear and Mumu the Mull are less seen in 2D animated form on YouTube but are more popular on 4chan's /biz/ board which discusses cryptocurrencies. The Meme Studio believe they are underrated and underused characters for meme marketing your DeFi, NFT, Metaverse or P2E crypto project. We haven't seen too many examples of crypto meme marketing for these characters.
Wojak is an incredibly popular meme, only second to Pepe the Frog. Wojak is the depiction of the everyman, and becomes a base model character meme from which other derivatives are created. The crypto community adopted the Wojak meme again primarily because of 4chan and the overlap between the use of Wojak on the /pol/ forum where it was popularised and then later /biz/ for crypto discussions.
The Wojak trader in crypto as a meme was featured heavily in humorous 2D animated videos on YouTube about crypto, known an entire new genre of content called "Wojak animations". Famous channels include Bizonacci, Dustin O'Daffer, Zero Budget Stories, Low Budget Stories, Prince of Zimbabwe and many more. In fact a whole new generation of Wojak 2D animated content creators has emerged, with some even offering crypto and NFT companies the ability to sponsor the YouTube animations. At The Meme Studio we would highly recommend this strategy to our clients. Our Director Radomir Kobryn-Coletti has reason to believe the crypto projects that embrace this new emerging and fast-growing crypto-meme culture on YouTube can dominate with unrivalled access and market reach.
Wagie Wojak (Wagedonalds)
The most popular variation in the crypto ecosystem other than Wojak depicted as a trader at home, is the "Wagie Wojak" variation, illustrated as Wojak working at McDonalds or another fast food outlet, on minimum wage, struggling financially.
Hence the use of the term "Wagie" which in itself is a Meme signalling someone who is only earning money from wages, (as supposed to running a business or receiving dividends, interest or other passive income like rental payments) and is constantly gambling on crypto tokens in order to try and break out of poverty and become wealthy. The Meme Studio has completed many Wojak videos ourselves.
As mentioned in depth in a previous article on The Meme Studio blog, the founder of Chainlink Mr Sergei Nazarov was deified as a crypto God leading the army of "Link Marines", (the LINK token holders) to victory as the project went from an obscure micro-cap to one of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies in the world by market cap.
Sergei Nazarov is mostly shown in a messianic light.
But when the Chainlink price falls, users of social media often post cartoonish, mocking photos of him as "Fat Sergei", often blaming the crash in LINK prices on Sergei himself selling his tokens or wasting time on frivolous activities such as eating instead of developing the actual project and being focused on work.
CZ - (Funds are Safu)
The famous meme of Binance founder Changpeng Zhao, commonly known by his nickname "CZ" has become a catchphrase through out the world of crypto. It started with this post on Twitter by CZ:
CZ made the post referring to the fact that Binance would keep users funds 'safe' and insured, but the word "SAFU" also refers to the acronym Secure Asset Fund for Users, an emergency fund that was established by Binance in 2018 to protect customer crypto holdings. In that sense, the comedy is both around the seemingly misspelt "safe" to "safu" in addition to the somewhat doubtful nature around the safety of users funds on centralised crypto exchanges, given the history of hacks and errors across crypto history.
FUNDS ARE SAFU is another viral meme that was given energy and attention from the legendary YouTube channel Bizonacci.
The Dog Coins - (Doge, Shiba Inu, Floki Inu)
The evolution of internet culture and the convergence with Web3 created an interesting scenario where Memes became not only character operating in the crypto-sphere but mascots and the underlying basis for tokens themselves.
The famous and cute Dogecoin, created originally as a joke, took to world wide popularity and was considered the first 'dog coin'. Though nowadays the internet's first 'meme coin' is no longer a joke at all but one of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies in the world by market cap, at the time of writing, in excessive of 9 billion US dollars.
Later, derivative meme coins were created such as Shiba Inu and Floki Inu, which again skyrocketed to the top of the crypto markets, with Shiba closely following Doge at 12 in market cap rankings. The enormous amount of capital poured into these joke dog coins, shows how powerful memes have become. It shows that memes and internet culture are no longer just cartoons but iconic brands that carry enormous influence, and thus value. The communities around these meme coins may have initially thought it was a funny to invest, but they are now extremely serious about the projects, and have found numerous real world applications and technological innovations to create a valuable product, i.e. more than just a meme.
The innovative and extremely wealthy Elon Musk has adopted memes and crypto, using his personal twitter account to foster and encourage crypto meme culture. He frequently supported Dogecoin
His supporting tweets often leading to massive surges in the DOGE price.
He has also commented or made references to Shiba. Again, we see a massive spike in price action following Elon's tweets referring to these meme coins.
Elon himself has become a meme, he has certainly encouraged this and attempted to 'meme himself' into internet sub-culture and occasionally makes cameo appearances on animated crypto videos on Youtube. He is a character tha twill continue to develop, as he is not yet viewed definitively by the crypto community as a hero or any fixed archetype in the universe of crypto characters.
This pantheon of Meme characters in the crypto world is not complete, and will be further expanded and updated over time, but we hope for the moment it shed some light on the intriguing and deep lore surrounding Crypto Meme Culture. It can help you with your messaging and content marketing whether you are an NFT project, Metaverse, P2E Game or DeFi protocol looking to gain traction with crypto native audiences, appeal to retail crypto investors using the memes they know and love, and develop a strong bond with your Web3 community.
Article written by Radomir Kobryn-Coletti