Money isn’t real – it’s a shared fiction that, nowadays, feels more ethereal and absurd than ever, considering the dramatic rise and fall of various cryptocurrencies and memecoins.
In the face of wildly fluctuating monetary value, TikTok creators are embracing a completely fictional form of currency called “dabloons.”
What are dabloons?
Unlike Dogecoin, Bitcoin or Ethereum, dabloons are not tied to fiat currency (or energy-intensive mining), but they are being acquired, lost and spent with ferocious frequency. Thankfully, all of those dabloon losses and gains exist purely in the minds of those in on the joke.
Dabloons are a completely fake currency, one big role-playing game, in which TikTokers create content that reward viewers with dabloons. The meme is somewhat similar to “Goncharov,” the fictional Martin Scorsese movie on Tumblr, a whimsical game of make-believe.
How do you earn dabloons?
It’s simple – you can “earn” dabloons by watching certain videos, and can decide to “spend” them on other videos that offer imaginary wares for the imaginary coins.
While scrolling through TikTok, one might just come across a picture of a black cat with an outstretched paw, with each feline “toe bean” representing a dabloon; this cat is the “4 Dabloons Cat,” who has become the mascot of the imaginary currency.
The cat might “provide” a weary digital traveler with a cup of hot soup and a warm bed for the night, in exchange for a number of dabloons. Or perhaps the cat might toss a few dabloons for free. Why not? It doesn’t cost anything.
Keep scrolling, and you’re sure to acquire, and lose, more than a few dabloons eventually. Players must keep track of their reserves of dabloons themselves, meticulously documented on the notes app, or even a spreadsheet, and hope that the targeted chaos of the algorithm rewards their efforts.
Or not – it doesn’t really matter. If you want to cheat and give yourself one trillion dabloons, you can. But where’s the fun in that?
But there are pirates, thieves, and clashes between factions, as some TikTokers tried to manage the inflation of the dabloon economy by implementing rules limiting the amount a single video can “give away,” while others reject all restrictions, and embrace the absurdity.
In the face of a turbulent economic landscape, where prices are spiking mercilessly and imaginary money is sparking genuine havoc, it’s not hard to see the appeal in playing pretend.