How an obscure 4chan meme gave birth to a cryptocurrency that went up 1,800%

  • A memecoin based on mogging is one of the best performers in the cryptocurrency bull market.
  • The mogging meme has links to misogyny and toxic masculinity, says an internet culture researcher.
  • Members of the Mog Coin community say the meme has transcended its origin.

With the cryptocurrency bull market in full swing, memecoins (tokens without any function or use case that are traded solely based on popularity and sentiment) are skyrocketing.

Among the list of top performers is Mog Coin, launched in March 2023. It is up a whopping 1,800% over the past month amidst $6.4 billion. memecoin trading frenzy in February. Mog Coin is now trading at a market value of over $371 million.

Mog Coin is the latest example of an internet fringe meme gaining popularity in cryptocurrencies. The term "mog," a corruption of the acronym "group alpha male," dates back to posts on the online forum 4chan. already in 2016.

"To 'mog' someone is to assert one's dominance over them, usually men, in the hope of impressing women," said Siân Brooke, a researcher at the London School of Economics who studies online communities. DL News.

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Brooke said the term, which comes from the intersection of the bodybuilding and pickup artist communities, is linked to ideas of misogyny and toxic masculinity. “In these communities, women are not valued, but rather objectified and seen as a prize to be obtained,” she said.

But members of the Mog Coin community say the meme has transcended its original meaning.

“It's about rising above the ordinary, striving for greatness, and manifesting our deepest desires and greatest potential,” said Alphapriest777, a pseudonymous Mog Coin investor. DL News.

"The underlying message is the same: we are here to level up, support each other, and leave a lasting impact," Alphapriest said.

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And mogging isn't the first time 4chan slang has crossed over into cryptocurrencies.

WAGMI, an acronym for "we're all going to make it," which became a rallying cry among cryptocurrency investors during the previous bull run, also Its origin dates back to posts on 4chan and bodybuilding.com. The phrase was popularized by bodybuilder Aziz "Zyzz" Shavershian in 2010 before crossing over into crypto circles around 2017.

Mogging and masculinity

Historically, financial trading has been a male dominated world. In the crypto sector, where trading risks (and rewards) are amplified, the same sexist attitudes are also common.

One reason for this, according to Brooke, is that by owning cryptocurrency, "men can reflect ideal forms of masculinity through evidence of their willingness to take risks, display esoteric knowledge, and demonstrate strength and independence."

The mog coin website says memecoin is about confidence, success, and “being the best version of yourself in whatever you do.”

Alphapriest attributed Mog Coin's success to its culture of "winning, resilience, and outperforming mediocre" and its "celebration of hustle, routine, and unwavering belief in our own potential."

"It's a daily reminder of what is possible when a group of passionate, like-minded people come together and decide to aim higher," Alphapriest said.

However, there is often a darker side to the way masculinity manifests itself in these types of online communities.

A cornerstone of the mogging meme is "looksmaxing," an idea popular among young men who want to change their appearance to become more attractive and gain social acceptance. It has its roots in “lookism”, a prejudice or discrimination towards people who are considered physically unattractive and who are popular in incel circles.

Tropes such as “alphas,” a term used to designate men who embody the sexual and sporting success of desirable and dominant masculinity, and “betas,” the opposite of alphas, are common.

Brooke said the concept of alpha and beta is tied to a toxic gender framework in which women are denied personhood. "They are seen as irrational, interchangeable, programmed to mate with alpha males and needing to be dominated," she said.

It is unclear to what extent these ideas are actively propagated in the Mog Coin community.

“Memes often get away with being bigoted or sexist by claiming to be ironic,” Brooke said. "Online, it's hard to tell when someone is genuinely expressing themselves or making fun of you, unless they make their intentions clear."

“Of course, mog is much bigger than any acronym,” said Wolf, a pseudonymous administrator on the official Mog Coin Telegram group, a messaging app. DL News.

When asked about the origin of Mog Coin's alpha male group, Wolf listed several alternative acronyms for mog, such as men of God, maiden of God, monkeys, orangutans, gorillas, giver of multiple orgasms, and generator of magical opportunities.

memes and politics

As with many other popular internet subcultures, nods to right-wing politics are also present in mogging and Mog Coin.

On the official Mog Coin

Also up for debate is the extent to which the broader Mog Coin community supports such uses of right-wing figures.

Pepe, a memecoin based on comic book artist Matt Furie's enduring Pepe the Frog character, has also previously been linked to right-wing circles. But the meme has broader appeal.

While Pepe the Frog is sometimes co-opted by extremist groups to create racist memes, the character is widely used in crypto circles to thrill the ups and downs of cryptocurrency trading. The meme also became popular as resistance symbol during the 2019 Hong Kong democracy protests.

Last year, Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal publicly apologized on X after the crypto exchange labeled Pepe a far-right “hate symbol.”

Tim Craig is DL News DeFi correspondent based in Edinburgh. Contact advice at tim@dlnews.com.

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