Like jokes, dreams, and teen culture, it’s uncool to explain a meme. Explanations take effort, and effort is antithetical to an art form that begs to be perceived as effortless. r/MemeEconomy is a quirky solution, a subreddit in which people discuss memes as if they’re real-world commodities. If a meme is just beginning to bubble up online, you say you’re going to BUY. If a meme has peaked, you SELL, SELL, SELL. No real money is involved. The game is just an artifice with which to vocalize your commentary as a knowledgeable insider. It’s intentionally tongue in cheek, talking “investments” without seeming too invested. But now a 12-person team of Redditors (led by Brandon Wink and Ron Vaisman) is taking the idea behind r/MemeEconomy and making a working, interactive meme stock market. They’re calling the trading tool NASDANQ, a cheeky financial system for an alternate universe adjacent to our own where meme is king. A meme economy doesn’t mean anyone with cash to burn will be able to gamble with Dat Boi shares on Wall Street. The market will operate on its own fictional currency — as on the subreddit, no one participating will actually use or make any real cash. Even without any dollars in play, the most important and difficult part of Wink and Vaisman’s project has been assigning a stock price to memes. “The idea is to give this usually intangible thing a value, so that people can feel like they’re earning something when before they could not,” Vaisman told The Verge. That means coming up with an algorithm capable of determining the value, based on a combination of popularity and growth, of every meme. But how will a fixed algorithm take what Wall Street does with real-world commodities and apply it to monetarily valueless art form? Or, as Vaisman puts it, “How do you distinguish something as unique on one end and then how do you objectively quantify it?” The answer is less about explaining the joke than it is breaking the joke down to its core parts. Read more here. (The Verge) Super interesting to read, and the article is just outright dank. I mean, not just NASDANQ, but there exists BAWSAQ.