The World Trade Center looms overhead. It shines beautifully in the mid-morning sun. Twin towers dancing together alone in the sky. They exist in the past, but also in the future. Not the present, no. Not the present.
The towers are a beacon. They’re the symbol of your new reality, which fits the past and the future both (they’re the same size). It’s a reality where you’re CEO and in charge. Everyone can live there now.
By virtue of non-existence, the promise of power is much stronger than real power ever could be. Real power is impure. It operates through a complex web of interrelated forces. In the manner of propaganda, the promise is more potent the less believable it is. Only the suggestion is needed: everything will change. Nearly every crypto project, explicitly or implicitly, is selling what Yayo calls “Powerfuck Money”, which has few of the qualities of real power.
Image from the Yayo NFT series
Yayo, a crypto/NFT project associated with Remilia, is marketed explicitly as a promise of power. Their social media presence, built of self-improvement tropes scrambled into self-parody, is oddly convincing. The upcoming Yayo NFT series cynically arranges icons of luxury associated with “making it.” Fast cars, watches, Bond women, suitcases bursting with cash. The $YAYO whitepaper brings common subtextual themes surrounding deflationary tokens into the foreground. While most projects use Utility and Community Engagement like a fig leaf over their modesty, Yayo cuts to the point: Let’s Make You Money.
“Cocaine is biological capitalism, the purest expression of consumption-reward cycle, and the progenitor of industrious abundance. We perform a conscious invocation of its aesthetic energy as a ritual towards immense Market Power. Do you get it now?”
Capitalism, along with its biological counterpart, is an abundance thoughtform. The rituals Yayo is performing are not new to us, though the self-aware perversion with which they are performed might be.
America, the world's first cryptocurrency, had its own DeFi, its own WAGMI. The American dream was never about a picket fence. It's about making it. It's about becoming-powerful. America is a Ponzi scheme, but this has only recently become a problem. We are no longer early. Did you really think it was coincidence that Bitcoin, America 2, was invented in 2009?
Whether it’s the spread of a virus, shitcoin, or civilization, no exponential process in a closed system is sustainable for long. Speed is the only thing separating the things you consider normal from the things you fear. The Angel of Progress drives a Lambo. It’s crashing, but it doesn’t matter; it’s always been crashing.
The aesthetics of speed fill much of Yayo's marketing material. Fast cars, fast talk, fast money. Just as crypto speeds up America, Web3 streamlines the art world. What was already primarily a financial vehicle is now pure money. Art has a utility, you know. It’s had it for over 6,000 years.
Artists who yearn for an internet golden age free from economic forces are taking empty rhetoric at face value. The potential that any phrase or image has online is a kind of economic potential; the meme economy is not any less ruled by the Invisible Hand of Providence.
When Yayo boasts about its smogmaxxing “transforming the world into a Tropical Paradise”, it’s not a jab at unsustainable crypto projects. Sustainability, the construction, also lives in the past and the future.
Most of crypto's detractors have yet to realize that the goal of advocacy in the 2020s is not to address issues themselves but to deaden the psychological effects of extinction. You don't care about climate change because you think there’s a chance at stopping it. You care because your mental model is unable to handle the anxiety of decline outside of such a framework. Why else would it be so common in ordinary discourse for utopian and dystopian language to occupy the same urgent statements?
Crypto offers an escape from the typical framework, something that many find cynical and others simply pragmatic. If you are in that first category, give Yayo a chance. Have a drink. Sit by the pool and take in some of those warming rays.