It’s really not that complicated: The President of the United States posted a tweet that some people believe was a tacit admission of orchestrating a covert operation to rig the Super Bowl, all in the aim of winning over an influential pop star that is supposedly key to his re-election campaign.
And yet, Bitcoin maximalists can’t help but make the whole thing about them.
Let’s back up. Shortly after the Kansas City Chiefs clinched the Super Bowl last night, President Joe Biden—or perhaps more likely, a team of meme-literate aides—briefly shattered the internet by tweeting an image of the 81-year old commander-in-chief with his eyes glowing diabolically red, alongside the caption, “Just like we drew it up.”
The tongue-in-cheek post was almost certainly a sarcastic reference to an emergent conspiracy theory on the right, which posited last week that Biden might rig the Super Bowl in the Chiefs’ favor in order to curry favor with Taylor Swift—girlfriend of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce—and potentially earn the musician’s powerful endorsement.
Down so bad, appealing to crypto bros
— Coin Bureau (@coinbureau) February 12, 2024
The glowing red eyes in the post referenced the so-called “Dark Brandon” meme, which, in 2022, began co-opting iconography from conservative circles with the (again, cheeky) intention of portraying Biden as far more invigorated and powerful than may meet the eye.
But, as has been well documented, conservative internet culture and crypto internet culture share many common roots—and it wasn’t long before some Bitcoin enthusiasts embraced Biden’s cryptic post as a dog-whistle meant for them, not conservative conspiracy theorists.
In crypto circles, glowing red eyes also carry particular meaning: They signify an enlightened awareness of Bitcoin’s importance to humanity’s next chapter. Bitcoin maximalists like Michael Saylor and Caitlin Long have long incorporated “laser eyes” into their Twitter profiles to signal their evolution into super-powerful adherents to the Bitcoin gospel.
As fate would have it, in the hours following Biden’s tweet, Bitcoin jumped past $50,000 for the first time since 2021. Drunk on that good news, some crypto traders jokingly (or perhaps very seriously) attributed the price action to a covert Biden operation meant to boost Bitcoin, not the Chiefs.
The intricate layers of irony and double entendre activated by the extremely online stunt soon reached such delirious highs that—whether people in crypto actually thought Biden was attempting to send cloaked messages to Bitcoin maxis, or not—others really appeared convinced that crypto users genuinely believed they were in a cabal with the American president.
Guys this isn’t a Bitcoin tweet. It’s a weird tweet about weird Taylor swift conspiracies.
Get your psyops straight for Christ sake. https://t.co/BpNs8ed4hu
— Bully (@BullyEsq) February 12, 2024
What is the truth? Did Biden rig the biggest sports event of the year? Is he single-handedly responsible for BTC’s ascendant run?
This reporter will not weigh in on such heady questions. But he will advise that the answers are likely not to be found on Twitter.
Edited by Andrew Hayward