Doubloons were Spanish gold coins coveted by pirates. Dabloons are something else — an elaborate, entirely user-generated TikTok game surrounding a fake currency.
It started with a cat
In 2021, an image of a kitten’s paw with the caption “4 dabloons” went viral on Instagram, followed by one of a black cat and its toes.
The meme spread to Tumblr, Reddit, and, eventually, TikTok, where users decided they “earned” dabloons whenever the cat appeared.
A sprawling game ensued
Though dabloons have no real-world value, some players started keeping track of their earnings.
The “dabloon cat” itself evolved into a fantasy RPG merchant, selling weary travelers “stew” in exchange for dabloons, while others began roleplaying characters:
- Dabloon thieves
- Shopkeepers selling potions to protect against dabloon theft
- Dabloon cops and dabloon lawyers
Unfortunately, the pretend economy also cratered, as some accounts gave away large amounts of dabloons, causing dabloon inflation.
What’s the point?
One could argue that Gen Z and millennials, who use TikTok the most, enjoy role-playing in an economy where skyrocketing home values, student loans, inflation, and a looming recession don’t affect them.
At the very least, it’s a social game where all that’s required is imagination and a willingness to be silly with others.
Compared to the bickering that takes place across social media, it’s kinda heartwarming.
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