A ‘dabloon revolution’ is taking over TikTok – but what is it and how did we get here?
What is the Dabloon Economy?
The dabloon economy is the latest craze engulfing TikTok. It is a collaborative, loosely structured role-playing game in which users collect the fictional currency “dabloons” – based on the 16th century Spanish coin known as a “doubloon” – and exchange it for items imaginary, such as soup, weapons or a giant horse-headed shark.
You earn dabloons simply by falling on a video giving you some. You’ll eventually come across other videos – most featuring a photo of a cat that will greet you with the phrase “hello traveler” which will then show you its inventory of items you can purchase for a set number of dabloons .
Anyone can make a dabloon giveaway or sale video, there’s no database that tracks how many you have or what you buy, and there’s no external website that creates or regulates them. In fact, there’s nothing stopping you from just saying you have ten billion duplicates in your fake bank account, but with no tangible benefit outside of fantasy, if you choose to cheat, you’re really only fooling yourself- same.
“I think the reason we all love it is that we all secretly miss being 5 and playing with our friends,” said avid British dablon collector Beth Woodward.
“I miss being a kidnapped princess or a witch making potions. Being part of this trend means I can do it again. I can be a silly little cat who buys silly little things and has a good time.
How does it start?
According to the “Know Your Meme” website, the origins of the dabloon trend can be traced back to two images, shared by Instagram account catz.jpeg, of cat paws, with the simple caption “four dabloons” underneath.
This brand of nonsensical humor seemed to strike a chord with the account’s one hundred thousand followers and was shared steadily over the following months.
In October 2022, the phrase “But it will cost you 4 dabloons” became a popular punchline on TikTok and by the end of November it had become a craze, with thousands of accounts posting dabloon content and videos using the hashtag. “#dabloons”. collectively earning nearly 500 million views, as of November 25.
And so the dablon economy began.
How has it evolved?
Suddenly, dabloon thieves were emptying people’s accounts or sending them into dabloon debt. Obviously, it was then necessary to invent the dabloon kangaroo to fight the thieves. Then the mafia and pirate leagues formed, so naturally fighter jets and dragons were added to the economy to bolster player defenses and ward off rival factions.
Most tracked their dabloon count in their phone’s notes app, but within a day or two the economy became so complex that collectors like Allexis Dorsey, 21, needed a spreadsheet to record their income.
“It ended with me and my roommate sitting there for about four hours…playing with our spreadsheets,” she said.
A TikTok his roommate posted of Dorsey explaining that his in-depth accounting system went viral and the trend quickly spread – some users even attempted to code their own dabloon tracking apps from scratch.
What is the problem with inflation?
But very soon people started noticing a problem with this imaginary economy where anyone and everyone has the power to mint their own coins.
“It started out as a fun little way to get soup, cake and maybe a blanket. It quickly turned into massive inflation,” Woodard laments.
“People were handing out endless dabloons and such… I saw someone selling a bowl of soup for 10 dabloons! What happened to 4?
So, in an attempt to restore order, users began developing rules, such as capping maximum dabloon legacies at 100 per video. And soon the FBI and IRS dabloon were created.
“It’s a very cruel lesson we’re all learning about the economic state of our nation,” Dorsey said, speaking from his home in the United States.
“I mean, we’re seeing some of the same issues that we’re literally facing right now in our current economic climate.”
But some, like Woodard, are horrified by the ever-increasing grip of the (imaginary) dablon government.
“I hate that people brought advanced capitalism into this beautiful world,” they say. “To be honest, that’s why I joined the revolution.”
Yes, barely a week after its conception and the economy of the dabloon is already condensing with a full-fledged anti-capitalist revolt.
“We have a secret base where the revolutionaries gather, and we have collected resources and weapons to prepare. Some have donated their fighter jets, guard dogs, armor, and recently some dragons.
But ideology and factional rivalry aside, it’s clear that what unites participants in the dabloon economy is the sheer joy of collectively creating this gigantic fantasy world.
“It’s very whimsical,” said Louis Massey, a London-based teacher, already noting the updates he needs to make to his class’ morning whiteboard count.
“It was just a lot of fun.”