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What are dabloons?: Tiktok’s new imaginary economy explained | TikTok

The ‘dabloon revolution’ is taking over TikTok — but what is it and how did we get here?

What is the economy of Dablon?

The dabloon economy is the latest craze to engulf TikTok. It is a loosely structured cooperative role-playing game in which users collect the fictional currency “dabloons”—based on a 16th-century Spanish coin known as a “doubloon”—and exchange them for fantasy objects, such as soup, weapons, or a giant horse-headed penny.

You earn dabloons simply by watching a video that gives you some. You’ll eventually come across other videos – most of them feature a picture of a cat who will greet you with “Hi Traveler” and who will then proceed to show you her inventory of items that you can buy for a set number of dabloons.

Anyone can make a gifting video or sell a dabloon video, there’s no database that keeps track of how many you have or what you’re buying, and no outside website that creates or curates them. In fact, there’s nothing stopping you from just saying you have ten billion doubloons in your pretend bank account, but with no tangible benefits besides whimsy, if you choose to cheat, you’re really fooling yourself.

“I think the reason we all love this is because we all secretly miss being 5 and playing with our friends,” says Beth Woodward, an avid universityt in the UK.

“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 buying silly little things and having a good time.”

How do you start this?

According to the “Know Your Meme” website, the origins of the dabloon trend can be traced back to two photos, shared by Instagram account catz.jpeg, of cats’ feet, with the simple caption “four dabloons” underneath.

This brand of nonsensical humor seemed to strike a chord with the account’s hundreds of thousands of followers, and it was shared continually over the following months.

By October 2022, “but it’ll cost you 4 dabloons” became a trending line on TikTok and by late November it had become a full-blown craze, with thousands of accounts posting dabloon content and videos using the hashtag “#dabloons” amassing nearly 500 million views, as of 25 November.

Thus began the economy of Dablon.

How did it evolve?

And suddenly, there were dabloon thieves draining people’s accounts or sending them into dabloon debt. Obviously, the dabloon kangaroo needed to be invented in order to fight off robbers. Subsequently, mafia gangs and pirates formed, and of course, fighter jets and dragons were added to the economy to bolster players’ defenses and fend off rival factions.

Most kept track of their dabloon count in the notes app on their phone, but within a day or two, the economy had become so complex that collectors like 21-year-old Alexis Dorsey needed a spreadsheet to record her income.

“It ended up with me and my roommate sitting there for four hours…playing with our spreadsheets,” she said.

Her TikTok roommate posted about Dorsey explaining her in-depth accounting system, and the trend quickly caught on — some users even tried coding their own dabloon tracking apps from scratch.

What is the problem with inflation?

But people soon began to notice a problem with this fictional economy where anyone and everyone has the ability to mint their own coins.

“It started as a fun way to get soup and cake and maybe a blanket. It quickly escalated into a massive swell,” Woodard laments.

“People were handing out infinite daublons and such… I saw someone selling a bowl of soup for 10 dabloons! What happened to 4?”

So, in an effort to restore order, users have begun to develop rules, such as capping dabloons’ lefties to 100 per video. And soon the FBI and IRS dabloon were created.

“This is a very hard lesson we are all learning about the economic condition of our nation,” says Dorsey, speaking from his home country of the United States.

“I mean, we’re literally seeing some of the same problems we’re having right now in our actual economic climate.”

But some, like Woodard, are horrified by the (fictional) Dablon government’s growing grip.

They say, “I hate that people are bringing late-stage capitalism into this beautiful world.” “To be honest, that is why I joined the revolution.”

Yes, it’s been barely a week since its conception and the Dabloon economy is already ramping up with a full-blown rebellion against capitalism.

We have a secret base where the revolutionaries gather, and we gather resources and weapons to get ready. Some have donated their fighter planes, guard dogs, shields, and recently some dragons.”

But ideology and factional rivalry aside, what clearly unites the participants in the Dablon economy is the sheer joy of collectively creating this gigantic fantasy world.

“It’s kind of geeky,” said Louis Massey, a London-based teacher who had already jotted down the updates he needed to make on his classroom whiteboard in the morning.

“It was just great fun.”

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