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With the roller-coaster rise and fall and rise (and fall, and rise) of Bitcoin, which was at one time worth as much as $18,000 U.S. dollars, many people have questions. Should I buy a Bitcoin? Should I hold onto it? How do I cryptocurrency? What is the Bit Coins, anyway? One popular answer: Bitcoin is the fictional currency “Bison Dollars” from the 1994 film Street Fighter, based on the popular video game franchise.
Bitcoin (2017) pic.twitter.com/BmWgNG9ZPK— Midsummer Steve ☀️✈️ Gamescom2018 (@_SteveThornton) January 10, 2018
To see how Bison Dollars became the newest meme-savvy way to talk about Bitcoin, let’s take a look at the original scene from Street Fighter:
The dictator M. Bison, played by the late, great Raul Julia, has just revealed a suitcase full of money with his own face on it.
“Is this a joke? This money isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on,” says Bison’s lieutenant, Sagat.
“On the contrary,” Bison declares, “Every Bison Dollar will be worth five British Pounds … once I’ve kidnapped their queen!”
Fictional money, driven by madmen, with its value seemingly set arbitrarily? That reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on i—
Seriously, that's delightful. "Here's my Bitcoin number thingie which I accept donations at." Sorry Uncle, I just have Bison Dollars.— Juniporg: A Ginger's Bread Story (@cjsjostrand) May 16, 2014
Bitcoin is still a lot like Bison dollars to me. I can see what you're doing but it just doesn't quite make sense. https://t.co/TC4OoCPncO— Flossman (@terminalrift) December 13, 2017
I wonder how many times bitcoin idiots imagine themselves switching the world to Bison Dollars without realizing it.— Winterin❄McLeoud (@Carin_McLeoud) January 17, 2018
Oh, yeah. Bitcoin.
The metaphor has not been lost on people who are confused or put off by Bitcoin and other digital currencies. They’ve started using Bison Dollars as a jokey way of discussing the rise of cryptocurrencies.
What every conversation about crypto-currancy sounds like to me. pic.twitter.com/ZE7SMXCx3e— its #20Cre18 baybee (@ZettoSan03) January 17, 2018
If I wanted to invest in an imaginary currency backed by a white supremacist I'd just buy up Bison Dollars— keytar keion (@Patricklous) January 14, 2018
Of course, Bitcoin’s true believers, those who encourage holding the currency no matter what happens, will dismiss this as more FUD (“fear, uncertainty, and doubt”) from “NoCoiners.”
But maybe it’s the NoCoiners who will have the last laugh. If Bitcoin crashes down to nothing and M. Bison successfully kidnaps the Queen of England and blackmails the treasury, those who opted to hold Bison Dollars are going to look pretty damn smart.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.