TikTok’s latest trend obsession is a tricky one to unpack. It’s both obscure and absurd, beginning with a viral cat meme and ending with imaginary inflation. Yes, you read that right.
What are ‘dabloons’ and how did this all start?
The word “doubloon” itself can be traced back to 16th-century Spain, where they existed as gold coins and were used as currency for centuries. On TikTok today, doubloons remain a form of currency — just a fictional one.
On TikTok, everyone is starring in their own TV show
Dabloons originated in a meme from 2021, which began doing the rounds on Instagram after being posted by @catz.jpeg (which has over 128,000 followers and posts cat memes consistently). This meme, as many will recall, involved a kitten’s paw held out in full stretch, with the caption “4 dabloons”. Later, a variation of the meme popped up on the same account, featuring a black cat with the same caption, and a tiny paw holding up four fingers.
According to Know Your Meme, this post migrated to Tumblr and trekked over to TikTok, where it was met with equal popularity. The “4 dabloons cat” began being shared via TikTok’s slideshow mode, in which several pictures can be posted and swiped through. Several versions of the cat were shared, mostly in photo stories that started with the words “hello traveler”, offered an object or item, and then ended with a meme of the cat. Everything you want to trade costs “4 dabloons”.
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Only thing to remember: dabloons are a fictional currency being used to trade and obtain fictional items. There is no official store, no external site offering dabloons. And despite comparisons, dabloons are not cryptocurrency.
How are people “collecting” dabloons?
People are accounting for their dabloons, which are collected — or lost — by how many you come across on social media. Literally if you see a dabloon, you have earned a dabloon. Individual videos offer individual amounts and items; it depends on what you come across. For example, a video from influencer @seansvv is offering people a chance to be instantly relieved of their “dabloon debt”. Just “like” the video and your imaginary debt is gone.
TikTokker @britedragon explained it well: the more people would see the ubiquitous cat meme with the four fingers held up, the more doubloons they collected. “It’s like we’re all playing neopets,” they say. And that seems to be the point — the internet is playing one big game together.
How far has this gone?
People like @max.milam are keeping track of their dabloons on Excel spreadsheets. Others have analyzed rising “dabloon inflation”. Users like @polyba explain their imaginary dabloon-based lives, which are extremely intricate. Then there are dedicated, niche like @dabloongrocerystore and @dabloonshq that have popped up, with tens of thousands of followers each.
So it’s all gone pretty far — all thanks to the power of TikTok. The word “dabloons” appears 21 times in this article (now 22), so does that mean you just earned 22 dabloons (now 23)? We’re unsure, but enjoy.
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