It costs $350,000 to post a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal. Earlier today, the cryptocurrency community paid exactly that to post an “Initial Troll Offering” image in the popular (and super serious) financial newspaper.
The advertisement was posted after the Wall Street Journal published an open letter from Interactive Brokers chairman Thomas Peterffy, who urged regulators to separate crypto assets from the “real economy”. Peterffy sent the letter in anticipation of bitcoin futures being listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and other major exchanges in the near future.
In response to the inflammatory post, the crypto community launched a crowdfunding campaign. The campaign was led by Twitter user @cryptograffiti, who posted a tweet stating, “In response, we should crowd fund a full page WSJ ad of this.” He then posted a picture of the /r/bitcoin wizard from Reddit’s popular bitcoin community.
The wizard is an ubiquitous figure on the online forum – but it’s far from a professional drawing. It looks like it was drawn in Microsoft Paint. The image sarcastically describes bitcoin as “magic internet money”, and features a blue-robed wizard wielding a staff with the Bitcoin logo on top.
Despite the lack of professionalism, the idea flew across the internet, gathering steam among bitcoiners worldwide. Within hours, a crowdfunding website had been setup at btcwizard.fund.
That website even posted a whitepaper. The project was called “the first Initial Troll Offering”.
“Your contribution will go directly towards buying a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal,” the website explains. “This generally costs $350,000 USD. We want your help to get this wizard into this old newspaper.”
“If you participate,” the website cautioned, “You will not get your money back. Unless we fail. Then you will get your money back. If we succeed, we’ll get the Bitcoin Wizard into the Wall Street Journal.”
It costs $355,000 USD to run a national, full page color advertisement in the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper was chosen because of its popularity among financial professionals. It maintains a widespread circulation across the United States.
The ITO’s whitepaper describes the project as an ITO, defining an ITO as “a fundraising campaign for ridiculous and fun concepts involving the trolling of institutions with bitcoin.”
The bitcoin community has adopted a trolling stance towards “traditional” financial institutions ever since Jamie Dimon referred to bitcoin as a “fraud”. Dimon gets a special shout out in the ITO’s whitepaper:
“This is all done in the spirit of the Bitcoin community! Throughout this process, participants will fund projects whose sole intention is to make fun of things, people, or Jamie Dimon.”
Obviously, the project isn’t content with just one full page picture of a wizard in the Wall Street Journal. Instead of sitting back, the community has already created a Google Doc where users can submit future Initial Troll Offering proposals.
The honor of the first ITO, however, has to go to Eidoo, a Swiss crypto wallet maker and exchange. Earlier this year, Eidoo trolled Jamie Dimon with a full page advertisement for their wallet, saying, “Maybe Jamie will fire you. But, you’ll be free to trade in the crypto-world.”
It’s not clear how many bitcoin users came together to crowdfund the latest Wall Street Journal ad – but you have to admit this is hilarious.