If you’ve spent any time on Reddit in the past four years, you’ve probably seen the Bitcoin wizard. Drawn in the familiar squiggly style of MS Paint, wearing a blue robe and wielding a staff, the Bitcoin wizard is the centrepiece of what is arguably the most celebrated and iconic Reddit ad of all time. “Join us,” the ad for Reddit’s /r/Bitcoin subreddit states, “MAGIC INTERNET MONEY.”
The Bitcoin wizard, a triumph of janky and childlike drawing skills, has become a symbol of nostalgia in Bitcoin since it was posted as a suggestion for an /r/Bitcoin ad in 2013 by a user going by “mavensbot.” Its nonchalance evokes a time when Bitcoin, which effectively launched in 2009, was kind of fun and not overrun with bankers, trolls, and so-called “civil wars” between factions in the community. Reddit is filled with comments like this one from user “sir_fancypants” in 2016:
“ That ad was created by the pioneers who were really passionate about [Bitcoin] long before it achieved any kind of public relevance. It was lighthearted and brought curious people to the sub where helpful fans would take the time to answer their questions. We could definitely use more of that around here and less constant fighting and vitriol.”
Now, Bitcoiners are attempting to raise $350,000 USD to get the iconic doodle in The Wall Street Journal as a full-page ad. The “initial troll offering,” as the campaign is branding itself, is a rebellion against the paper, which Bitcoiners seem to especially despise for its coverage of their “magic internet money,” as the wizard puts it. The ad “not only promotes the Bitcoin namesake, but it also trolls The Wall Street Journal for being a paper that is made of paper,” the campaign site states.
The campaign began as a joke by the Twitter account “cryptograffiti,” but hours later it became a reality in the form of a website and a Bitcoin wallet that people can donate to. So far, the campaign has managed to raise just under $1,000 worth of Bitcoin, so there’s a ways to go. But it seems to be well-received; Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Mims tweeted in response to the campaign, “Let’s make this happen folks.” If the campaign fails to raise $350,000, it pledges to return the funds.
If it happens, it would be a dumb and fun thing at a time when Bitcoin seems to be anything but. Godspeed, you wonderful nerds.
Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter .