Peculiar ‘Dabloons’ trend rises on TikTok


Graphic by Christiana Vucea

TikTok users wrapped up in the “dabloons” trend encounter numerous videos, which often depict a blurred black cat extending its paw to offer a currency exchange.

The “dabloons” trend has taken TikTok by storm. It uses a cat meme to create a thriving and fictitious economy. While some consider it a joke, others believe it echoes the present economy and the age of cryptocurrency.

As a currency, dabloons are signified by a photo of a cat with four toes, each toe representing one dabloon. They may have been named after the 16th century doubloon, a historical Spanish gold coin.

Users receive dabloons when the TikTok algorithm recommends a video of someone giving the viewer dabloons. These videos usually are shared as a slideshow of photos and simulate scenarios where the viewer is a traveler and the cat either charges or grants currency after a meal or rest. Dabloons can also be traded in for imaginary items, which range from a bowl of soup to fighter jets. 

RM students have a relatively negative response to the trend. “It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life,” freshman Esha Sharma said. “Who came up with this name? A 14th century pirate?”

The trend was first spotted around April 2021, when @catz.jpeg uploaded an Instagram post showing a kitten with an outstretched paw above the caption “4 dabloons,” but it did not become popular on TikTok until October 2022. According to The New York Times, the hashtag #dabloons has over 417 million views on the platform.

Dabloons are somewhat like cryptocurrency, which is digital currency managed entirely in an online database with records of all transactions. The dabloons market, however, uses an honor code to track money and prevent cheating.

“I don’t really see the point because you can just say that you have any amount of dabloons,” freshman Gwyneth Gibson said.  

The dabloons system does not merely involve receiving and charging money, though. There are different scenarios and consequences for participants. Robberies, university tuition, dabloon-related government agencies, dabloon mafia and swindlers all exist in this economy. 

Despite being an entirely fake economy, the trend may reflect current monetary issues. Wary of inflation and the possibility that anyone could mint as many dabloons as they wanted, players decided to cap dabloon gifting at 100.

On the other hand, Gibson feels that the system does not accurately mirror real-world circumstances. “You could make everything up without any sort of regulations, which is why I think it isn’t a good representation of today’s economy,” she said.

Furthermore, both Sharma and Gibson do not think that the dabloons economy will affect students at RM. “I don’t think anybody is going to be super into a fake currency that holds very little value,” Gibson said. 

“I think that the RM community has worse things to worry about, like burnout and stress,” Sharma said.