RadioShack, which you may remember as a consumer electronics retailer endemic to shopping malls from the 1990s and early years, has relaunched with a corresponding cryptocurrency and a positively sickening Twitter account.
It’s the latest example of crypto’s strange, ongoing overlap with edgelord internet behavior. The ‘Shack’ sold batteries, RC cars, DIY electronics and all things wire and transistor for the solderer in your life. It was a ubiquitous sight in America’s parking lots until it wasn’t, with the e-commerce boom driving the company to bankruptcy in 2015.
Sportswriter Jon Bois, a former RadioShack employee, wrote one: big obituary of sorts (opens in new tab) for the company that remains loyal to anyone who has had a hopeless service or retail job. Bois writes of the former giant: “RadioShack is a crappy place to work, generally not a good place to shop and an unsustainable business to run. Losing everyone involved.”
RadioShack was bought in 2020 by crypto entrepreneur Alex Mehr and influencer Tai Lopez, and the company will be closed by the end of 2021. announced the launch of its cryptocurrency (opens in new tab), RADIO. RadioShack started getting “epic” on Twitter around the same time, interacting with crypto-focused accounts, posting “the Shack is Back” memes, and, sigh, “immerse” on critics.
The retailer’s social media account started ramping up the volume in earnest and… questionable content of his posts earlier this month, including a deleted tweet expressing love for vaginal discharge (opens in new tab)as well as using a well-distributed still from a racist porn shoot to imply some sort of triumph (opens in new tab) against the overloaded Twitter account of the fast food chain Wendy’s. I want to fall with my head in a drawer.
As technical writer Jack Appleby points out (opens in new tab), this is an obvious trick to attract attention to the brand’s crypto token, one that thank goodness doesn’t seem to work. Even if the Twitter account gets a lot more traffic, RADIO has only fallen in value this month since the brand’s social media started going crazy with it, with the token currently linked to worth less than a penny (opens in new tab)†
Indeed, spitting out the best that Reddit had to offer around 2018 doesn’t seem like enough to withstand the current crypto free fall. Even legit (or as legit as these things get) cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have fallen in value by 55% and 70% respectively from this time last year. If the token thing doesn’t come out, Radioshack actually does still sell electronics (opens in new tab) through his website – I wouldn’t trust these people my credit card number though.
I hope no correlation persists between attention and symbolic value for this company, otherwise even negative coverage will eventually only add to the noise that makes the people behind this thing rich.
maybe we will see shitcoins (opens in new tab) wearing the mask of defunct retailers continues to multiply. Mehr and Lopez already own Pier 1 imports, while other standby companies like Fry’s Electronics, Circuit City and Blockbuster are almost all begging to be resuscitated as completely worthless unregulated securities. None of the sterile, air-conditioned interiors of my childhood are safe from Web3 CPR.