The phrase “Let’s go Brandon” has officially gone full circle. NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, the titular “Brandon” in everybody’s least favorite meme, announced Thursday that his car’s sponsor for the upcoming season will be LGBCoin, a cryptocurrency named after the “Let’s go Brandon” meme. It is all very dumb and exhausting, but here we are.
Real quick, let’s remember how we got here: The phrase “Let’s go Brandon” came to fruition after Brown won his first ever NASCAR race in October. During an interview after his victory, a crowd formed behind Brown and started chanting, “Fuck Joe Biden.” NBC reporter Kelli Stavast, mishearing the crowd (or trying to cover up the message, if you buy into the conservative conspiratorial origin story), told Brown the crowd was cheering “Let’s go Brandon.” Ever since then, conservatives who are too cowardly to say the word “fuck” out loud have used the “code” phrase and snickered over how clever and funny it is — even though literally everyone knows what you are saying and you can just say it! Just say “Fuck Joe Biden,” no one cares, it is fine to say.
Anyway, the phrase has taken on a life of its own because conservatives who have decided that owning the libs is the only thing that matters to them are very sure that saying “Let’s go Brandon” is triggering people. They are very intent on running it into the ground, which is how we ended up with Ted Cruz calling it “one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems most intent on milking it too: He has taken to calling the Biden White House the “Brandon administration” and held a bill-signing event in Brandon, Florida.
Does it make sense? No. It’d be like eating a bowl of ramen to celebrate Noodle the Pug. Like, yes, those are noodles, but they have nothing to do with the actual meme? It’s just the loosest possible reference to the thing. Again, all of this is absolutely exhausting.
And we haven’t even talked about the crypto of it all yet.
So while “Let’s go Brandon” has blown up, Brown, the guy who has largely been forgotten as the origin point, has been struggling. He has always been a small fish in a big pond, driving as part of a family-owned team, and has lamented how hard it has been to get sponsors ever since the “Let’s go Brandon” situation. He’s always had this problem and skated by with small sponsors in the past, but usually winning makes you more marketable. For Brown, the meme surrounding him has made his brand toxic. “It’s hard for a brand to want to attach to somebody who might be kind of divisive in their consumer base,” he told the Sports Business Journal earlier this month.
Enter LGBCoin, or Let’s Go Brandon Coin. The cryptocurrency launched in November as a “decentralized meme token inspiring positivity and patriotism, grounded in a strong belief in the American dream and the principles of freedom.” That’s a bunch of meaningless nothing phrases signifying exactly nothing, but hey, the coin is skyrocketing in value right now, so who cares!
A quick, automated audit of LGBCoin conducted by TokenSniffer suggests that it is a scam coin. It scored 0 out of a possible 100 in the audit, which looks for certain indicators as to whether a cryptocurrency is legitimate or not. The audit reveals that the LGBCoin cannot be sold, the contract can be modified at any time, and that there is no liquidity actually backing the token. Basically, it’s a scam — though, to its credit, it doesn’t hide this fact. “LGBCoin has no intrinsic value and you should not purchase it with any expectation that you will be able to resell it,” the website for the coin warns.
It’s hard to blame Brown for taking sponsorship money where he can find it. It seems like racing is his primary priority and, through no fault of his own, he’s become the center of a political meme that is making his life more difficult than it needs to be. That said, he’s maybe embracing things a little more than he’s letting on. While he’s tried to position himself as apolitical and uninterested in being known for the “Let’s go Brandon” meme, it does appear the deal with LGBCoin was in the works while Brown was doing press about how hard it’s been to be associated with the phrase.
Maybe it’s just opportunistic, maybe it’s a little more cynical than that. Either way, it doesn’t look like “Let’s go Brandon” is going away any time soon.