RadioShack, which you may remember as a retailer of consumer electronics endemic to strip malls of the '90s and early aughts, has relaunched with a corresponding cryptocurrency and positively nauseating Twitter account.
It is the latest example of crypto's strange, continuing overlap with edgelord internet behavior. The 'Shack used to sell batteries, RC cars, DIY electronics tools, and all matter of wires and transistors for the solderer in your life. It was a ubiquitous sight in the parking lots of America until it wasn't, with the ecommerce boom driving the company to bankruptcy in 2015.
Sportswriter Jon Bois, a former RadioShack employee, wrote a great obituary of sorts (opens in new tab) for the company that rings true to anyone who's worked a dead-end service or retail job. Bois writes of the former giant, "RadioShack is a rotten place to work, generally not a very good place to shop, and an untenable business to run. Everyone involved loses."
RadioShack was purchased by crypto entrepreneur Alex Mehr and influencer Tai Lopez in 2020, and in late 2021 the company announced the launch of its cryptocurrency (opens in new tab), RADIO. RadioShack began getting uh, "epic" on Twitter at about the same time, interacting with crypto-focused accounts, posting "the Shack is Back" memes, and, sigh, "dunking" on critics.
The retailer's social media account began seriously ramping up the volume and… questionable content of its posts earlier this month, including a deleted tweet expressing a love of vaginal discharge (opens in new tab), as well as using a well-circulated still from a racist porn shoot to imply some sort of triumph (opens in new tab) against the overleveraged Twitter account of the fast food chain, Wendy's. I want to slam my head in a drawer.
As tech writer Jack Appleby points out (opens in new tab), this is an obvious ploy to drum up attention for the brand's crypto token, one that, thank god, doesn't seem to be working. Even if the Twitter account is getting a lot more traffic, RADIO has only declined in value in the month since the brand's social media started getting nutty with it, with the token currently pegged at less than a cent in value (opens in new tab).
Indeed, regurgitating the best that Reddit circa 2018 had to offer does not seem to be enough to stand against the current crypto freefall. Even legit (or as legit as these things get) cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have declined in value 55% and 70% respectively from this time last year . If the token thing doesn't pan out, Radioshack does actually still sell electronics (opens in new tab) through its website—I wouldn't trust these people with my credit card number though.
I hope there continues to be no correlation between attention and token value for this company, otherwise even negative coverage will ultimately just contribute to the noise that makes the people behind this thing rich.
Perhaps we'll see shitcoins (opens in new tab) wearing the mask of defunct retailers continue to proliferate. Mehr and Lopez already own Pier 1 imports, while other standbys like Fry's Electronics, Circuit City, and Blockbuster are all practically begging to be reanimated as entirely worthless unregulated securities. None of the sterile, air-conditioned interiors of my youth are safe from Web3 reanimation.