Memecoins are cryptocurrencies that are named after pop culture phenomena—especially internet memes. The first and arguably most famous of these is Dogecoin, which was created in 2013 and used a picture of a Shiba Inu as its symbol. Although memecoins are generally created as simple jokes or references, without complex features or economics, the hype that surrounds their existence can drive up their popularity (and prices) in hyper-volatile markets. They are therefore often the subjects of speculative trading.
Pepe (PEPE) is one such token. Its creator(s) launched the token on the Ethereum blockchain with no partnerships, token sales, or complicated “tokenomics.” Ostensibly, this would allow anyone to buy, collect, or sell PEPE—and only to do those things, without any other functionality. Other than its inherent gimmick as a meme, PEPE has no use case.
What is the story behind the Pepe meme?
Pepe the Frog was introduced in 2005 by cartoonist Matt Furie as a character in his comic called Boy’s Club. Pepe was depicted as a large-mouthed, green amphibian who played video games and hung out with his friends. Although most may not recognize Furie’s original work, those who remember Internet culture from the 2000s and 2010s might have seen Pepe across social media. Soon, Pepe wore different expressions (“sad Pepe,” etc.) in different scenarios.
However, as time wore on, Pepe began to have more controversial meanings across the web. By the mid-2010s, the meme had been accused of being co-opted by those with extreme, alt-right views, associating what had been an apolitical comic with white nationalism, antisemitism, racism, and other related ideologies. In response to these accusations, Furie began a campaign to reclaim Pepe, asserting in a Time Magazine opinion piece that “Pepe is love”. He began the #SavePepe movement on social media, and a documentary called Feels Good Man featuring Furie’s efforts was released at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020.
How was PEPE created and how is it used?
PEPE was launched as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain in April 2023. The website that provided information about the token explicitly stated that it had no association with original Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie. It quickly garnered the attention of the crypto community and, through a frenzy of thousands of users buying across the market, PEPE boasted a $500 million market capitalization within about two weeks of its creation. The creator(s) of PEPE is/are not known.
The full maximum supply of PEPE was released upon its launch, totaling 420,690,000,000,000 tokens. It was originally available only in a Uniswap liquidity pool, but the token has since become tradable across both centralized and decentralized finance platforms. There is no use for PEPE other than collectability, trading, and speculation.
- The Pepe coin (PEPE) is a memecoin that takes inspiration from the popular Pepe the Frog meme from the 2000s and 2010s.
- The Pepe meme has faced significant controversy since the mid-2010s, leading the cartoonist who created the character, Matt Furie, to mount a campaign to reclaim it. The Pepe cryptocurrency does not have any connection with Furie.
- As an Ethereum-based memecoin, PEPE can be collected and traded, but it does not have functionality beyond these simple uses.