Discover more from Non-Fungible Rebels
PEPE: Is The Frog Gonna Flip the Dog?
I think everyone would agree that the web3 space has been very gloom and doom recently.
I have seen many artists searching for 9-5 jobs again, floors and prices dropping, investments decreasing a LOT and instead increased level toxicity on Twitter. Many left the space altogether and probably won’t be ever coming back, grifters are gone but will be back with the next hype cycle. It’s safe to say that the whole space has been “paused”, the motivation is lost and only very few true believers stayed to continue buidling…
Thanks for reading Non-Fungible Rebels! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
And in the middle of all that darkness - finally something positive and bold showed up in the space…
Who would have thought what would bring the old good vibes, excitement and the original culture back would be a new memecoin/shitcoin?
Ladies and gentlemen - meet Pepe!
In 2005, an artist named Matt Furie made a comic series called Boy's Club which included a character named Pepe the Frog. Pepe's catchphrase that’s still used now was "Feels good man". Later, people started using Pepe as a meme on websites like 4chan and Reddit.
In 2014-2015 "alt-right" groups used Pepe. In 2015, Donald Trump shared a picture of himself as Pepe on Twitter and the frog “got into politics”.
Many started making racist and anti-semitic versions of Pepe, and in 2016, the Anti-Defamation League added Pepe to a list of symbols used by hate groups.
But also, in another part of the world…
Three years later, people in Hong Kong who wanted democracy started using pictures of Pepe in their protests.
In the same 2016, a group of developers within the Bitcoin community created the Rare Pepe Cards, a collection of digital trading cards featuring Pepe the Frog. These cards were unique in that they were stored on the Bitcoin blockchain, with ownership of each card transferred by transferring the associated Bitcoin to the new owner.
The Rare Pepe Cards quickly gained popularity among Bitcoin enthusiasts and collectors, with some rare cards fetching prices of thousands of dollars. The popularity of the Rare Pepe Cards helped to spark interest in the idea of using the blockchain for storing and trading digital collectibles, and paved the way for the creation of other forms of digital assets, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Today, Pepe has evolved into a symbol of both internet culture and the crypto world. While Rare Pepes are no longer as widely traded or discussed as they once were, Pepe continues to be a popular meme and cultural icon, and is often referenced or incorporated into digital art, games, and other forms of media.
So although it wasn’t the original plan Pepe became the most used meme character on the internet.
And as always - when I see a good story I start looking into it and as a result fall down yet another rabbit hole.
At the time I am writing this, $PEPE is only about 2 weeks old.
But, what it has achieved in this bear market is impressive:
3rd largest Memecoin;
60k+ wallets hold the coin; and
Market cap of 520M+.
I had so many questions: but the one that kept coming back to me over and over again was - what made this memecoin so successful in this bear market and what made it so special?
It’s All About Community-Building
In search of answers, I went directly to the “soul” of the project - i.e., it’s community. Joined their official Discord and Telegram and started lurking.
Both places took me back to the old ICO times.
They had the “wen moon,” “wen Lambo” vibe, MANY messages running down the screen, and were packed with memes, of course!
And I may be mistaken, but I highly doubt anyone there has ever heard about Matt Furie or knew much about Pepe’s backstory.
It was yet another crypto bros-talk about token price and potential gains.
Some of the messages could make you chuckle though to be fair:)
I even tried to engage with them but it was almost impossible to have any meaningful dialogue.
This can’t be true though… from first impression this is no different than the other meme coins out there. There should be something different about this one… otherwise how could $PEPE be the coin absolutely everyone is talking about by this point? How could it gain almost 60k holders in just 2 weeks?
So I went to where I heard about it for the first time: the bird app (i.e. Twitter). And that’s where I think Pepe’s real genuine community was at. Yes there too I saw loads of talk about “generational wealth” and FOMO provoking statements… but there was something else besides that which was missing in the official Telegram and Discord crowd.
Here it felt like a movement, there was a taste of a culture and it felt like fun was finally back again. The community felt self-organized and quite diverse. Thousand+ people were spending hours on Twitter Spaces organized by Pauly and Yazan every day.
On those Twitter Spaces you could smell excitement, hope and one could feel how much fun did people have there. Everyone created new Pepe memes. Some were writing Pepe songs (btw the quality of the music is really good! Could not find my favourite one to share, sorry).
Somehow all those well-defined borders faded, and you would see Bitcoin Maxis, DeFi guys, NFT degens, NFT artists, $DOGE Army, non-crypto newbies, and meme lovers - paying obeisance at the altar of the meme.
I had an impression that for many buying $PEPE might have been their very first DeFi experience.
The most important thing I noticed (that doesn’t happen often) on those Twitter Spaces is people were being warned that it’s a shitcoin, it’s highly risky, one should not invest more than they are willing to lose, and that they should book profits.
Anyway, everyone there felt exhilarated that they discovered the next big thing…
Now let’s try to understand what may be the reasons for $PEPE becoming the new crypto phenomenon.
Influencers and Fair Launch: $PEPE Has Entered The Chat
Not sure if you know how DeFi tokens are usually launched and promoted, but here’s the TL; DR.
The project team reaches out to influencers before the launch
They make an agreement
The influencer shills the coin to its audience and builds up hype and FOMO
The team pays them in the upcoming token.
This means the influencers get early access and receive quite a large pool of tokens as soon as it hits the market.
Obviously, the more they hype the token and the more people they “onboard,” the more money they would make.
That’s also exactly why most of the DeFi tokens’ prices spike up right after the launch and then die off.
Influencers’ audience basically acts as their “exit liquidity.”
So in most cases, influencers’ motives are not to educate and help (as they claim) but rather to use and abuse your trust.
Needless to say that many have been sick and tired of influencers and the fact that they have so much unfair advantages.
Many DeFi projects also have a pre-sale stage not open to the public, and that, too, gives the “elites” opportunities others don’t get.
With $PEPE, it feels like the team did a “fair launch”.
It was open to everyone immediately, and based on “influencer’s” reactions to the coin, it felt like they were left out (and probably bitter because of that).
I have not seen anyone share any evidence that influencers got free tokens…
It seemed like this new approach to launching their token de-powered the “influencers,” which was such an appealing story to so many people who were sick of the shilling.
In fact, some claimed that they see it to be $PEPE’s utility 🙂
Does the coin have any utility though? Nope!
Team made it very clear on their website.
Saying that though, you can already use $Pepe as payment currency on Manifold.
It is obvious that the more transparent the team is, the more trust it gets. Although Pepe’s team is anon (I could not get any info on who they might be) but looks like they made sure that the token is in line with the decentralization ethos.
Many will definitely be tracking that wallet so I am certain that at the moment something suspicious happens there people will talk about it right away.
The fact that the original contract owner has renounced ownership of the contract means that no one can execute functions via the smart contract any longer - which feels good man!
It feels like it may be reaching beyond the crypto community because as Spottie WiFi has put it in my conversation with him
“This is not a meme that was derived from a cryptocurrency, like Doge and Shiba Inu - this is a cryptocurrency inspired by the #1 meme in history.”
At this point $PEPE has become a movement and just like any other movement it has it’s true believers and advocates as well as nay sayer… Seems like right now the first prevail and outnumber the second.
But one thing is for sure - Pepe triggers emotions within both camps.
Was it a coincidence that the creator of Dogecoin tweeted this in the past few days? Maybe it was.. But maybe not…
Meanwhile, the degens are having a good time.
And to each it’s own. Even CZ from Binance says “he never really understood memecoins that much…”
Pepe looks like a grassroot movement that has nothing to do neither with influencers nor the VCs and that seems to be the main reason so many are attracted to it.
Many people are extremely excited about $PEPE and based on the impressive chart everyone is at profit now… but you should bear in mind that investing in memecoins is extremely risky and things can go both ways so you should not put more money that you are genuinely ready to lose.
No matter what others tell you - it should be solely your responsibility to make your own decisions so always DYOR (Do Your Own Research).
Please be careful - the more popular the coin gets, more scams are created around it. Please don’t click any links and don’t connect your wallet to random sites. There are NO airdrops, staking, etc. Follow only the official accounts.
Food for thought
Not many talk about this - but not sure how Matt Furie feels about this… after all, his character is being used yet again without him having any control over it…
And another random thought… Do you think if Matt himself launched the $PEPE coin, it would end up being as popular as it is now…?
Leaving you with this for now.
Make sure you sign up for more stories!
Join the Non-Fungible Rebels
Thanks for reading Non-Fungible Rebels! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.