In mid-April, a little-known token launched on the Ethereum blockchain. It debuted with a 420 trillion supply — ‘420’ is a popular numeral in cannabis culture — and a picture of a green frog wearing a red baseball cap. Within days, it would become the face of cryptocurrency’s latest craze: the 2023 meme coin movement.
This is the story of PEPE, the team behind it, its minted millionaires, and the role of the token as the first Web3 community-centric cryptocurrency. By the end of this guide, you’ll know not just about the token’s incredible rise, but the intent of the team behind it and the culture surrounding it.
Let’s started off with the basics: an overview of the PEPE token.
PEPE Token: Overview and Characteristics
PEPE officially launched on April 16th in a discreet manner. There was no pre-sale, and the team behind the token chose to remain anonymous. It debuted as under the ERC-20 token, which is simply the standard for fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. As it goes in crypto parlance, 1 PEPE = 1 PEPE, forever and always.
It began trading that day at $0.000000001, which, for the math inclined, is one-billionth of a dollar. Then it shot up quickly, rising over 1000% in just two weeks. At this time of writing, it trades at $0.00000168 and has a market cap of $708 million, making it good for the 69th top cryptocurrency.
Most meme coins fizzle out within the first few days. Rugs (where someone close to the project holds a large supply and sells their tokens, tanking the price) come hard and fast. But PEPE has bucked that trend as well, holding as major whales have sold off their positions. According to Etherscan, there are:
- 86,000 holders of PEPE, up 5% from a day ago
- Over 70 wallets that hold $1 million worth of PEPE tokens
- Three centralized exchanges (OKX, Huobi, and MEXC) in the top 10 of holders
In addition, cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX recently listed PEPE on its exchange through two USD-related trading pairs. Users on that exchange can use up to 50% leverage as well in their trading of PEPE. That gives a new meaning to the warning, “Degen responsibly.”
While the number of holders keeps rising and the market cap for PEPE increases, some individuals have already taken profits. The next section covers PEPE feats of investing, which involve a moxie mix of risk-taking and holding on for dear life.
PEPE Feats of Investment
Many people in Web3 dream of the possibility of investing a small amount of cash and receiving a return of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. It happened with early investors of Bitcoin and ETH, the original crew of Bored Ape Yacht Club owners, and now for some PEPE holders.
Through the Ethereum blockchain, we have a full, transparent view of the wealth early PEPE investors created. A dream that many PEPE holders still believe can come true if they protect their token worth with diamond hands. Here are three such investors, coming from blockchain sleuth Lookonchain.
|Individual #||PEPE Buy Amount||Buy Value||PEPE Sell Amount||Sell Value|
|1||5.4 trillion||$2,100||3.4 trillion||$1.8 million|
|2||5.9 trillion||$251||2 trillion||$1.1 million|
|3||4.2 trillion||$4,822||3.2 trillion||$1.3 million|
That’s the beginning of generational wealth for three investors, all because they were early to the token and were willing to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars. Although those kinds of gains may be behind us for PEPE, many are still hoping for outsized returns based on small investments — a calling card of Web3.
Roadmap of PEPE Team
It is true: Meme coins launch every day. Many of them last less than a week, with the meme coin founders dumping on early investors. As one influencer put it, in every cycle there is maybe one meme coin that will rise to the top. In the rest, investors are playing a game of chicken with each other.
So, what makes PEPE intriguing? Maybe it is the team itself. They write, “PEPE is a community-based meme coin with one mission: to make meme coins great again…PEPE is for the people.”
To that end, the team has locked in 6.4% of the token supply in a wallet used for future centralized exchange listings. It has renounced the smart contract, meaning that it can’t be altered later and used to rug investors. The marketing has been based solely around memes themselves, and the team has survived Twitter deactivating its account twice.
Its goal seems to be the formation of a community, all around the Pepe the Frog character that has been an internet sensation for over a decade. Given that memes are the lifeblood of internet discourse, the PEPE team is taking an interesting path to relevance, and investors are buying in.
PEPE as a Web3 Community Token
Pepe the Frog, like the token, had small beginnings: starring in a comic by Matt Furie called Boy’s Club #1 in 2005. But it gained popularity as a meme quickly, spreading across MySpace, 4chan, and Reddit in a few years. Later, individuals would use it to contextualize political campaigns and even as protest symbols. Around that time, it found its way into the world of cryptocurrency.
Pepe has a certain amount of fame beyond memes as well. It was featured among the first NFT collections on the Bitcoin blockchain — a team minted a collection of ‘Rare Pepe’ NFTs in September 2016, one of the first examples of crypto art. Today, the cards are worth around $250,000, with one selling for $500,000 during the bull run.
Crypto Twitter uses Pepe for countless memes about Web3, including comparing the space thematically to scenes in Hollywood movies. Pepe serves as a conduit for statements of culture, inviting levity in difficult moments, of which there have been many in the past two years.
Then there is this: The NFT bull run of 2021 brought in thousands of new, diamond-handing Web3 members, none of whom have had a meme coin they can rally around. PEPE speaks to the power of the community itself, especially those who have stuck around in the middle of a bleak bear market.
PEPE is a Web3 community token.
As the original Pepe the Frog character might say, “Feels good, man.”
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