Pepe coin grabbed headlines in the cryptocurrency world and beyond this month – with its staggering rise and rapid fall reigniting the discussion about what roles meme tokens should play in the digital asset space.
Here’s everything you need to know about the coin, including what its wild price fluctuations mean for the broader crypto market.
What is Pepe?
It’s a new cryptocurrency launched on April 19 and was inspired by the well-known “Pepe the Frog” meme, created by cartoonist Matt Furie in 2005. The amphibian-themed token’s developers have so far remained anonymous but have amassed over 270,000 followers on a Twitter account where they’ve pledged to give investors “the most memeable memecoin in existence.”
The Pepe symbol regularly appears on internet message boards, including 4chan and Reddit and has ties to the far right. It was classed as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League in 2016, but it’s also been used by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Coinbase described the meme’s usage by racists in a newsletter on meme coins published last Wednesday – but its chief legal officer apologized a day later after the exchange received widespread criticism from crypto traders.
History of PEPE Coin
The way PEPE has come into existence still needs to be discovered. It did not use an initial coin offering (ICO), presale or airdrop to distribute its tokens. Rather entirely dependent on the popularity of PEPE, the Frog meme to gain interest from potential investors.
It is to be noted that PEPE has no connection to the main creator of PEPE the Frog meme, Matt Furie; rather, the identity of its creators still needs to be discovered. We know that PEPE was launched in the middle of April 2023.
The information about the team and its creators is scarce. Still, PEPE has successfully reaped a lot of attention via social media platforms such as Twitter and Telegram and, within no time, could foster a community around the meme coin. In just a few days of its launch, PEPE already has more than 290,000 followers on Twitter.
How is the token performing?
Mass promotion of Pepe on Twitter fueled a trading frenzy shortly after it launched – and by May 5, its market capitalization hit $1.6 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap. But the token’s rise – which its developers said was “fueled by pure memetic power” but was likely a result of speculators wildly pumping – proved short-lived.
The meme coin’s price has plunged by around 70% from its peak 10 days ago – coinciding with a broader crypto sell-off. Since its launch, Pepecoin has traded at just a fraction of a cent – but a circulating supply of nearly 392 trillion tokens means it’s still the 66th-largest cryptocurrency by total valuation even after its recent losing streak, per CoinMarketCap.
What are meme coins?
Meme coins – or “shitcoins,” if you’re a crypto skeptic – have zero underlying value but are still popular with traders because of their links to well-known memes. The most famous example is Dogecoin, which counts Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk as a longtime fan.
Doge achieved widespread fame during the 2021 crypto boom when it rallied from under a cent to an all-time high of $0.69. Another well-known meme coin is Shiba Inu, which like Pepecoin, surged after its initial launch, only to crash a few weeks later. The token, branded by its developers as the “Dogecoin killer,” surged 240% in a week in October 2021 – but has erased the bulk of its gains since then.
What does all this mean for crypto?
Pepecoin’s massive popularity and subsequent slide could be bad for larger cryptos, including Bitcoin and ether. Explosions in the trading of meme coins have typically been seen as a sign of a bubble – because they show that investors lured in by high valuations buy and sell purely speculative tokens.
Bitcoin started 2023 with four straight months of gains but has plunged 6% since Pepecoin’s launch on April 19. Ether is down 8% over the same period, while fellow large-cap token Solana has plummeted 14% since the frog-based crypto was first listed.
Rise of Pepe coin
Chase Devens, senior research analyst at Messari, attributed Pepe’s rise to a “perfect storm of conditions.”
“I would say that in the past month or so, there hasn’t been anything too noteworthy happening in crypto,” Devens said in a phone interview. “So when Pepe coin popped up, it was relatively easy for people to be like, this is something interesting, and to start directing their attention towards it.”
It also contributed to the crypto’s rally that the meme of Pepe the Frog was already popular on the Internet, noted Devens. Jeff Mei, chief operating officer at BTSE, said investors’ fear of missing out drove the rise of PepeCoin, often referred to as a crypto slang called “FOMO.”
Mei said that the support of so-called whales, or individuals or entities that hold large amounts of Pepe coin, also helped with the rally. “While the crypto market might be stuck in an elongated winter, viral dynamics follow their logic,” Mei said. Bitcoin has gained over 60% so far this year but is still down over its all-time high in 2021, according to CoinDesk data.
Congestion on Ethereum and Bitcoin
The rise of Pepe coin, which is based on Ethereum, has also pushed up the gas fees, or the fees paid to validators on the blockchain, as more transactions are happening on the network. The meme coin resurgence inspired by Pepe has also led to more tokens created on the Bitcoin network using BRC-20 token standard, which allows users to create and send fungible tokens through the Ordinals protocol.
“Since the launch of PEPE, BRC-20 meme coins have exploded in popularity and caused heavy congestion on the network,” Devens wrote in a recent note.
Steps To Buy Pepe Coin On Uniswap
Follow these five easy-peasy steps to fill your wallet with Pepe Coin.
1. Create a Wallet
You first need a crypto wallet, preferably one like Metamask. Download free versions of Metamask or your preferred wallet from Google Play or App Store. Go to metamask.io to download the Google Chrome extension for desktop users and create an account.
2. Get Some ETH
To buy $PEPE, you must have ETH in your wallet. You can transfer Ethereum from another wallet, purchase directly on Metamask, or purchase on another exchange and have them sent to your wallet if you don’t have any.
3. Go to Uniswap
Now you have to connect your wallet to Uniswap. Go to app.uniswap.org in Google Chrome or on the browser inside your Metamask app. Connect your wallet. Copy and paste the $PEPE token address given below into Uniswap.
Verify and select the Pepe coin. When Metamask prompts you for a wallet signature, sign and note that there are tokens with similar denotations, such as Baby Pepe. So, check twice before initiating transactions.
4. Swap ETH for $PEPE
Now all you have to do is swap the token, and with just a few clicks, you can buy your Pepe coins. Once you enter the amount of ETH, it will show the pipe you get. Click on “Swap,” and it will prompt you to sign the Transaction on your wallet.
5. Approve Transaction
Finally, approve the Transaction and wait for a few seconds for it to be approved on the blockchain network. Your Pepe Coin will then appear in your wallet!
Remember to check the transaction details, as Pepe Coin devs have not imposed any tax from their side, but you will be paying gas fees as it is ERC 20 token.
Although its creators didn’t intend the PEPE meme coin to be a serious offering, its early success has been undeniable. A meme coin paying homage to it would also be successful since the infamous Pepe meme is still strong after 18 years. Although it isn’t possible to see into the future, PEPE will likely have more staying power than most other meme coins.