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PEPE–The most ‘memeable’ memecoin

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June 13, 2024

7 min read


TL;DR: PEPE is a hugely popular meme token on the Ethereum blockchain, which features the iconic “Pepe the Frog”. It has gone down as one of the fastest growing ERC-20 tokens in history, and has been breaching new all-time highs for the price of its token a year from its launch in April of 2023. 

What is PEPE?

We can recall how the dogs started it all. Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) certainly have had their time in the sun and maintain a healthy respect in the market. The cats tried but if we’re going to be honest, they have yet to be in the same league as the dogs. When it comes to pure memetic power however, it certainly seems like we’re about to enter the Age of the Frog. 

Pepe (PEPE) is a relatively new memecoin which shows the smiling image of “Pepe the Frog”. It proclaims itself on its official website as the “most memeable memecoin in existence”, and it certainly seems to have a lot going for it to back up the claim. When it launched in April of 2023, it hit the $1 billion market cap within only three weeks. This is a hugely impressive feat considering that DOGE, the first ever memecoin, took almost four years to breach the same market cap, while its closest competitor SHIB, took nine months. 

As a memecoin, PEPE differs only from the others in that it is a frog-themed token and not a dog-themed one. In fact, the PEPE website openly pokes fun at this, saying how it is tired of the “endless derivative” of dog-themed tokens that are constantly entering the market. 

The character of Pepe itself is an anthropomorphic frog with a humanoid body, and has long been popular from the early 2000s. He was created by the artist Matt Furie for a webcomic called ‘Boy’s Club’, but soon became widely adopted as a meme for sites such as 4Chan, Twitch, Reddit, and Discord, all of which feature his image as an emoji. 

That said, it should be pointed out that the PEPE token was launched anonymously and has no proven connection with Matt Furie, though the use of the character has been instrumental in the popularity of the token. To date, there is no official information about the team behind PEPE, who only rely on social media platforms such as their official X page for its campaigns. 

How does PEPE work?

PEPE openly states in its website that it is a meme coin “with no intrinsic value or expectation of financial return” and that it is for ‘entertainment purposes’ only paying homage to the well-loved character. To date however, it has been reported that 96% of PEPE holders are in profit, thanks to a series of recent price surges.

It also however states that PEPE is a “coin for the people” which is why it operates  with the following features:

- Zero taxes - Using PEPE for transactions comes with no additional fees, unlike many other crypto tokens which charge a small amount to support the project. 

- Burning mechanism -  Each PEPE transaction burns a tiny amount of the token supply, inducing a supply scarcity over time. This is meant to make the token deflationary and to incentivize holders as the token’s value increases over time.

- Redistribution system - PEPE was designed to reallocate a small amount to existing holders with each transaction. It has been reported however, that this feature has been discontinued, and it is yet to be announced if it will be reinstated in the future.  

Why do people love memecoins?

Memecoins are unique to the cryptocurrency industry, as they often offer no clear utility or investment value, relying mostly on the hype generated by its creators and their communities, and are often borne from internet jokes or viral memes.

In fact, the very first memecoin, DOGE, was created as a practical joke to make fun of Bitcoin. However, to the surprise of its creators, it instead generated intense popularity as it was widely adopted by online communities and celebrities, and DOGE has since been a steady fixture among the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.  

Instead of utility, people gravitate towards memecoins for their blend of humor, community spirit, and the potential for high rewards. Memecoins bring a unique sense of fun and playfulness to the cryptocurrency world, making it engaging for a broader audience, as opposed to the traditional markets, which are seen as more serious, exclusive, and inaccessible. 

During times when the general markets are bleak or when bluechip coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum are trading downwards or sideways, it has been observed that many traders turn to memecoins for their ‘comic relief’.

Moreover, the low initial investment and the possibility of skyrocketing returns tend to entice people with the dream of making significant gains from a very small stake, making memecoins an appealing venture for many.

PEPE in the news

In August 2023, the Pepe Coin community was alarmed when 16 trillion PEPE tokens, worth back then at around $15 million USD, were unexpectedly transferred from the project's multi-signature wallet to several centralized exchanges. 

This news led to a significant drop in the coin's price.  In an attempt to clarify the situation, a post from the project's official X account explained how some disgruntled developers were behind the unauthorized transfers with the intention of stealing them. The tweet also explains that these developers had since left the project, and has given assurances to the public that the remaining team is now in a better position to continue on with its mission for the project. 

More recently, PEPE has been making the headlines, breaking new ground as it reached a new all-time high for the price of its token in the wake of the approval of Ethereum ETFs by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

PEPE Tokenomics

PEPE has a maximum supply of 420.69 trillion (420,690,000,000,000), the number whose significance is a further nod to internet meme culture.

Though software analysts have confirmed that PEPE’s burning mechanism is built-in in its token contract, as of writing, major cryptocurrency data platforms such as CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko, both show a circulating supply of 420,689,999,999,995 trillion tokens for PEPE, accounting for almost 100% of its maximum supply. 

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