Crypto: What is Pepe Coin? The memecoin that has soared 900%

Anti-government protesters hold Pepe the frog while forming a human chain protest on a New Year's Eve in Hong Kong, China, December 31, 2019. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Anti-government protesters hold Pepe the frog while forming a human chain at a protest in Hong Kong, China. Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

Cryptocurrency Pepe Coin, experienced a staggering 900% increase in value within just two days of its debut, and its market capitalisation went from zero to nearly $100m (£80m) in a week. Yahoo Finance looks at the frenzy behind the memecoin's meteoric rise, as prominent cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum have backtracked after last week's rally.

On April 17, Pepe Coin made its debut, and within two days of its launch, the coin witnessed an impressive surge, achieving $30m in trading volumes on the Uniswap decentralised exchange.

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Currently, Pepe Coin is a storm of hype, the coin has no particular use, its only notable attribute is that it features the well-known internet meme character Pepe the Frog as its mascot.

On April 18 an investor exchanged 0.125 ether (ETH-USD), around £200, for a staggering 5.9 trillion Pepe Coin tokens. As the memecoin's value surged to nearly $1.8m by April 19, 2023, the potential return was about 4,500 times the initial investment, drawing in numerous other investors. However, selling such a large number of Pepe Coin tokens at the current price could be challenging due to the memecoin's relatively low liquidity pool.

The official Twitter account for Pepe Coin describes the token as the “most memeable memecoin in existence,” and says the “dogs have had their day," alluding to a prior generation of memecoins, such as dogecoin (DOGE-USD) and shiba inu (SHIB-USD).

Pepe Coin's debut was held with minimal pomp and circumstance. A notable facet of the coin's subversive credentials is that its circulating supply amounts to 420m, which is a cannabis reference. The term "4/20" refers to April 20th, which is an informal holiday for marijuana enthusiasts around the world. On this day, people gather to consume cannabis, advocate for its legalisation, and celebrate its perceived benefits.

Pepe the Frog

Pepe's story begins with its creation by cartoonist Matt Furie in 2005 and its rise to popularity as a meme on fringe internet social media forums such as 4chan.

However, Pepe became controversial when it was appropriated by the alt-right during Donald Trump's presidential campaign, leading to its branding as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.

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Despite this, Pepe remains a symbol of internet culture, making it a natural fit for the memecoin community.

Pepe Coin has no official affiliation with Furie or the original cartoon character, much like other tokens founded on the Pepe the Frog concept.

What are Memecoins?

Memecoins are a distinct category of cryptocurrency which inspired by the internet phenomena known as memes, such as dogecoin's Shiba Inu dog.

They often serve as a more playful alternative to more established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTC-USD) or ethereum. While some memecoins have gained significant popularity and value, they are often considered more volatile and risky as investments due to their speculative nature and frequent association with social media-driven hype.

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