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Launched in mid-April 2023, PEPE is an example of a memecoin, though one of a different variety than the oft-popular doge or Shiba Inu tokens. Memecoins—cryptocurrencies based on internet memes and usually popularized and promoted by influencers or major figures in the space like Elon Musk—have drawn both investor attention and eyerolls over a perceived lack of seriousness. But the potential for investors to score big with memecoins is real, nonetheless. Below, we look more closely at PEPE. Note that there are multiple memecoins with similar names; we are focused specifically on $PEPE here.
PEPE’s official Twitter account describes the token as the “most memeable memecoin in existence,” adding that the “dogs have had their day,” a reference to an earlier generation of memecoins including the once-popular Dogecoin.
— Pepe (@pepecoineth) April 20, 2023
PEPE launched on April 17 with little fanfare. It is based on the Pepe the Frog meme, originally created by Matt Furie in 2005 and has previously been associated with the alt-right political movement, among other trends. Like several other tokens based on Pepe the Frog, PEPE does not have an official connection with Furie or the original cartoon character.
Other aspects of PEPE point to its position as a memecoin, including the fact that the circulating supply of PEPE tokens is 420 million, a reference to cannabis culture’s “4/20.”
Surge in Interest
The process of calling an Ethereum smart contract and launching a token is inexpensive and easy, though generating liquidity can be a more difficult challenge. In the first few days of its existence, PEPE quickly rose to prominence because of a high-profile purchase that captivated the cryptocurrency community on Twitter.
A memecoin investor swapped 0.125 ETH, worth about $250, for a whopping 5.9 trillion PEPE tokens. As interest in the memecoin grew, the value of those tokens surged to about $1.8 million by April 19, 2023, yielding a potential return of roughly 4,500 times the initial investment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the prospect of a quick payday drew in tens of thousands of other investors hoping to stock up on PEPE tokens before the price reached an upper limit.
However, it’s important to note that the investor who bought those 5.9 trillion tokens may have a difficult time selling them at the current price, given PEPE’s relatively low liquidity pool.
Future of PEPE
So early after its launch, the future of PEPE remains unclear. Some experts, including crypto fund DFG founder James Wo, say that “[memecoins] are huge parts of the crypto trading landscape, whether we like it or not,” and that it is likely that memecoins like PEPE will continue to pop up. But PEPE itself may succumb to the fate of many flash-in-the-pan memecoins that have preceded it—including Grimacecoin, Pump Coin, and many others—only to fade from public view in a short time. In that case, the question for investors including the person holding close to 6 trillion PEPE will be whether they can squeeze a payday out of the token before the cryptocurrency community’s attention is drawn elsewhere.