Meme Collectors Are Using the Blockchain to Keep Rare Pepes Rare
And I don’t see any reason why as long as Bitcoin and cryptocurrency keeps going the way it’s going, gets more adoption — I think that would just kind of be the new segment of the art world. And here’s these other rich people that all got rich in this type of thing and they buy this kind of art. I think those guys in that article are probably the ones spending $40,000 for a Rare Pepe. And then we have gotten some where it’s like somebody literally took five seconds, went into Microsoft Paint, and drew a Pepe.
But because Rare Pepes live on Counterparty — a Bitcoin-based platform outside of the widely used Ethereum blockchain — Looney believes Rare Pepes haven’t received the recognition they deserve. So what does mechanical engineer Joe Looney have to do with the most popular frog meme on the internet? A fully working rare pepe wallet to view the Pepes you own (best for browser). Despite the items for sale being totally digital, the auction itself was remarkably human.
It seems like maybe in half an hour to an hour of the auction, and I heard it cleared about $100,000 in Pepe total, I think.
And despite its frivolous nature, Trevor Altpeter, Director of the Counterparty Foundation, says that rare Pepe trading is a welcome test of the capabilities of the protocol. NFTs have exploded over the last year, achieving exponential growth alongside the booming crypto market. But Looney, an early Bitcoin adopter and avid member of the greater crypto community, has a rightful claim to fame as one of the earliest NFT pioneers. Considering the online virality and the legacy of Pepe the Frog in crypto, it was fitting that in October 2021 Matt Furie worked with NFT marketplace chainsaw.fun to introduce the FEELSGOODMAN Rare Pepe card.
The Rare Pepe auction (which, it should be noted, also included the sale of one CryptoKitty, a similar collectible on the Ethereum blockchain) capped off a day of panels and creator talks at the Rare Digital Art Festival. Tommy Nicholas, Kevin Trinh, and John Zettler from Rare Art Labs organized the day-long event meant for blockchain-based art creators and admirers. The Rare Pepe Wallet, created by developer Joe Looney, is an encrypted digital storehouse that traders and collectors on Counterparty can use to buy, sell, gift, and destroy their Rare Pepes. Recently, auction-house giant Sotheby’s started teasing the possibility of a Rare Pepe auction, leading to a single Nakamoto Card Rare Pepe being sold for over $500,000.
While live auctions in the traditional art world follow rigid rules and demand demure behavior from bidders, the first ever live auction for rare blockchain art got rowdier as the bidding went on. ” a man wearing a beanie yelled when images of moving Pepe art appeared on screen by the auctioneer’s podium. The wallet also allows traders and collectors to use PepeCash as a medium of exchange. According to the Rare Pepe directory, PepeCash was created as the currency of the Pepesphere and is similar to other cards in the overarching collection, only with a much larger supply of approximately 700 million in circulation. PepeCash can be bought on the Counterparty DEX (decentralized exchange) or on exchanges like Zaif in Japan and TuxExchange in Canada.
Rare Pepe Directory
Pepe the Frog and its derivatives, Rare Pepes, transitioned into non-fungible tokens with an appearance on the marketplace Counterparty. Founded in 2014 by Robert Dermody, Adam Krellenstein, and Evan Wagner, Counterparty was built on the openly distributed Bitcoin network and allowed users to create tokenized assets. I have the biggest collection of anyone I know, which are all basically ubtconline worthless now because of overprinting and counterfeiting. These cards are providing a real proof of concept for establishing a trackable asset attached to a «collectible item». You can’t counterfeit assets on the chain, either you own it or you don’t. The newfound uniqueness of the certified rares has led to a subculture of Rare Pepe traders which has coalesced around a Telegram group.
- Despite the items for sale being totally digital, the auction itself was remarkably human.
- They are essentially saying “you have to have this token that goes with this art piece” because they’re trying to take that physical art and make it digital; whereas Pepe kind of switched that whole thing on its head.
- It’s a surprisingly functional ecosystem, with the lulzy in-jokes underpinned by sophisticated back end technology.
Established in 2016, Rare Pepe Wallet is one of the earliest blockchain tools that made it possible to buy, sell and trade digital artworks. Although these tradeable artworks live a very different life today as NFTs, a clear line can be drawn between contemporary non-fungibles and Rare Pepe, a meme that lived within the crypto community for years. To be included in the directory, Rare Pepes are created using Counterparty, a platform which lets users issue digital tokens with a fixed circulation—like a mini currency—and release them in such a way that they can be exchanged between users over the bitcoin network. Stuffy Sotheby’s staffers weren’t the only ones shaking their heads during the auction. Even as a self-described member of the “crypto-nerds” contingent at the event, Matt Hall—who co-founded CryptoPunks, another digital art creation to avail blockchain technology to ensure uniqueness and track ownership—recognized the rare Pepe enthusiasts as a group unto itself. To him, the project is “a bit confusing,” albeit intriguing, and full of in-jokes he doesn’t understand.
I Went to the First Live Auction for Rare Pepes on the Blockchain
So the whole idea was the way you could get new people into Pepe is you literally just give them this gift card, they go to the website, type in a code, and it sends them to Pepe, and they have it. So it was kind of a way to spread the word of Rare Pepe and give this gift card and the person that gets it. Literally all they need to be able to do is go to a website and type in the code on the card, like you would do with any gift card. Centered around Pepe the Frog, a character created by Matt Furie in 2005, Rare Pepes are a scarce digital asset born from the community that surrounded a peer-to-peer financial platform called Counterparty. Looney tells nft now that the first Rare Pepe, a trading card rendition of Satoshi Nakamoto (the creator of Bitcoin), came about randomly. On Saturday, January 13, hundreds of blockchain, digital art, and meme enthusiasts packed into a small event space on Manhattan’s West 23rd Street, some to place bids for images of a green frog—memes known as “Rare Pepes”—that live on the blockchain.
It’s a list of Rare Pepe images—most in the form of trading cards—that are represented as digital assets on the bitcoin blockchain, making use of the same cryptographic properties that mean you can’t spend the same coin twice. And tied to the directory is the Rare Pepe Wallet, an online storehouse that collectors can use to keep, trade and sell the Pepe cards. Another thing that I demonstrated during my demo was the OpenDime Pepes, which was the physical Pepe. I thought it was a pretty funny example because it’s, like, here I’m taking this digital thing and making it physical. A lot of people have tried pairing the blockchain with provenance for a piece of art.
They are essentially saying “you have to have this token that goes with this art piece” because they’re trying to take that physical art and make it digital; whereas Pepe kind of switched that whole thing on its head. Another feature that I have that you probably don’t know about is you can create Rare Pepe gift cards. It’s a feature that isn’t really used a lot now since the Bitcoin transaction fees have skyrocketed in the last couple of months. But when the fee was a dollar or two, what you could do is you could create these gift cards and they actually look like gift cards — it’s kind of a Pepe in the middle and a nice border. I made a happy holidays one and handed it out before Christmas, 2016. When you create a gift card, you send the Pepe to another address that you just create at that moment and the private key is encoded as the gift card’s secret code.
In 2020 an American documentary film about the meme called «Feels Good Man» premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker as well as a research award at the News & Documentary Emmys. Once Pepe became an NFT, Pepe crypto applications and content took off. In an op-ed in Time in October 2016, Furie wrote, «I understand that it’s out of my control, but in the end, Pepe is whatever you say he is, and I, the creator, say that Pepe is love.»