The world of cryptocurrency trading is no stranger to bizarre trends and memes. The latest craze among the most daring of Crypto Twitter traders is Pepe the Frog. Tokens branded after the internet meme have gained popularity, with the launch of a pepe token (PEPE) on Sunday. In just three days, the token has seen a massive surge of over 21,000%, raking in $30 million in trading volumes on Uniswap. As of Tuesday morning, it reached a market capitalization of as high as $33 million. The Pepe website describes it as “the most memeable memecoin in existence,” and it seems that traders are taking notice.
Data from blockchain tracker Etherscan shows that Pepe hit 10,000 individual holders on Tuesday. This means that the token was quickly purchased by swathes of investors participating in the ongoing frenzy, all pinning their hopes on turning a profit. The tokens have a circulating supply of 420 trillion, a reference to ‘4/20,’ another popular cannabis culture slang. The trading action is rather serious for a token intended to be a complete joke. A trading pool on Uniswap for Pepe tokens locks up over $1.3 million in liquidity, all supplied by providers.
It’s important to note that the Pepe tokens have no connection to the actual Pepe the Frog meme or Matt Furie, the meme’s original creator. Furie’s Pepe, a green frog with a humanoid body, originated in the 2005 comic Boy’s Club. It went viral in the years following, becoming a popular part of internet culture. However, the Pepe tokens are simply a product of the current trend of memecoins in the crypto trading landscape.
Crypto Twitter has a history of jumping on memecoins, especially after the rise of tokens such as dogecoin (DOGE) and shiba inu (SHIB), which jumped to tens of billions in market capitalization in the previous bull market. However, most of these memecoins do not last beyond a few weeks. Last year saw hopefuls bet on articles from the English language to McDonald’s branded Grimacecoins. Anyone can call a smart contract and issue tokens on Ethereum (or other blockchains) for a few cents, and the presence of decentralized exchanges means tokens can instantly be issued, supplied with liquidity and traded soon after.
Despite the seemingly frivolous nature of memecoins, some professional investors have previously told CoinDesk that meme coins and their narratives will always remain a part of the crypto ecosystem. James Wo, founder at crypto fund DFG, told CoinDesk at the heights of one such meme obsession that “meme coins are huge parts of the crypto trading landscape, whether we like it or not.” He went on to explain that while the biggest currencies like bitcoin and ether have very low volatility, it’s only natural that traders will look for opportunities elsewhere. “Meme trading is a risky way to try to seek excessive return, but when it pans out, the upside can be very huge. So even in a bear market, some of the meme coins will have large up-swing, even if it’s just short term,” Wo said.
In conclusion, the Pepe tokens are just the latest in a long line of memecoins that have taken the crypto trading world by storm. While the trend may seem frivolous and even absurd, it’s clear that there is money to be made for those willing to take the risk. As long as there are traders looking for opportunities beyond the traditional currencies, there will always be a market for memecoins and their narratives.