What is Pepe Cash? A Beginner’s Guide to Memes on the Blockchain
What is Pepe Cash?
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Damn, I wish I could own my very own rare Pepe.”
Well, you probably haven’t, but someone else has. And that someone decided to use blockchain to turn Pepe into a commodity.
No joke, there’s an entire ecosystem of Pepe artwork that circulates on Bitcoin’s blockchain, and if the price is right, people are willing to pay handsomely for some of these pieces. Call it silly, call it a waste, but if CryptoKitties has taught us anything, it’s that value is truly in the eye of the beholder. For Pepe, this means that one man’s meme is another man’s masterpiece.
How Does Pepe Trading Work?
Pepe the Frog first originated back in 2005 as a member of the Boy’s Club, an online comic series by Matt Furie. Since his birth, Pepe has been co-opted by online communities like 4chan who have expanded the Pepe meta so to speak, reimagining the character with innumerable spin-offs and recreations. For the decade and some change that he’s been around, Pepe has become one of the most recognizable memes on the internet. Oh, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign branded him as a symbol of white supremacy during the 2016 election, much to Matt Furie’s dismay.
All of this to say, Pepe has had nothing shy of an interesting (and contentious) rise to stardom, so it’s easy to see why he has a fan club willing to drop some cash on certified pieces of meme-inspired artwork.
And it is art. At least, that’s what members of the self-proclaimed Pepesphere will tell you. The Pepesphere is about what you would imagine: the abstract online realm where the tokenized Pepes are traded. Within this realm–more specifically, rarepepewallet.com–users can buy and sell their rare Pepes for Pepe Cash, the Pepe economy’s native currency.
Every Pepe is stored on the Bitcoin blockchain in the form of transactions. These pieces of art are built on Counterparty, so each artwork is recorded onto Bitcoin’s ledger as its own unique asset. Moreover, each artwork comes with a capped number of issues, as artists can choose to create 1, 100, or even 99,999 copies of their creations depending on their intent. Each piece is included in a series, and each series is the culmination of fresh submissions to the Rare Pepe Directory. At the time of this writing, there are 36 series and the team is working on curating the 37th.
Since the blockchain stores a reference to each piece, the transaction hashes serve as certificates of authenticity for each artwork. As such, whenever you purchase a Pepe from another user or the directory, you receive a token for this Pepe in your rare pepe wallet to certify that you own it. Sure, you can simply go to the Rare Pepe Directory and copy the artwork for yourself without paying, but much like downloading a jpeg of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, it’s just not the same as pure, bonafide ownership.
According to the project’s website, each week, half of the directory’s proceeds are burned, and I quote, “to Kek for good luck. (This make PepeCash deflationary).”
Submitting Pepe Artwork to the Rare Pepe Directory
Maybe you’d rather contribute than consume. If that’s the case, the Pepesphere needs artwork to keep the meme economy afloat, and the Rare Pepe Directory even has a formal submission process.
Submissions tend to be on an open-closed basis, so if the team isn’t accepting new submissions when you want to drop some fresh OC, don’t worry–just be patient. If they are open, however, you’ll need 200 PEPECASH and an original creation, and you’ll have to follow these guidelines per the Rare Pepe Directory website:
1) Pepe’s must be 400 x 560. They can look like trading cards but it is not required.
2) Cards can be animated gif’s but keep them to 1. 5 MB or less in size. Use Compression.
2) Issuance must be LOCKED so your Pepe cannot be inflated.
3) Your Pepe must not be divisible. <— make sure!!
4) Make sure your artwork at least has something to do with Pepe.
5) No NSFW content, please. Trying to keep it light for now. (Pepe has a lot of bad press). If in doubt message @nola1978 on telegram before creating your asset.
6) When making your token it must have at least 100 Shares and max 100k Shares.
7) No websites.. QR codes.
8) Only 1 submission per day per artist. Want to have variety.
9) Please allow 24 to 48 hours before bothering our experts about your submission.
Be honest with yourself, did you really expect this project to have a transparent team? Well, it definitely doesn’t, but the anonymous members do keep an active Telegram.
Where to Buy Pepe Cash
Unsurprisingly, Pepe Cash doesn’t trade on any major exchanges. It’s most active market is the Japanese exchange Zaif, where you can purchase it for JPY or BTC. Alternatively, you can also purchase Pepe Cash from Tux Exchange for BTC or through Counterparty’s DEX for XCP.
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Where to Store Pepe Cash and Your Rare Pepes
The Rare Pepe Wallet (same URL as above) has all your storage needs covered, both for Pepe Cash and your Pepe artwork. Book of Orbs also features a mobile app as a storage option, as well.
Not quite a competitor but serving a similar purpose, Pepe Cash is continuing Dogecoin’s mission of bringing meme-tier assets into the cryptocurrency realm. What’s more, Pepe Cash shows us the lengths that people will go to curate and monetize niche cultures using blockchain technology.
It also shows that people are willing to use this technology to authenticate and buy/sell pieces of digital art. Yes, rare Pepe’s may not be on the same artistic caliber as an original Monet or- Miro, but with some 1,500+ rare Pepes registered in the Rare Pepe Directory, suffice to say, there’s an active subculture that sees more than enough value to create, curate, and circulate these artifacts of cultural iconography.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colin is a freelance writer and crypto-enthusiast based in Nashville, TN. When he’s not speculating crypto futures, he’s probably letting his hair down and/or heading to a music festival–because stereotypes exist for a reason.