Though the cards may be trivial in nature, genuine scarcity plus a desire to collect translates into real world value. Built into the wallet is a mechanism for placing buy/sell orders, fulfilled through XCP or Pepecash (the “currency of the Pepesphere”), both cryptocurrencies campus coin price which can be traded on exchanges for bitcoins or dollars. With 2017 projects such as CryptoPunks, Crypto Kitties, and more continuing to gain popularity, discontinued legacy projects have become a widely sought-after asset within the NFT ecosystem.
Though one audience member yelled out bids on the behalf of remote buyers, “All of the big bidders were there in person,” Tommy Nicholas, one of the festival’s organizers, told me. Next time, though, the team wants the auction to be bigger and to include more remote participants. Moreover, Nicholas said, the team is looking to partner with an established art house in the coming months to do a dedicated Rare Pepe auction event. Parker, it’s worth noting, will soon launch his own blockchain-based network for memes, called Archetype. The live auction kicked off with a set of three Rare Pepes, one of which looked like Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory but with melting Pepes instead of clocks. The set sold for 12,000 units of Pepe Cash—an extremely liquid Rare Pepe of which there are 700 million units that serves as the de facto currency of the Rare Pepe world—which works out to just over $720 USD at the time of writing.
Variations of Rare Pepes arose during this time that included links to the alt-right movement with themes like Nazi Germany, Ku Klux Klan, and white power. Despite the relatively innocuous nature of Pepe itself, such associations between the meme and politics solidified even further after Trump won the election. Notable instances included a parody movie poster of “The Expendables” posted on Instagram by Donald Trump Jr. In the image, Pepe stands with Trump, Trump Jr., and other men as a response to Hilary Clinton’s comments that Trump’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables.” It’s a surprisingly functional ecosystem, with the lulzy in-jokes underpinned by sophisticated back end technology.
” one audience member goaded, encouraging others to up their bids. Ultimately, the Pepe sold for 350,000 units of Pepe Cash, which currently amounts to $21,000 USD (a sum that, it’s worth mentioning, was worth $38,500 at the time of the auction). Book of Orbs wallet is an app for your phone and supports spells of genesis and RarePepe cards. When speaking to art industry professionals after the auction, Parker saw them beginning to reckon with the merging of art, the blockchain, and, yes, even memes.“Are memes art? Along with the many obscure and bizarre renditions of Pepe smoking joints or eating animated flying pizzas, designs included the occasional crypto culture satire as seen by a froggy version of the infamous twins from Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of “The Shining,” called Winkelpepe.
Wallets, cash, cards and documentaries
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 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.
I don’t know how technical you want me to get, but essentially, you couldn’t share that link because it’s kind of tied to your computer. Crypto artists used these resources to publish their work as digital tokens with a fixed circulation and then issued the art to collectors who then sold, traded, or stored their collections. “The Rare Pepe phenomenon is demonstrating the features of Counterparty, most importantly the ability to enforce digital scarcity for the first time,” Altpeter said via chat. “Its value as a test case is evident in the rising number of Counterparty transactions related to it, and the people building around these cards all over the world.”
Rare Pepe Tutorials: Part 1 – Setting Up Rarepepe Wallet
We do some curation there, but I have to say that if you go through and start from series one and go all the way to series 30, you’ll see the quality — we definitely attracted real artists, and the quality of Pepes has gotten really good. There’s some really, really good ones that people definitely spent a lot of time and are very talented artists. Strangely enough, there really is something satisfying and about seeing the ranks of your wallet slowly fill up with the cards. In an afternoon hanging out on the channel I accumulated 15 different cards, the rarest of which was PWA—Pepes With Attitude—with a circulation of 187 (geddit?). But this is nothing compared to the rarest Pepe of all, ONLYONEPEPE, of which understandably there is only one, or close second WINKELPEPE (named after the Winklevii) with a circulation of two.
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.
Is Pepe the Frog an Alt-Right Hate Symbol?
I joined it to chat to some of the traders, who were pretty quick to oblige by sending me my first Pepes and talking about the project with me. Speakers at the event included members of the New York City-based art world and blockchain enthusiasts alike. During the Rare Pepe auction, staff from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Sotheby’s Institute of Art sat silently. Later, the “most expensive rare Pepe in existence,” according to the auctioneer, sold after an enthusiastic but good-natured bidding war. It looked just like Homer Simpson, if Homer Simpson were a depressed green frog.
- I don’t know how technical you want me to get, but essentially, you couldn’t share that link because it’s kind of tied to your computer.
- 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.
- I have the biggest collection of anyone I know, which are all basically worthless now because of overprinting and counterfeiting.
- The live auction kicked off with a set of three Rare Pepes, one of which looked like Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory but with melting Pepes instead of clocks.
As things can change drastically day-to-day within the non-fungible ecosystem, a Sotheby’s auction could provide some interesting insight into how this legacy meme project might continue to evolve alongside the NFT market. If attending the first ever live Rare Pepe auction taught me anything, it’s that if people are willing to spend digital assets worth nearly $40,000 on these things, then the traditional art world is going to have to ask itself Parker’s tough questions whether it wants to or not. By 2015, variations of the cartoon amphibian, called Rare Pepes, started to emerge with watermarks like “RARE PEPE DO NOT SAVE” to indicate that the artists behind each design had not yet published the meme for public use. That year, a collection of 1,200 rare Pepe images was listed on eBay, reportedly reaching a price of $99,166 before being removed from the site. But this idea that you can have this token and you can prove that you own it, and so you can actually prove digitally that you own it, and through an API. So the first thing that comes to mind is extra-bonus content, an extra area you can get into — kind of like a VIP pass that lets you in somewhere.
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.
- 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.
- Although there are existing resources for first-time Rare Pepe collectors like Rare Pepe Directory, (a catalog of all known Rare Pepes), several enthusiasts in the Pepe community like Matt Garcia have taken to Twitter to help with a cursory buying guide.
- While Kell has since said that he was well aware many considered it an outlandish purchase at the time, the emergence and popularity of early collections like CryptoPunks several years later helped Kell to sell his Homer Pepe in March 2021 for $312,000.
- I joined it to chat to some of the traders, who were pretty quick to oblige by sending me my first Pepes and talking about the project with me.
But some buyers didn’t need any help, like Peter Kell, who bought a prized one-of-one Homer Pepe in 2018 for $39,000 at the first digital art auction of its kind in NYC, RareAF. While Kell has since said that he was well aware many considered it an outlandish purchase at the time, the emergence and popularity of early collections like CryptoPunks several years later helped Kell to sell his Homer Pepe in March 2021 for $312,000. Amongst this flurry of activity, which included a growing Rare Pepe telegram chat group, Jason Rosenstein—founder of auction house portion.io—hosted the first live Rare Pepe auction at the inaugural Rare Digital Art Festival, selling a diptych of Salvador Dalí-inspired Pepes.
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.