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.
- It looked just like Homer Simpson, if Homer Simpson were a depressed green frog.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
” 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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
- 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.”
- Strangely enough, there really is something satisfying and about seeing the ranks of your wallet slowly fill up with the cards.
- PepeCash can be bought on the Counterparty DEX (decentralized exchange) or on exchanges like Zaif in Japan and TuxExchange in Canada.
- A fully working rare pepe wallet to view the Pepes you own (best for browser).
- 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.”
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.
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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.”
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 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.
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.