From DogeCoin to Shiba Inu and now to PepeCoinEth, the memetic power is alive and kicking in the crypto space.
Memes have massive influence. Fact. They have become an integral part of internet culture and for younger generations simply an integral part of their own culture and digital identities. These viral images, videos, or phrases spread rapidly across the web, often with humorous or satirical intentions capturing hearts at scale: memes know no borders, no age differences, gender, or origin. Everybody loves them, all over the world. Their widespread appeal and easily shareable nature have led to a new viral phenomenon on platforms like 4Chan.
Until now they were mostly confined to digital formats, copy-pasteable .jpegs or .movs without much second thought. But since the invention of blockchain, NFTs, and DeFi, they have become a lot more powerful: they have become a new kind of currency in the world of cryptocurrency, simply called ‘meme coins’. In this post, we will explore the phenomenon of some of the most wildly successful meme coins, starting with a brief history of memes to get a better understanding of the underlying force, then evaluating some of the most successful meme coins we have seen to date, and concluding with a discussion of the biggest memes of all time ‘Pepe the Frog’ and the narrative around why a new coin called PepeCoinEth has seen such a strong rise to fame and a powerful rise to half a billion market cap within a few days. Chad moves.
To meme or not to meme, that is the History of Memes
The term ‘meme’ was first introduced by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. Dawkins used the word to describe an idea or concept that could be ‘transmitted from person to person, just like genes are passed down from generation to generation’. However, the modern use of the term is associated with the internet culture, where memes have become a form of social currency.
The first internet meme is generally considered to be the “Dancing Baby” from the 1996 animated GIF. This meme gained widespread popularity on early internet forums and was widely shared via email. Since then, memes have evolved and diversified into various forms, such as image macros, reaction images, and videos.
Some of the most popular memes today include the “Success Kid,” “Grumpy Cat,” “Harlem Shake,” “Wojak”, “Doge,” “Pepe the Frog” and a number of other internet characters which describe pretty much any emotion and any state of mind one could eve experience (and most of us have gone through at one point or another in our lives).
Today, even mainstream media cannot get away without using memes every now and then to make you feel like one of them.
In recent years, with the invention of Blockchains and Cryptocurrency tokens, both erc20s and erc721s, memes have taken over the financial media as well, including most of Twitter communicating exclusively with memes – so far that even the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, often uses memes to share his thoughts or point out the obvious on his Twitter profile (a platform which he now owns).
Elon Musk on Twitter: “Also the plot of Deus Ex pic.twitter.com/MhL5zLJQfn / Twitter”
Also the plot of Deus Ex pic.twitter.com/MhL5zLJQfn
But memes go even deeper in crypto since some degens have discovered that they can 1000x the force of memes when coupled with viral marketing campaigns and with liquidity games such as liquidity mining, vesting schedules, DEX strategies, and airdrops. Shibaswap was the first memecoin-defi platform, created by the Shiba community and fully operated by Shiba Inu Tokens and its derivatives such as $BONES and $WOOF. Needless to say, liquidity quickly dried up and everything went to sh*t in the bear market.
But so what are these Meme Coins all about, and why are some so successful?
Let’s dive in!
The Japanese Dog-e-coin, created in 2013 by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, is one of the earliest and most well-known meme coins. Its inspiration came from the Shiba Inu dog meme, which was popular at the time. Dogecoin’s success can be attributed to its appeal to the online community and its celebrity endorsements, notably from, again, Elon Musk who even recently made it the official Twitter logo.
At its peak in May 2021, Dogecoin reached a market capitalization of over $90 billion. However, its value has since declined significantly, and it currently has a market cap of around $35 billion. Despite this, Dogecoin remains a popular and well-known meme coin, with a loyal following. generally, it is portrayed as the Godfather Meme Coin, the Genesis Meme Coin so to speak. Then came, the “Shiba Army”…
Shiba Inu is another meme-inspired cryptocurrency that gained popularity in 2021. It is often referred to as the “Dogecoin killer” due to its similar origin story and community-driven nature. Shiba Inu’s success can be attributed to its low initial price and the support of social media influencers, such as Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum.
At its peak in May 2021, Shiba Inu reached a market capitalization of over $13 billion. Its current market cap is around $4 billion, indicating a significant decline in value. Nevertheless, Shiba Inu remains a popular and active cryptocurrency, with a large community and active trading volume.
But behold! The Dog days are over! Frogs are back in fashion.
$PEPE Coin: The Narrative of a Pepe Coin bull run.
Pepe the Frog is one of the most well-known and controversial memes of all time. It is potentially THE most well-known meme of all time. Originally created by artist Matt Furie in 2005, Pepe became a popular internet meme in the early 2010s. However, its association with far-right and white nationalist groups led to its classification as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League in 2016.
Despite this controversy, Pepe remains a popular and recognizable meme, with a large online community. The narrative around a Pepe coin is that it would be incredibly powerful due to its broad appeal and ability to bridge various online communities. However, it is important to note that any association with hate groups would likely be detrimental to the success of a new meme coin.
But this is no longer a dream. On April 14th, 2023, a group of anon degens launched PepeCoinEth — ticker $PEPE on Ethereum. The coin was heavily marketed by a number of NFT influencers and quickly grew to a $1.5B market cap, in a meteoric rise to fame, leaving many coping with the immense gains while making early speculators filthy rich in a matter of days.
At the time of writing $PEPE just made a new ATH, up almost 1250% on the week, as per Coingecko:
Ladies and gentlemen, Memes are the new Currency. CT even contemplates if $PEPE will lead the bull run in this cycle, and from what we currently see it could very well be the case. Don’t even get me started on $Wojak, $Bonk, $GChad or $Mong. Everything is pumping double and even triple digits — and it’s beautiful to see after almost 18 months of down-trending markets.
Last but not least, speculators and meme degens should however thread carefully around these highly volatile assets. The liquidity across DEXs remains low and from what the latest on-chain data shows one whale of the top 10 holders of $PEPE is enough technically to remove 99% of liquidity and ‘rug’ the coin to 0 within one or two transactions. It wouldn’t really be in anyone’s best interest to do that, even the big holder will probably still see a 1000x if they remain patient, but everything could happen at this point quite frankly.
The current total holder count of $PEPE however is only 60k — comparatively Shiba Inu sits at 1.3M holder. And although the market cap sharply rose to $1.5B within a three weeks, it is still very far away from the $35B or doge or even the $4B of Shiba, so we could still see massive upside in multiple metrics.
All in all, we can conclude that we are still pretty early in the overall meme coin markets, with only a handful of memes making serious headlines. The seriousness and longevity of the $PEPE coin have yet to be proven, so remaining cautiously optimistic is probably the best stance to take here for the time being. Secure your moon bags, let the market do the rest.
Yes, meme coins have become a new form of cryptocurrency, focusing on community and online culture. But while some, such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, have achieved significant success, others have failed. The biggest and most popular meme of all however, Pepe the Frog, has only just found its way on the new frontier of financial infrastructure called Ethereum Mainnet, and with all the hype around memes lately both in DeFi and NFT land, we will probably still see some upside in both adoption and market cap.
Bare in mind: NFA! KEK
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Meme Coin Mania: what drives the wild 100x pumps of the next generation of meme coins?! was originally published in district0x Updates on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.