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Are Pepe Meme Tokens the Next Dogecoin and Shiba Inu?

It’s perhaps inevitable that, in a bearish market where major innovations and breakthroughs are the exception, investors will be bombarded with new meme tokens. Yes, traders have more than had their fill of Doge- and Elon Musk-related meme coins, but there’s now a new trend in town: Pepe. In the past few weeks, a variety of meme coins have appeared that use the anthropomorphic frog as their mascot, and several of these coins have enjoyed markedly above-average price rises.

In fact, the biggest of these — Pepe (PEPE) — has risen by over 25,000% since launching on April 14, with the coin being traded mostly on Uniswap. A variety of smaller variants have also entered the leaderboard of top meme tokens in the market, with McPepe’s (PEPES) witnessing a 17% gain in the past 24 hours (as of writing), as well as a 46% gain the past month. As such, a number of observers and traders have begun to wonder whether Pepe meme tokens could be the next Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

However, while there’s no denying the big short-term gains such tokens have posted, it remains highly questionable as to whether Pepe meme tokens can have the staying power demonstrated by Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. They will need to accumulate a large and loyal community of supporters, while they will also need to provide some kind of utility, yet so far they lack both, with the available evidence suggesting that they could just be classic pump and dumps.

Pepe coin

A New Trend is Born

Looking at PEPE’s website and Twitter account, it’s not clear who or what is behind the new meme token (more on this in the section below). Its website has a disclaimer at the bottom which reveals that the cryptocurrency has “no formal team or roadmap [and] the coin is completely useless and for entertainment purposes only.”

Despite this admission of being “useless,” Pepe also champions itself as “the most memeable memecoin in existence,” in that it’s based on “the most recognizable meme in the world.”

In other words, the use of Pepe is basically its one and only ‘innovation,’ with the coin’s creators hoping that the human-like frog has more “memetic power” than a cute dog (i.e. Shiba Inu). Other than that, the only other thing of note about PEPE is that it runs on Ethereum and it has a total maximum supply of approximately 420.689 trillion, with the ‘420’ being a not-so subtle nod to stoner culture.

Pepe token supply


Despite the obvious lack of substance, PEPE hasn’t failed to find holders, with Etherscan data revealing that it has now reached just over 42,000 holders, up from the very modest sum of 73 holders on April 14 and 659 on April 15.

This rise in holders has enabled PEPE’s price to rise substantially, from roughly $0.000000000319 on the day of its launch (April 14) to $0.0000000273. At one point, the coin rose as high as $0.0000004, which made for a gain of around 125,000% compared to when it launched.

Pepe chart

PEPE’s price history since launch. Source: DEXTools/TradingView

It’s a similar — if less spectacular — story for McPepe’s (PEPES), which is the second-biggest Pepe meme token in terms of market cap. It now counts around 1,000 holders, while it saw a surge of 115% in the few days following PEPE’s launch, which caused an apparent mini-mania for Pepe meme tokens.

Why Pepe Meme Tokens Aren’t the Next Dogecoin and Shiba Inu

In fact, if you run an Etherscan search for tokens with ‘Pepe’ in their names in some way, you’ll find no shortage of examples. If nothing else, this suggests that some less-than ethical people may be using the current mania to exploit unsuspecting traders and investors.

Yet it potentially gets worse than that, since a quick digging into the biggest Pepe meme token — the above-mentioned PEPE — suggests a potential rug-pull scam. For one, searching the domain (the official website of the project) reveals that the name and address (and other details) of the registrant have been redacted for privacy reasons by the Withheld for Privacy service.

Pepe Registration

Source: ICANN

This may be entirely legitimate, yet Witheld for Privacy has been used by a long line of online scams, with the address it provides — Kalkofnsvegur 2, Reykjavik, Capital Region, 101, IS — also being linked on various forums with scams.

In addition, analysis from Lookonchain has found that five addresses related to PEPE’s main wallet dumped around 7.76 trillion of the meme token onto the market for around $1.23 million, netting them a 3,200,000% profit!

Pepe Growth

Source: Twitter

As of writing, PEPE is 31% down from its all-time high of $0.0000004, which means that a fair amount of retail investors have been left holding the expensive bags of the individual(s) who created PEPE. And so far, with the wider market also suffering a little correction, it doesn’t look like PEPE is going to stop its decline anytime soon.

Likewise, McPepe’s (PEPES) is 74% down from an all-time high recorded in March, while a barrage of other Pepe meme tokens are also heavily down: PepeSol (90% down), (84% down), Pepe Girl (95% down), and Pepe the Frog (41% down).

Such losses hardly cast the new category of Pepe meme tokens in a favorable light, yet assuming that they aren’t outright pump and dumps, what do they need to do in order to rival longer lasting meme coins such as Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB)?

Well, first of all, they need to cultivate a strong online community of holders, supporters and developers, without which neither DOGE nor SHIB would have lasted so long. So far, there’s absolutely no indication that any of the Pepe coins have any of this, something which is necessary if it’s going to make it past its first big correction and see other rallies and sustained growth.

Secondly, it’s important to note that even Dogecoin and Shiba Inu are looking to give themselves more utility and stronger fundamentals. Shiba Inu is currently in the process of developing a layer-two network for itself that will make the apps in its small ecosystem more attractive, while it’s also working away at building its own metaverse. As for Dogecoin, it has lucked upon a major supporter in Elon Musk, who may actually end up bringing DOGE payments to Twitter.

Without such potential developments, it’s likely that both Shiba Inu and Dogecoin would themselves gradually fade away as the market grew bored with them. And without similar development plans for the new wave of Pepe meme tokens (and assuming they aren’t outright scams), the same is likely to happen to them.

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CryptoVantage Author Simon Chandler

About the Author

Simon Chandler

Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London. He writes about technology, markets and politics, and has bylines for Forbes, Digital Trends, CCN, Wired, TechCrunch, the Verge, the Sun, the New Internationalist, and TruthOut, among many others. His Twitter handle is @_simonchandler_

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