A rare Pepe or RarePepe is a variation on the "Pepe the Frog" internet meme, itself based on a character created by Matt Furie. The related Rare Pepe crypto project, created by various artists worldwide between 2016 and 2018, was based on the aforementioned meme and traded as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) recorded on the CounterParty platform. A total of 1,774 official cards were released for the project across 36 series.[1]

On October 26, 2021, a rare Pepe, PEPENOPOULOS, sold at a Sotheby's auction for $3.6m USD.[2]

Pepe the FrogEdit

Pepe the Frog is a cartoon green anthropomorphic frog with a humanoid body. The character originated in the 2005 Matt Furie comic Boy's Club,[3] and became an Internet meme in 2008, popularised through Myspace, Gaia Online and 4chan. In the 2010s, the character's image was appropriated as a symbol of the alt-right movement, and by white supremacists.[4] The Anti-Defamation League included Pepe in its hate symbol database in 2016, but said most instances of Pepe were not used in a hate-related context.[5]


In 2015, a subset of Pepe memes began to be referred to as 'rare Pepes', with watermarks such as "RARE PEPE DO NOT SAVE", generally meaning that the artist had not previously posted the meme publicly.[3] In April 2015, a collection of rare Pepes were listed on eBay where it reached a price of $99,166 before being removed from the site.[6]

In September 2016, the very first rare Pepes were mined in block 428919 on Bitcoin, pre-dating popular Ethereum based NFTs. A Telegram chat group dedicated to discussing the Counterparty NFT was created shortly after.[7][8] By 2017, a community had grown around the digital collectables,[9] spurring developers to build platforms for the purpose of cataloging and exchanging these unique images, thereby creating the first crypto art market in 2016.[10]

On January 13, 2018 a live auction of rare Pepes took place in New York City, including one based on Homer Simpson which sold for $38,500, watched by representatives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Sotheby's Institute of Art in the audience.[11] The buyer sold it three years later for $312,000.[12]

In March 2022, a buyer who spent $537,084 on a rare Pepe filed a lawsuit claiming fraudulent misrepresentation, alleging that only one copy was to be sold whereas 46 copies were subsequently given away, devaluing his investment.[13][14]

Trading platformsEdit

Two components, created simultaneously, both support each other to enable interaction and asset exchange among both contributors and market participants:

  • "Rare Pepe Wallet" is a web-based, encrypted wallet developed to allow users to buy, sell, and store rare Pepes using a medium of exchange called PepeCash.[15] The backbone of the Rare Pepe Wallet is the Counterparty platform, which is built upon the bitcoin network.
  • "Rare Pepe Directory" was a directory built to catalog all known rare Pepes, with specific guidelines for submitting the images for inclusion. The Rare Pepe Foundation removed any offensive images that were submitted before they became visible.[16]

Crypto artists used these resources to publish their work as digital tokens with a fixed circulation[9] and then issued the art to collectors who then sold, traded, or stored their collections.

Collectors use the 'Rare Pepe Blockchain Trading' channel on the Telegram instant messaging platform to discuss with other collectors.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Rare Pepe Directory – Rare Pepes on the Bitcoin Blockchain". rarepepedirectory.com.
  2. ^ Dickens, Sean (October 27, 2021). "Debut Sotheby's 'Metaverse' auction sees record-breaking NFT sales". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  3. ^ a b Khan, Imad (April 12, 2015). "4chan's Pepe the Frog is bigger than ever—and his creator feels good, man". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  4. ^ Chan, Elizabeth (September 12, 2016). "Donald Trump, Pepe the frog, and white supremacists: an explainer". Hillary for America. Archived from the original on 17 November 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "Pepe the Frog". Anti-Defamation League. September 27, 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Pepe the Frog". Know Your Meme. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  7. ^ Looney, Joe (January 23, 2018). "Rare Pepe Wallet & The Birth of CryptoArt". Artnome (Interview). Interviewed by Jason Bailey. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
  8. ^ "What Is CryptoArt?". Artnome. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
  9. ^ a b Faife, Corin (January 27, 2017). "Meme Collectors Are Using the Blockchain to Keep Rare Pepes Rare". Vice.com.
  10. ^ Ostroff, Caitlin (May 8, 2021). "The NFT Origin Story, Starring Digital Cats". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  11. ^ Klein, Jessica (January 18, 2018). "I Went to the First Live Auction for Rare Pepes on the Blockchain". www.vice.com. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  12. ^ Kell, Peter. "Peter Kell Recounts The Story Of Buying 'Homer Pepe,' The Most Valuable Rare Pepe Ever, And How He Sold It For Over $300,000 Three Years Later". Know Your Meme (Interview). Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  13. ^ ""Rare" Pepe NFT Buyer Claims Issuers Misrepresented Terms in New Lawsuit". The Fashion Law. 2022-03-17. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  14. ^ Gault, Matthew (March 25, 2022). "Rare Pepe NFT is not rare enough, $500k lawsuit alleges". Vice. Retrieved 2022-03-25.
  15. ^ Hathaway, Jay (February 21, 2017). "The Rare Pepe economy is real, and there's serious money behind it". Daily Dot. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  16. ^ a b Roeder, Oliver (March 6, 2018). "People Are Paying Thousands Of Dollars To Own Pictures Of Pepe The Frog". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2021-11-16.

External linksEdit