A rare Pepe or RarePepe is a type of crypto art created by various artists world wide between 2016 and 2018, based on Pepe the Frog and traded as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) recorded on the CounterParty platform.
On October 26, 2021, a rare Pepe, PEPENOPOULOS sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $3.6m USD.
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, 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. By 2017, a community had grown around the digital collectables, spurring developers to build platforms for the purpose of cataloging and exchanging these unique images, thereby creating the first crypto art market in 2016. Two components of this market, created simultaneously, both support each other to enable interaction and asset exchange among both contributors and market participants. 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.
“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. 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.
“Rare_Pepe” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, n.d.