Coinbase has received backlash after a customer email claimed Pepe represented hate ideology. The email contained a screenshot of the “What You Should Know About PEPE” section, which stated the meme coin had been released three weeks ago with a supply of 420 trillion tokens. The email briefly explained Pepe’s origins and then claimed the character had been co-opted as a hate symbol by alt-right groups, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Pepe fans have taken to social media to express their outrage, with the hashtag #DELETECOINBASE trending.
Pepe’s popularity has soared since its release, taking the third spot by market cap at $674.7 million, behind Shiba Inu and Dogecoin. The phenomenon sparked a “meme season” that saw a plethora of new meme coins released and Ethereum transaction fees spike. Bitcoin’s BRC-20 tokens experienced a similar surge, taking transaction fees to 24-month highs. A Pepe BRC-20 clone exists, but it has a smaller market cap and supply than the original Ethereum token.
Pepe the Frog was created by cartoonist Matt Furie in 2006 for his comic book “Boy’s Club.” Over time, Pepe gained a following, making it a popular meme character. However, according to the ADL, Pepe was appropriated by people to communicate racist, antisemitic, or other bigoted themes, particularly from the alt-right white supremacy movement.
Response to Coinbase’s Stance Toward Pepe
Coinbase’s stance toward Pepe has caused pushback on social media. Some users have closed their Coinbase accounts, claiming that the exchange is manipulating markets with its baseless fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) and attack on Pepe. Others claim that the email’s author, likely a Gen Z employee, has naively dragged the company down by assuming a blip in the character’s history is still relevant today.
Pepe has sunk 15.4% in the last 24 hours to $0.00000163, following a wave of rug pulls that have reiterated the dangers of meme coin investing. While some have criticized Coinbase’s email for presenting an unbalanced account of Pepe’s history, others maintain that the character has been co-opted by hate groups and that Coinbase’s stance is justified.