The Rare Pepe auction (which, it should be noted, also included the sale of one CryptoKitty, a similar collectible on the Ethereum blockchain) capped off a day of panels and creator talks at the Rare Digital Art Festival. Tommy Nicholas, Kevin Trinh, and John Zettler from Rare Art Labs organized the day-long event meant for blockchain-based art creators and admirers. The Rare Pepe Wallet, created by developer Joe Looney, is an encrypted digital storehouse that traders and collectors on Counterparty can use to buy, sell, gift, and destroy their Rare Pepes. Recently, auction-house giant Sotheby’s started teasing the possibility of a Rare Pepe auction, leading to a single Nakamoto Card Rare Pepe being sold for over $500,000.
It’s a list of Rare Pepe images—most in the form of trading cards—that are represented as digital assets on the bitcoin blockchain, making use of the same cryptographic properties that mean you can’t spend the same coin twice. And tied to the directory is the Rare Pepe Wallet, an online storehouse that collectors can use to keep, trade and sell the Pepe cards. Another thing that I demonstrated during my demo was the OpenDime Pepes, which was the physical Pepe. I thought it was a pretty funny example because it’s, like, here I’m taking this digital thing and making it physical. A lot of people have tried pairing the blockchain with provenance for a piece of art.
Rare Pepe Wallet & The Birth of CryptoArt
It seems like maybe in half an hour to an hour of the auction, and I heard it cleared about $100,000 in Pepe total, I think.
Though one audience member yelled out bids on the behalf of remote buyers, “All of the big bidders were there in person,” Tommy Nicholas, one of the festival’s organizers, told me. Next time, though, the team wants the auction to be bigger and to include more remote participants. Moreover, Nicholas said, the team is looking to partner with an established art house in the coming months to do a dedicated Rare Pepe auction event. Parker, it’s worth noting, will soon launch his own blockchain-based network for memes, called Archetype. The live auction kicked off with a set of three Rare Pepes, one of which looked like Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory but with melting Pepes instead of clocks. The set sold for 12,000 units of Pepe Cash—an extremely liquid Rare Pepe of which there are 700 million units that serves as the de facto currency of the Rare Pepe world—which works out to just over $720 USD at the time of writing.
In 2020 an American documentary film about the meme called “Feels Good Man” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker as well as a research award at the News & Documentary Emmys. Once Pepe became an NFT, Pepe crypto applications and content took off. In an op-ed in Time in October 2016, Furie wrote, “I understand that it’s out of my control, but in the end, Pepe is whatever you say he is, and I, the creator, say that Pepe is love.”
What are the advantages of collecting digital blockchain art vs traditional physical art?
While live auctions in the traditional art world follow rigid rules and demand demure behavior from bidders, the first ever live auction for rare blockchain art got rowdier as the bidding went on. ” a man wearing a beanie yelled when images of moving Pepe art appeared on screen by the auctioneer’s podium. The wallet also allows traders and collectors to use PepeCash as a medium of exchange. According to the Rare Pepe directory, PepeCash was created as the currency of the Pepesphere and is similar to other cards in the overarching collection, only with a much larger supply of approximately 700 million in circulation. PepeCash can be bought on the Counterparty DEX (decentralized exchange) or on exchanges like Zaif in Japan and TuxExchange in Canada.
I don’t know how technical you want me to get, but essentially, you couldn’t share that link because it’s kind of tied to your computer. 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. “The Rare Pepe phenomenon is demonstrating the features of Counterparty, most importantly the ability to enforce digital scarcity for the first time,” Altpeter said via chat. “Its value as a test case is evident in the rising number of Counterparty transactions related to it, and the people building around these cards all over the world.”
Pepe the Frog and its derivatives, Rare Pepes, transitioned into non-fungible tokens with an appearance on the marketplace Counterparty. Founded in 2014 by Robert Dermody, Adam Krellenstein, and Evan Wagner, Counterparty was built on the openly distributed Bitcoin network and allowed users to create tokenized assets. I have the biggest collection of anyone I know, which are all basically worthless now because of overprinting and counterfeiting. These cards are providing a real proof of concept for establishing a trackable asset attached to a “collectible item”. You can’t counterfeit assets on the chain, either you own it or you don’t. The newfound uniqueness of the certified rares has led to a subculture of Rare Pepe traders which has coalesced around a Telegram group.
- ” one audience member goaded, encouraging others to up their bids.
- Literally all they need to be able to do is go to a website and type in the code on the card, like you would do with any gift card.
- The set sold for 12,000 units of Pepe Cash—an extremely liquid Rare Pepe of which there are 700 million units that serves as the de facto currency of the Rare Pepe world—which works out to just over $720 USD at the time of writing.
- The Rare Pepe auction (which, it should be noted, also included the sale of one CryptoKitty, a similar collectible on the Ethereum blockchain) capped off a day of panels and creator talks at the Rare Digital Art Festival.
So the whole idea was the way you could get new people into Pepe is you literally just give them this gift card, they go to the website, type in a code, and it sends them to Pepe, and they have it. So it was kind of a way to spread the word of Rare Pepe and give this gift card and the person that gets it. Literally all they need to be able to do is go to a website and type in the code on the card, like you would do with any gift card. Centered around Pepe the Frog, a character created by Matt Furie in 2005, Rare Pepes are a scarce digital asset born from the community that surrounded a peer-to-peer financial platform called Counterparty. Looney tells nft now that the first Rare Pepe, a trading card rendition of Satoshi Nakamoto (the creator of Bitcoin), came about randomly. On Saturday, January 13, hundreds of blockchain, digital art, and meme enthusiasts packed into a small event space on Manhattan’s West 23rd Street, some to place bids for images of a green frog—memes known as “Rare Pepes”—that live on the blockchain.
They are essentially saying “you have to have this token that goes with this art piece” because they’re trying to take that physical art and make it digital; whereas Pepe kind of switched that whole thing on its head. Another feature that I have that you probably don’t know about is you can create Rare Pepe gift cards. It’s a feature that isn’t really used a lot now since the Bitcoin transaction fees have skyrocketed in the last couple of months. But when the fee was a dollar or two, what you could do is you could create these gift cards and they actually look like gift cards — it’s kind of a Pepe in the middle and a nice border. I made a happy holidays one and handed it out before Christmas, 2016. When you create a gift card, you send the Pepe to another address that you just create at that moment and the private key is encoded as the gift card’s secret code.
And I don’t see any reason why as long as Bitcoin and cryptocurrency keeps going the way it’s going, gets more adoption — I think that would just kind of be the new segment of the art world. And here’s these other rich people that all got rich in this type who is maecenas of thing and they buy this kind of art. I think those guys in that article are probably the ones spending $40,000 for a Rare Pepe. And then we have gotten some where it’s like somebody literally took five seconds, went into Microsoft Paint, and drew a Pepe.