Iggy Azalea's MOTHER Meme Coin Turned $3K Into $9M for 1 Lucky Crypto Trader

The raunchy rapper's token has spawned fortunes and furor over celebrity cryptocurrencies.

AccessTimeIconJun 6, 2024 at 5:47 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 7, 2024 at 6:16 p.m. UTC

Rapper Iggy Azalea's MOTHER token hit another all-time high on Thursday, extending the gains for Solana's latest hot meme coin and inviting criticism of the highly risky, sometimes infamous subsector of celebrity cryptocurrencies.

Just over a week after launch, the MOTHER token has reached a market cap of $200 million, minting millionaires among some iron-handed gamblers who saw 90% price gains in the last 24 hours alone. Azalea has transformed her powerful X (formerly Twitter) account into a platform for promoting the token to her 8 million followers.

Those eye-watering totals vaulted MOTHER into the upper echelons of Solana's fast-growing meme coin sector. These days anyone can, in minutes, create a token lampooning anything. Here, the someone is Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, and the something is, well, a photo of her backside.

MOTHER is the second-largest asset by market capitalization to emerge from meme coin factory Pump.Fun, the outpost partially responsible for flooding Solana with half a million new tokens in May alone, per The Block. Gamblers who bought MOTHER on Pump.Fun and held are sitting on a massive windfall. The top wallet had around $3,200 of the token on May 28; on Thursday morning its position was worth nearly $9 million.

Like many meme coins, MOTHER claims no value proposition whatsoever. Holders don't get payouts from album sales, as some royalty-infused NFTs do. They also lack the voting rights that some fan tokens issued by football teams carry. MOTHER's value is purely a function of demand for a coin that some speculators are betting might climb higher still.

Vitalik not impressed

All that froth has renewed scrutiny of so-called celebrity tokens.

On Wednesday, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin blasted celebrity tokens that tout "financialization as a means to an end" and lack some greater purpose. Hours later, Azalea subtweeted him with a photoshopped image depicting herself breastfeeding an infant Buterin. "He was just hangry," she wrote, using slang for hunger-induced crankiness.

That cheeky aside brought more criticism from crypto's philosophical corner. Hayden Adams, creator of the decentralized trading protocol Uniswap who pioneered the token-swapping tech behind on-chain trading of meme coins and basically everything else, chastised Azalea for lampooning "the best builder in the entire space" while failing to harness her crypto foray for some higher purpose.

What began as a million-dollar joke has since spiraled into a debate about the point of crypto itself.

Early on Thursday, market-making kingpin Wintermute's Evgeny Gaevoy belittled Adams' and Buterin's efforts to "solve capitalism." "Idk guys I’m with Iggy on this one🙃," he posted on X.

Risk factors

Still, MOTHER has a long way to go before graduating into the meme coin big leagues. Blockgraze, a pseudonymous crypto trader who turned $1,500 into millions of dollars by betting early on Dogwifhat (WIF), said celebrity coins such as MOTHER face more "failure vectors" than regular joke tokens.

"In addition to all the ways a regular meme coin can fail you have all the added mistakes and risks from tying yourself to her personally. She can get bored, tweet the wrong thing, face personal legal action/whatever else," Blockgraze said.

Azalea's ascension as chief bull poster is helping prop up MOTHER's price in ways few other celebrity tokens have been able to attain. Her X posts circulate raunchy memes every hour dunking on the haters and fueling more attention – and hype – for MOTHER. She's also changed her profile photo to a Mad Lads NFT, the most valuable collectible on Solana.

"The Iggy coin itself is only really interesting because she seems to be trying to stick with it and so far the price reflects people appreciating that," Blockgraze said.

(Celebrity) skin in the game?

Celebrities have a mostly infamous history with promoting cryptos. There's Larry David's flashy FTX super bowl ad, which spawned lawsuits from customers of the failed, fraudulent exchange. Ex-boxer Floyd Mayweather landed himself in hot water twice over scammy promotions. And Kim Kardashian faced SEC penalties for boosting a token.

MOTHER differs from those in many respects, not least its closeness to the source. While it's unclear if Azalea herself created the token on Pump.Fun, it's technically plausible that she did. Regardless, she's been promoting the asset since its earliest moments.

The token's so-called "dev wallet" (Pump.Fun labels token creator wallets as "devs" despite needing no technical skill to make a token) held nearly $5 million of MOTHER Thursday.

Azalea wasn't immediately available for an interview Thursday. In a post on X in late May she outlined some of her reasoning:

Edited by Marc Hochstein and Nick Baker.

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Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.


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