‘Rare Pepe’ Steeped in Bitcoin History Fetches $500K on NFT Market OpenSea

Frog-themed digital collectible cards from the mid-2010s are getting retooled for fast sales in the white-hot NFT market.

AccessTimeIconAug 31, 2021 at 12:37 a.m. UTC
Updated Aug 31, 2021 at 1:10 p.m. UTC

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Markets team. He owns BTC above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

The newest craze in the hot market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be a vintage series built around the ubiquitous Pepe the Frog meme.

Known as “Rare Pepes,” the tokens were minted as digital collectible cards back in the mid-2010s by blockchain pioneers focused primarily on Bitcoin, and traded using a niche platform known as Counterparty.

Encouraged by the increasingly eye-popping price tags for NFTs, some Rare Pepe collectors have begun using a years-old software protocol known as Emblem Vault to reconfigure the digital cards to run on the Ethereum blockchain. Then, they’re listing these “wrapped” Rare Pepes for sale on the dominant NFT marketplace OpenSea and turning smart profits.

Over the past few days, at least one Rare Pepe has changed hands for 149.99 ether (ETH), worth about $500,000 at current prices. Another copy sold for 111.1 ETH early Monday. Such price tags fall short of the million-dollar sales netted for some CryptoPunk and Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, but industry executives speculate the Rare Pepes could eventually reap even richer proceeds due to their historical significance.

“One of the things we have been witnessing is that the all-time highs for these Rare Pepes are doubling or tripling over the past couple weeks, specifically due to them having access to the capital on OpenSea and more broadly on the Ethereum blockchain,” Emblem Vault co-founder Shannon Code told CoinDesk in an interview.

The digital collectible card that sold for $500,000 was minted as one of 300 in September 2016, according to OpenSea. It bears a green-fleshed likeness of Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, reported by Newsweek in 2014 to be the inventor of Bitcoin, though he denied it.

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Markets team. He owns BTC above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Markets team. He owns BTC above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
Morgan Creek Is Trying to Counter FTX’s BlockFi Bailout, Leaked Call Shows

FTX’s $250 million credit facility offer – if inked as initially proposed – stood to effectively wipe out all BlockFi shareholders, including Morgan Creek Digital, the firm told its investors.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
A New Chapter of Web3: Solana Unveils Smartphone ‘Saga’; Moody’s Downgrades Coinbase

The most valuable crypto stories for Friday, June 24, 2022.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
How Are Institutions and Companies Investing in Crypto?

From putting bitcoin on their balance sheets to setting up shop in the metaverse, the ways brands and institutions are investing in cryptocurrencies continues to expand.

CoinDesk - Unknown