Meme Coin Demand Is Stronger Than Ever With Fast Money Chasing Pepe and WIF: Analyst

CoinMarketCap registered a record 138 memecoins in April, according to one analyst.

AccessTimeIconMay 9, 2024 at 10:04 a.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2024 at 6:16 p.m. UTC
  • CoinMarketCap registered a record 138 meme coins in April, according to pseudonymous analyst Crypto Coryo.
  • Fast money has been chasing PEPE and WIF.

The meme coin season continues to march forward, undeterred by the stalled rally in bitcoin (BTC).

Data tracking website CoinMarketCap listed a record 138 meme coins this April, extending the parabolic rise from April 2023's tally of just 18, according to pseudonymous analyst Crypto Coryo. The number could be much higher, as CoinMarketCap reportedly lists only 10% of all tokens, Crypto Coryo said on X.

At press time, 2,229 meme coins were listed on CoinMarketCap, boasting a combined market capitalization of over $50 billion, nearly matching investment banking giant JPMorgan (JPM) and U.S. electric car maker Tesla's (TSLA) market value.

That's an impressive feat, as meme coins are often criticized for lacking utility or actual use case and considered a proxy for pure speculation.

"In principle, people participate in meme coins because (i) the value might go up, (ii) they feel democratic and open for anyone to participate, and (iii) they are fun," Vitalik Buterin, founder of leading smart contract blockchain Ethereum, which is also the home to several popular meme coins, said in a blog post.

Arthur Hayes, a co-founder and former CEO of crypto exchange BitMEX and chief investment officer at Maelstrom, favors a deeper understanding of meme coins as a driver of blockchain ecosystem growth.

"You can poo-poo these things as stupid and valueless, but if it brings attention and more engineers to the space, it's positive value for the chain itself," Hayes said in an interview with Real Vision on March 30.

Number of memecoins registered per month by chain on CoinMarketCap. (Crypto Coryo)
Number of memecoins registered per month by chain on CoinMarketCap. (Crypto Coryo) (Crypto Coryo)

Programmable blockchain Solana, being cheaper and faster than its rival Ethereum, has become the new home for these tokens since late last year. At one point in the first quarter, the meme frenzy led to record network activity on Solana, pushing SOL's price above $200 for the first time since November 2021.

"Due to high gas fees, degen activity has moved (partially) away from Ethereum. We've seen it with Bonk on Solana and Bald on Base. But Solana is now the home of meme coins," Crypto Coryo noted.

Fast money chasing PEPE

Bitcoin's recent dour price action has speculators chasing a popular meme token pepe (PEPE). The token has risen nearly 17% in seven days, becoming the ninth-best-performing cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap's list.

Besides, it has the second-highest perpetual futures open interest (OI) to market capitalization ratio, according to data tracked by Paris-based Kaiko. Dogifwhat (WIF), also a meme coin, has the highest OI-to-market cap ratio.

"Pepe (PEPE) and Dogwifhat (WIF) exhibit twice the ratio relative to other altcoins. A higher ratio indicates that the derivative market positioning for an asset is large compared to its market cap, making price discovery for these tokens more concentrated in perpetual futures markets," Kaiko said in the weekly newsletter.

Notional open interest refers to the dollar value locked in the number of active or open futures contracts.

Open interest-to-market cap ratio of top cryptocurrencies. (Kaiko)
Open interest-to-market cap ratio of top cryptocurrencies. (Kaiko) (Kaiko)

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.