HomeCryptoUnderstanding Rare Pepe NFTs: A Quick Overview

Understanding Rare Pepe NFTs: A Quick Overview


The infamous green amphibian meme, Pepe the Frog, has undoubtedly captured the attention of internet users worldwide since its inception in 2005. This simple yet captivating character has undergone a remarkable transformation, establishing itself as a symbol of meme culture. In 2016, Pepe secured a place in the digital art realm with its debut in the Rare Pepe NFT project on Counterparty and cementing its place in the world of NFTs with NFT giants like bitcoin art.

Dive into this article to uncover the journey of an internet meme-turned-sought-after NFT collection.

Rare Pepe: Tracing the Journey of a Provocative Internet Meme

Pepe the Frog appeared in the “Boy’s Club” comic strip by Matt Furie in 2005. Over the next few years, Pepe evolved from a comic character to a standalone meme sensation, propelled by the proliferation of social media platforms like MySpace and 4Chan.

2015 saw the advent of Rare Pepe variations, characterized by watermarks such as ‘RARE PEPE DO NOT SAVE,’ signaling the creators’ desire to protect their work from unauthorized use and plagiarism. A collection of 1,200 Rare Pepe images even made a brief appearance on eBay during this time, with bids reaching an astounding $99,000.

The following year, however, saw Pepe’s image take a dark turn as it became associated with far-right ideologies, further amplified by Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency. A pivotal moment occurred when Donald Trump Jr. posted an image featuring Pepe on Instagram in a parody movie poster, a reaction to Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ comment. Clinton’s website subsequently labeled the cartoon as a white supremacy symbol.

Disturbed by the political associations, Furie sought to reclaim Pepe’s image. In a 2016 Esquire interview, he expressed his helplessness, saying, “It sucks, but I can’t control it more than anyone can control frogs on the Internet.” He later launched the #SavePepe campaign in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League, aiming to rebrand Pepe as a meme free for all to use.

Decoding Rare Pepe NFTs

The Rare Pepe NFT collection encompasses 36 series, featuring 50 unique Pepe images per series, each with varying rarity levels and supply. The first Rare Pepes were officially launched in September 2016 on the Bitcoin blockchain through Counterparty, a platform allowing the creation and execution of smart contracts on top of the Bitcoin network.

A group of enthusiasts, self-titled ‘Pepe Scientists,’ spearheaded the creation of Rare Pepe NFTs in an open-source collaborative effort inspired by Matt Furie’s Pepe character. Artists were invited to contribute their unique Rare Pepe designs for consideration and inclusion in the series drops between 2016 and 2018 through the Pepe Directory, overseen by the Pepe Scientists.

In September 2020, an innovation was introduced, allowing Rare Pepe holders to wrap their early collectibles from 2016 within Ethereum ERC-721 tokens using the Ethereum Emblem Vault, facilitating the trading and transfer of Rare Pepe NFTs through Ethereum-compatible wallets and marketplaces.

Notable contributors to the project include @MyRarePepe, creator of the Nakamoto Card, Mr. Hansel, designer of 31 Rare Pepe NFTs, and Rare Scrilla, with 40 successful submissions, including the PEPE GOAT inspired by Jay-Z.

The Market Impact and Value of Rare Pepes

In January 2018, the Rare Pepe collection made history with a digital auction in New York City, where a Series 2 collectible fetched $39,000 at the world’s first digital art auction. While skeptics questioned the purchaser, Peter Kell’s, decision, he sold the piece in 2021 for a remarkable $312,000, underscoring the collection’s enduring value.

The 2021 NFT boom saw a surge in Rare Pepe sales, with collectors leveraging the Ethereum Emblem Vault to list their ‘wrapped NFTs’ on platforms like OpenSea. Notably, a Rare Pepe featuring Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s enigmatic founder, sold for a whopping 150 ETH, equivalent to around $500,000 at the time.

Why Do Collectors Covet Rare Pepe NFTs?

Rare Pepe NFTs have carved out a unique space in the NFT world due to their historical and cultural significance, predating major NFT collections like CryptoKitties, CryptoPunks, and Bored Ape Yacht Club. The collection’s association with Pepe the Frog, a meme icon, further enhances its allure.

The collection’s ability to empower artists and redefine the art industry has been a testament to the transformative potential of NFTs. The depth and variety within the Rare Pepe collection, featuring hundreds of unique designs from artists worldwide, provide a rich and engaging experience for collectors of all backgrounds and financial capacities.


The Rare Pepe NFTs, with their diverse designs, rarity levels, and historical significance, continue to captivate collectors and enthusiasts, bridging the gap between meme culture and digital asset investment. They stand as a testament to the power of community, creativity, and the immutable nature of blockchain technology, ensuring that this piece of internet folklore continues to thrive in the digital era.

As we look forward to the future of NFTs and digital art, the Rare Pepe collection remains a seminal example of how internet culture can transcend its digital boundaries, creating a lasting impact and fostering a community of enthusiasts and collectors. In embracing the legacy of Rare Pepe NFTs, we celebrate not just a collection of digital assets but also a vibrant chapter in the ever-evolving story of the internet and blockchain innovation.


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