6.5 $BTC for this NFT? And that’s a “low-ball?” Might seem strange for the uninitiated, but this coveted NFT is considered the “Mona Lisa of Rare Pepes” and sold for $320k in 2021.
Pepe the Frog
Pepe was created by
@Matt_Furie in 2005 and took on a life of its own online, especially on 4chan. 4chan at the time was on the bleeding edge of internet culture and is/was a place where memes are forged and widely proliferated.
A sub-set of 4chan likes to be intentionally offensive “otherwise the normies would hang out here.” While only popular among a small # of users, this effort to couple Pepe with offensive imagery “for the lulz” got Pepe called a hate symbol the
Rare Pepe NFTs
In 2016, a user named “Mike” minted RAREPEPE aka The Nakamoto Card on $BTC using Counterparty (more on Counterparty later). Soon after, a flood of different artists followed with their own Pepes, which sparked an open, collectivist digital art project.
Rare Pepe Directory
Pepe art was a growing grassroots movement. The Rare Pepe Directory was created to clean up the process, creating a wallet and standardizing Rare Pepes’ format and content. Given the context around Pepe at the time, weeding out offensive imagery was needed.
Rare Pepe Series 1
In 2016 the Rare Pepe Directory certifies the first batch of Pepe art, Series 1, which “contains some of the rarest NFTs known to pepekind.” Each NFT has a variable number of editions (from 1/1s to millions+). https://dankset.io/sets/RARE-PEPE/series/1
The Homer Pepe #homerpepe is an OG Pepe from 2016 (Series 2) and one of only 7 unique 1/1s. Many artists found it’s 2018 sale for ~$39,000 validating for the art and NFT movement and solidified #homerpepe as the most coveted of the Pepe 1/1s. It last sold for ~$320k in 2021.
#homerpepe lives on Counterparty which is sort of like an L2, “a metacoin-type protocol” that embeds some data on $BTC but also off-loads other data on its own infrastructure. Counterparty launched in 2014, so NFTs on Counterparty predate the Ethereum genesis block.
You send $BTC to a “dispenser” address and the asset is minted in your wallet on Counterparty. Dispensers do have some limitations. They’re first, first serve with no “revert” capability. i.e. you send $BTC to an empty dispenser, you don’t get any assets nor your $BTC back.
No matter what comes next, the history and provenance of this early art movement will be stored on the $BTC blockchain forever. “Feels good man”