PEPE COIN: The Frog As Agent of Disruption

Joseph H Sadove
7 min readMay 4, 2023

Today, Pepe has evolved into a symbol of both internet culture and the crypto world.”

The above quote is from a recent story posted on Hacker Noon by CryptoHayes, aka Arthur Hayes, the founder and ex-proprietor of BitMex.

However seriously exaggerated this quote may be, it nevertheless straightforwardly places crypto in its actual context. Such things have become par for most of the crypto world: adopt a symbol that has become associated with racism and anti-semitism as a crypto meme and coin. This mirrors a trajectory that traces from Doge coin which was created as a mockery of the corruption and silliness of crypto to its being embraced and promoted by the crypto-believing world at large.

The axis of autocracy (Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, et al.) has always chafed under the dominance of the USD and they have become even more eager to undermine and replace it. And China most of all is moving rapidly to internationalize the RMB. These efforts can be given a big assist by anything that sows racial, religious and class divisions in the open diverse societies such as the USA and EU. It is therefore not at all far-fetched to believe that the idea of Pepe the coin was hatched in Moscow or in any of the countries, alliances or other collections of autocratic/anti-democratic groups and states (perhaps Chainalysis could have a look at the trajectory of the transaction activity?).

Crap Tech

The idea of spreading an offensive and divisive meme in the West is an easy, effective and largely unattributable way of pursuing their goals: Get a major figure in the crypto space to pull the already anti-democratic constituency (among whom most crypto believers can be counted) into using it and thereby spread it. The creator and promoter of the meme coin might have any number of reasons to generate ill-will towards western liberal democracy in the form of the USA and dollar financial system. This is, however, not even concealed, it is proudly out there.

The Crypto/Decentralization cult very early on embraced the objective of undermining the USD and thereby western liberal democracy (WLD). WLD and the USD (and the EURO now, as well) stand in the way of any attempt to alter the economic and political organization of the world and shift economic power away from it. Those swearing allegiance to the “least-government-is-the-best-government” ideologies have also (many knowingly, some not) been a part of this same project. These same least-or-anti-WLD groups have been at the forefront of projecting (if not agitating for) the demise of the USD and collapse of the USA.

The project nevertheless seems to be going too slow and crypto’s basic technology botch (Merkle Trees 1.1) of blockchain still hasn’t been “cured”. It is still slow and non-scalable and requires all kinds of gimmicks to maintain the veneer of being “decentralized” with little real success: in complete contravention of Satoshi’s original vision, the overwhelming majority of hash generation for POW networks is massively centralized and even in many places government subsidized (Texas, Florida, Wyoming, et al.). Until recently China in-country dominated hash generation, but then shut that down and booted the miners out of the country, as they saw the waste of electrical grid and environmental downsides. Regardless, they still completely own the design and manufacture of nearly all the mining ASICs and rigs and the design and operations of all large-scale mining. And now places not-entirely-China-friendly such as Texas, Montana, Idaho, and Florida are becoming destinations for these large-scale made-in-China operations.

All crypto generation, movement, transactions or conversion to real currency (so-called “stablecoins) occurs entirely on the privately-owned, commercial centralized-up-the-wazoo compute, networking, and storage via cloud-providers. The one attempt to exit this hypocrisy arose in a very centralized place: The giant venture capital fund AndreesenHorowitz in its blockchain/crypto/decentralization sub-fund a16z. This project was named DFinity. The entire project underwritten by a16z proposed a solution to the “complete centralization of blockchain/crypto” problem. Started in 2018 by Dominic Williams it appears to be not just defunct, but erased. If you try clicking the original URL… you get this: “Failed to fetch response: TypeError: Failed to fetch”

And this is likely why:

And here is a raft of other interesting info:

  5. ETC.

The DFinity story itself is fascinating in how it lays bare the nonsense of “decentralization” while effectively claiming to cure the problem. Only in the crypto world can such things arise.

Borg Mind

The last nails in the “Decentralization” nonsense are these: and its competitors ICHI, Figment Networks, Future FinTech Group and Flipside Crypto.

You can read about what these companies do on their sites, but essentially they create giant physical private networks of miners and mining operations. Since the geographical hash and validation sources, targets and volumes of activity can be collected and analyzed by the users of this technology (probably a majority now), this is a very interesting state of things. In principle, it is possible for those with access to the packet flow to trace where the requests/provision of “gas” originates and where the issuance of blocks go. This can therefore likely be used to trace IP addresses that pass through this private centralized infrastructure. Any project for whatever purpose using conventional blockchain can likely be attributed. So much for the dream… again.

So how and why does “Pepe” come into this state-of-the-world? Well, apart from sowing division and attracting a criminal segment of society, what are the flaws in the crypto proposition that require the Pepe distraction? A few examples:
1. POW is in every way massively centralized

2. POS is centralization on top of centralization; it also may violate the PBFT/Anti-Sybil doctrine of the Decentralization cult.

3. There is therefore no such thing as “decentralization” of anything, but it’s a cool word

4. The energy waste of POW and even POS is uncured

5. ChainAnalysis and others are getting better and better at being able to observe/find who-is-who-and-doing-what, making yet another pillar of the building fall

6. All the exchanges (dead or alive) are “centralized”: FTX, BitMex, Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, etc.

7. The massive ongoing scammery of NFTs has burned huge numbers of people, even the first-adopters

8. Every political level, from local to state to country governments, is playing alone or operating as direct enablers/beneficiaries and making the big lie of “decentralization” even bigger

9. And now the founder of BitMex (RIP), Arthur Hayes, is saying that the solution to stablecoins is…Ta-da! A massive centralized collection of centralized exchanges organizing among themselves to create a “synthetic” stable coin, Naka(moto)coin?

In short, the crypto/decentralization project is being taken over by the largest profiteers and promoters. It was not going to get where it is today if it stuck with poor old Satoshi’s vision and no one would be making the big USD’s from it.

Not for lack of huge amounts of (real) money and crypto and effort, the project to undermine the “centralized” and liberal democratic order has not really succeeded much yet. Instead, the state of things has led to making all the prominent players and advocates look like hypocrites for using all the centralized and regulated world to support their scams… And their “purity” has been entirely corrupted by dependence on the system(s) they are trying to undermine.

With all this, there is therefore a massive need for a distracting narrative or better: one that undermines the “accusers”. So, what are they doing? Well, the same thing as Russia, the Republican Party and other paid or unpaid fellow-travelers: sow division. And, wow, have they been all-in with Pepe. It comes nicely packaged as something once innocuous, but now long since closely associated with right wing fascists, racists, antisemites and other hate groups. And it has an automatic appeal to even those who don’t care or know much about crypto and currencies, just plain vanilla hate.

But this is a very blunt and blatant move. And when you’re operating this way, eventually, this will raise questions about why someone is doing this. And then they may start to look at the back-story of the person and persons behind it. And maybe this will have unintended consequences for the Pepe-ists.