You must have heard of this “tradable Rare Pepe” thing by now if you are in the crypto space. The user generated “pepe the frog” memes can be seen all over the place and many people talk about it in random chat rooms, on social media, podcasts and so on.
If you are not familiar with it, you may dismiss it completely, thinking “Oh, I get it. It’s all about these frog memes looking weirdly funny. It’s silly” or “Pepecash, this is another pump n dump scamcoin or a jokecoin. Dogecoin all over again meh!”. Some even frown upon the whole pepe thing as it is often associated with the alt right movement or racism (although that was not the original meaning of this character).
Then, you may be missing the bigger picture. The illustrations themselves and the pepecash price pump are less interesting aspects of the whole movement at least to me. What’s really intriguing about it is the new economic model built around tokens on the blockchain Rarepepe is spotlighting.
Don’t get fooled by what it looks like on the surface; Rare Pepe is quietly one of the most weirdly exciting projects in the space, exhibiting new possibilities for digital asset collection on the blockchain and open permissionless token economies.
Tradable and scarce digital assets on the blockchain
All the official Rare Pepe memes are issued as tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain via the Counterparty protocol. The user generated memes are linked to specific tokens and get listed on the rarepepe directory after a thorough inspection by “Rarepepe scientists” (yup, serious science going on here…)
Also, Rare Pepe token supply is locked on the blockchain, making them truly scarce (“rare”) digital assets.
In addition to being verifiably scarce, all tokens issued on Counterparty become tradable on the protocol’s decentralized exchange by default, allowing users to trade their cards directly on the blockchain without any middleman holding your cards.
There are great Counterparty compatible wallets for Rare Pepe tokens available where you can collect and trade your Pepe. Rare Pepe Wallet, the web wallet specifically built for Pepe is a great place to start your Pepe collection.
There is also Book of Orbs, a mobile Counterparty wallet/collection book which allows users to collect and trade Pepe tokens on their phones as well as other collectable tokens.
This model of scarce and tradable digital assets on the blockchain and true digital ownership was originally introduced by Spells of Genesis (SoG), the upcoming mobile game which tokenizes its game items on the blockchain and it has shown a lot of promise already.
Inspired by SoG, Rare Pepe takes it one step further by allowing users to generate and register unique content themselves. This is still a very new concept but a similar model can be instantly applied to any other illustrations or digital content and I’d argue Rare Pepe may be pushing the frontier for the new era for digital artists and content creators.
Fun of digital asset creation
But you may also be wondering what use cases those user generated “dank” pepe cards have. Unless there is any valid use cases for those cards, they are useless and nobody will want them, aren’t they? Right and wrong, I’d say.
Right, because if there is no use case, people will likely get bored of it eventually and those cards will lose its monetary and social value.
However, I would argue this is not correct because this act of collecting something whether it’s a piece of art, comics or frog memes has undeniable utility by itself.
When I was a kid, I used to collect a bunch of Pokemon cards and stickers. My mother hated it and saw no point spending almost all of my meagre allowance on useless cards. Looking back now, maybe she was right and I don’t even have them anymore (my elder brother sold them away to collectors on Ebay or something without my permission).
But the point is collecting something has its own magical feeling whether it’s useful or not. The size of collectable market speaks the truth here.
Going back to Rare Pepe, tokens on the blockchain take digital collection to a whole other level. They cannot be faked, don’t get damaged like paper cards and are easily transferable and tradable. Simply put, blockchain technology combines the best of both physical and digital collection attributes and digital assets on the blockchain are more attractive collector items than the off blockchain digital counterparts because of this. The fact that Satoshicard, one of the rarest SoG cards on the blockchain, has been sold for more than 6 bitcoins even before the full launch is one piece of evidence supporting this hypothesis.
Along with projects like SoG, Rare Pepe has been proving the potential of digital asset collection even without an initial valid use case.
Finally, the potential of the Rare Pepe model doesn’t end with simple digital asset collection and trading. What’s even more remarkable about this token model is that third party developers or projects can bring external value and use cases to Pepe tokens thanks to their open and permission-less nature.
Interoperability and permissionless nature is what differentiates tokens on the blockchain from closed proprietary systems or private blockchains whose essences are control and permissioned. Whether you like it or not, as long as it’s on an open and public blockchain people will create unexpected use cases and synergies that even token issuers cannot imagine sometimes. In my opinion, this is the biggest advantage of using tokens on a public blockchain and this type of cross collaboration has started to emerge already with Pepe.
For example. the Rarepepeparty project is developing a trading card game with some RPG element utilizing Rare Pepe tokens and user created memes. If you own those cards in your wallet and prove its ownership, you will be able to play your dank Pepe cards within the game.
Another example is the new SaruTobi game which allows you to use random Counterparty tokens including pepe to summon random in-game monsters. This will bring at least a marginal utility to any tokens even without any use cases or particular aims. In fact, the current SaruTobi game allows some SoG and pepe cards to be playable in the game already, providing an already working example of interoperability.
By accepting those tokens, third party game developers are able to kickstart their games with increased support from networks of token holders while at the same time benefiting token holders and incentivising them to promote their games. This is a really new and disruptive model Rarepepe and related projects are spearheading and the above mentioned games will be released in the coming months and will likely make some noise in the space.
Rare Pepe on the blockchain may seem like just a silly joke to some people on the surface but there is actually really exciting stuff developing underneath that not many are aware of yet. Rarepepe whether purposefully or not is exploring and expanding the new concept of scarce and tradable digital assets on the open and permissionless blockchain. It’s not claiming to change the world like “the DAO” did (which seems very silly now) but in its own funny jokey way, Rare Pepe is slowly invading the crypto space.
Even if collecting memes is not your thing, this unique model and ecosystem is maybe something you should pay attention to. Besides, how can you resist those dank eyes anyways?
(At Project ORB, we are working to build a platform for blockchain games which incorporate Counterparty tokens. In addition to Rare Pepe, there are other great projects such as Spells of Genesis and Force of Will on the platform. We connect all those projects and aiming to bring cross collaborations and unique interloperability between them. Check out Book of Orbs and start collecting all kinds of digital assets on the blockchain and lead this new exciting blockchain gaming space with us!)
This article was originally posted by Koji Higashi on March 8, 2017 at https://medium.com/@coin_and_peace/rarepepe-is-the-most-innovative-project-in-the-crypto-space-seriously-6d6b74749687