Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, issued an apology yesterday following a storm of controversy over its portrayal of the Pepe (PEPE) meme token.
Paul Grewal, the Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase, admitted in a tweet that the exchange's recent newsletter covering the rapid growth of Pepe and other meme coins failed to provide a comprehensive picture of the meme's history, prompting widespread criticism from the crypto community.
Pepe the Frog, the mascot of the Pepe coin, is a meme that first surfaced on the internet nearly two decades ago as a comic-strip character.
Over time, however, it was co-opted as a hate symbol by alt-right groups, according to the Anti-Defamation League. This contentious aspect of the meme's history was the focus of Coinbase's commentary, which, despite a disclaimer distancing the author's views from those of Coinbase, ignited a backlash from Pepe supporters.In response to the newsletter, Pepe supporters took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction. Many stressed that the Pepe meme is not a hate symbol, asserting instead that the movement represents love, equity, and a protest against venture-capital-backed entities that they claim have exploited the Web3 community.
Some even threatened to close their Coinbase accounts in protest, leading to the hashtag "#deletecoinbase" trending on Twitter.
Pepe has experienced a meteoric rise in recent weeks, becoming the fastest Ethereum token to reach the $1 billion mark. However, the meme token is now down 64% from its record high.