Fuelled by hype and hysteria, memecoins went from an obscure and bizarre niche to a massive gambling vehicle that made people millionaires overnight.
PEPE is the latest sensation that captured the imagination of some of the most insatiable degens in the space. This particular frog-themed coin continued to ascend to dizzying heights as FOMO engulfed the market. But the latter is a scammer’s best friend.
Crypto Twitter is ripe with stories about how early investors of PEPE became millionaires overnight. While PEPE did manage to bring a memecoin renaissance, it also triggered the creation of numerous scam tokens over the past week.
Blockchain security firm PeckShield observed the creation of at least 10 memecoin scams such as PEPEDOGE, PEPEC, WOW, MEME, FOUR, NEWPEPE, BENZ, BMW, POP, and BOBO. The creators behind the flagged scam token allegedly removed the liquidity and rug-pulled unsuspecting investors.
Scammers are also targeting PEPE investors. Cybersecurity firm CertiK issued a warning last week about a fraudulent PEPE site claiming to offer rewards and alerted that the website is linked to a phishing contract.
Fake accounts have infiltrated the official community Telegram group of the memecoin as well, posting random links in an attempt to redirect users to fraudulent websites. The creators of the token have repeatedly urged the community to be diligent and warned against connecting their wallets to suspicious pages claiming to offer airdrops, staking, claims, mints, raffles, giveaways, etc.
Despite being hailed by the Twitter boss, Elon Musk, who recently shared a meme with PEPE the Frog on his Twitter handle, the memecoin drew a fair share of controversies. For one, US crypto giant COINBASE sent out an email newsletter to its customers describing the PEPE meme as a “hate symbol” co-opted by alt-right groups.
This was followed by a firestorm of criticism on Twitter, and the hashtag #deletecoinbase started trending on the social media site briefly. The newsletter has since been edited while Coinbase’s chief legal officer, Paul Grewal, apologized for the mishap.