Coinbase calls Pepe a hate symbol, community fights back

In a recent newsletter, the Coinbase exchange referred to the meme Pepe the Frog as being a hate symbol. This caused a stir in the crypto Twitter community under the hashtag #deletecoinbase.

In Coinbase Bytes’ “Behind the memecoin frenzy,” the exchange tells a story behind the popular memecoin Pepecoin. Although the memecoin has nothing to do with the original meme created nearly 20 years ago, Coinbase said under the subtitle, “What you should know about PEPE, the memecoin of the moment”:

The token is based on the Pepe the Frog meme, which first surfaced on the internet nearly 20 years ago as a comic-strip character. Over time it has been co-opted as a hate symbol by alt-right groups, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Related: Crypto Twitter jumps on newly launched Pepe memecoin

As soon as the newsletter was emailed, prominent crypto-influencer Borovik.eth shared a screenshot with his 96,200 followers, fretting that Coinbase was sending messages to its subscribers linking Pepecoin to the fact that the Pepe meme was appropriated as a hate symbol by alt-right groups:

The displeasure made the rounds on Twitter, prompting Coinbase to answer for their claims. Many Pepecoin supporters deleted their accounts with the exchange and spread the hashtag #deletecoinbase.

The hashtag #deletecoinbase has racked up more than 45,000 tweets on Twitter since May 10, according to data from Tweetbinder.

Major crypto exchanges have already started listing Pepecoins on their platforms. After Binance listed Pepecoin on May 5, the community urged other exchanges to do the same. However, Coinbase hasn’t yet commented on whether it’ll list the coin or not.

Since the #deletecoinbase started circulating on Twitter, neither the official Coinbase account nor CEO Brian Armstrong have issued a statement on the newsletter and the situation.

One Twitter user said that he’d close his account with Coinbase and switch to Gemini, due to the fact that Gemini listed the coin on May 9. When the exchange announced the support of Pepe, it used more appealing words:

$pepeย continues the tradition of giving the control of money back to the people. Weโ€™re not here to tell you what money is. Weโ€™ll leave that up to you. Weโ€™re here to empower you with greater choice, independence, and opportunity, as we continue on our mission to unlock the next era of financial, creative, and personal freedom.

According to Coingecko, Pepecoin is currently trading at $0.0000017, down 12% in the last 24 hours.


  • Previously worked in the arts, now specializes in covering crypto with an emphasis on DeFi, blockchain and mass adoption. Offers simple and clear writing, always looking for new ways to present information. Major in International Relations, minor in English, in a spare time reads postmodern literature, does yoga and watches movies.

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