“We screwed up and we are sorry,” tweeted Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal on Thursday, after disgruntled fans of the meme coin PEPE called to boycott the crypto exchange.
We screwed up and we are sorry.
Yesterday we shared an overview of the $pepe meme coin to provide a fact-based picture of a trending topic. This did not provide the whole picture of the history of the meme and we apologize to the community.
— paulgrewal.eth (@iampaulgrewal) May 11, 2023
Grewal’s apology comes after a May 10 newsletter emailed to users, in which it describes Pepe the Frog – the meme that inspired the creation of the PEPE token – as a hate symbol co-opted by alt-right groups over time.
— borovik.eth (@3orovik) May 11, 2023
The statements invoked considerable outrage among the PEPE fanbase, and before long #DeleteCoinbase was trending on Twitter. Coinbase’s stock price also tumbled 3.6% on Thursday.
Coinbase has since updated the controversial newsletter to remove all reference of the token as a hate symbol, stating that the original version “did not provide the whole picture of the history of the meme.”
PEPE was launched on April 14 by an anonymous team of developers, who describe the token as “completely useless and for entertainment purposes only” in a disclaimer on the official website.
Still, the meme coin has taken center stage within the crypto community over the last few weeks and has quickly become one of the most actively traded tokens and has been listed on several popular exchanges, including Binance and Gemini.
On May 5, PEPE’s market cap breached $1 billion and its price had appreciated 4000% in the three weeks since its creation. At the time of writing, PEPE was trading at $0.00000153, down 38% over the last 24 hours.