Meme coins are gaining popularity in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. However, the fragility of their fundamentals and the opportunism of their creators often make their existence controversial. In this regard, PEPE is experiencing a period of turbulence following suspicions of a rug pull.
PEPE’s Controversial Existence
Remember, PEPE sparked excitement in the community after it appeared last spring. Inspired by memecoins like Shiba Inu or Dogecoin, PEPE embodies the codes of a beloved internet cartoon character.
Quickly listed on numerous renowned cryptocurrency exchanges, PEPE experienced a dramatic variation in its value during the first weeks of its existence. After a 5000% surge, it suffered an equally formidable drop, losing nearly 50% of its value.
In late August 2023, PEPE made headlines again with the transfer of 16 trillion PEPE tokens, equivalent to approximately $16.8 million, to centralized exchanges.
PEPE: Victim of a Rug Pull?
Along with the transfer of millions of PEPE tokens came suspicious activity. Indeed, the number of signatures on the project’s multisig account decreased abruptly without any communication or justification.
As a result, concerns began to grow within the PEPE community. The official Twitter account of the project clarified the situation on August 26th.
The account explained that the suspicious movements were indeed linked to malicious individuals. It stated that the number of required signers to access the project’s wallet had been reduced to 2 out of 8, allowing the thieves to seize a portion of the PEPE tokens.
It confirmed that several project members were responsible for this situation. It added, “since its inception, the project has unfortunately been plagued by internal conflicts, with part of the team consisting of bad actors driven by oversized egos and the lure of profit.”
These individuals have also hindered the project’s development for months by “blocking the team’s progress in terms of donations or purchases using multisig tokens due to the inability to perform signatures.”
How Did They Manage to Bypass Multisig Rules to Withdraw this Amount of PEPE Tokens?
According to the message shared on Twitter, “the multisig was set up to require the presence of 3 out of 4 signers for approval. Yesterday, 3 former team members went behind my back, logged into the multisig, stole 16 trillion PEPE tokens, and sent them to exchanges to sell them.”
The tweet continued by explaining that these individuals then withdrew from the multisig to attempt to dissociate themselves from any association with $PEPE, deleting all their social networks and leaving behind a message stating, “the multi-sig has been updated, you now have complete control.”
What Does the Future Hold for PEPE?
The author of the explanatory message assures that the multi-sig wallet is now in “good hands” and that they still possess 10 trillion PEPE tokens. They clarify that the tokens in this account “were never meant to be sold on the market or allow the project team to profit from them.” Thus, they have initiated “discussions with prominent members of the PEPE community to make the project thrive in the future.”
Currently, the reality is that the value of PEPE has plummeted rapidly after the recent announcements, despite the statement. The loss of trust in the project may indeed prevent it from recovering from this rug pull, but only time will tell.