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Coinbase Faces Boycott Backlash After Customer Email Blast Calls PEPE ‘Alt-Right Hate Symbol’

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Coinbase is facing public ire after an email that the exchange distributed to customers.
  • The email from the Nasdaq-listed exchange claimed that Pepe, the meme frog, is a hate symbol used by the alt-right wing.
  • Coinbase cited the racial history of the mascot in the last 20 years of its existence.
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The Coinbase crypto exchange is facing public ire after screenshots emerged from an email that it distributed to its clients.

The email from the Nasdaq-listed exchange claimed that Pepe the Frog, the mascot of the infamous PEPE memecoin, is a hate symbol used by the alt-right wing.

Coinbase Users Call for Boycott

Speaking on the recent popularity of the PEPE memecoin, Coinbase cited the racial history of the mascot in the last 20 years of its existence.

According to the email,

“PEPE, which was issued around three weeks ago with a comically huge supply of 420 trillion tokens, has been leading the memecoin activity…Over time it has been co-opted as a hate symbol by alt-right groups, according to the Anti- Defamation League (ADL).”

The emblem has even been used by conservative politicians like Donald Trump. It evolved through time to be adopted by several white supremacist figures. The Pepe the Frog character did not at first contain racist or antisemitic overtones, according to the ADL website.

It notes,

“However, because so many Pepe the Frog memes are not bigoted in nature, it is important to examine use of the meme only in context.”

The Pepe the Frog meme logo was created by Matt Furie, who refused to link it to anything sinister. According to reports, Pepe the Frog was added as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League in 2016.

Despite the frog’s troubled past, users began to call for a boycott of the exchange and urged users to move their PEPE to rival exchange Gemini.

The List of Troubles Grows Longer

#DeleteCoinbase became a trending hashtag on Twitter, and Gemini reportedly saw an inflow of 300 billion PEPE as a result.

However, several Twitter users also asserted that they had not received the email in question from Coinbase, casting doubt on its authenticity.

Prior to starting to decline on May 5, the Pepe (PEPE) coin price had led the whole cryptocurrency market in gains since the beginning of April. At the time of writing, Pepe continues to spiral downwards, losing over 16% in the past 24 hours.

PEPE Price Chart | BeInCrypto
PEPE Price Chart | BeInCrypto

Amid the controversy, CEO Brian Armstrong retweeted Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal. He said it is important to publicly address differences to move towards a closer working relationship. The quotation emphasized that disputes should be handled respectfully and in good faith.

Meanwhile, it is worth noting that Coinbase has been in deep regulatory trouble in the U.S. lately. And therefore, the exchange is shifting focus to other regions like the UAE. Although, it has shut down rumors of its relocation.

Armstrong has continued to criticize the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the regulatory situation of the region after it served the exchange a Wells Notice. Former Coinbase manager Ishan Wahi was also found guilty of what is recognized as the first crypto insider trading and was sentenced to two years in jail.

Coinbase is facing two proposed class-action lawsuits. The exchange’s top officials are being sued for allegedly utilizing insider knowledge to profit from its listing. In addition, it is also under fire for privacy violations.

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.
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