The biggest meme coin in the 2023 crypto bear market is none other than PEPE, which now appears to be officially rugged.
On Thursday, on-chain sleuths on X (Twitter) discovered a staggering 16 trillion PEPE tokens being sold on numerous centralized exchanges, such as OKX, KuCoin, Bybit and Binance, which were valued at $16 million.
The market capitalization of PepeCoin plunged to a low of $315.72 million, which was a drop of 26%, but at publishing time, it had recovered about 7.7% and was around $342 million.
After staying silent for two days, someone published a post on Twitter, claiming to be the last remaining founder of the meme token.
The post was aimed at apologizing and revealed that three former team members were responsible for the unexpected actions, and had taken steps behind the founder’s back.
The members of the anonymous rogue team had sold 16 trillion PEPE tokens and had then attempted to disassociate with the token by removing themselves from the multi sig.
The post said that they had also deleted their social accounts and the only message the poster got was about the multi sig updated that gave full control to him.
Multi sig wallets are multi-signature wallets that can only execute a transaction after a minimum number of individual signatures.
The founder’s claims
The founder stated that the tokens in the centralized exchange wallet had not been meant for market selling, or for the team to make profits.
They added that if they had been in charge the entire time, then some of the tokens would have been donated, while the majority of the holdings in the CEX wallet would have been burned a long time ago.
The rogue team members offloaded almost 60% of the total PEPE tokens in the market. According to the sole remaining founder, the remaining 10 trillion PEPE tokens are in ‘safe hands’, which are worth $8.76 million.
Even though this is a major setback for the PEPE token, the anonymous founder has promised to continue with the project.
They said that they would first take steps to fully decentralize it and this would involve burning the remaining tokens that are still under the control of the project.
The account holder said that since the PEPE token was launched, it had been facing a great deal of inner strife, as some of its team members were bad actors who had a lot of greed and big egos.
The founder said that now that the rogue members were gone, the meme coin could be free of the project and move forward easily.
All the remaining PEPE tokens had been transferred on Saturday to a new wallet address. This is not the first time for a project to be exploited this way.
The Ronin network that had been compromised last year and lost $622 million worth of tokens also had a multi-sig system for approving transactions.
The PEPE meme token was first been introduced in May this year and had quickly risen up the ranks to be listed on big exchanges like Coinbase and Binance.