Coinbase Apologizes for PEPE’s Description in Newsletter


Paul Grewal, the chief legal officer of the largest American cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, has rendered an apology for his company’s description of the popular memecoin Pepe (PEPE) in a newsletter – an act that prompted Crypto Twitter to call for a boycott of the firm.

Coinbase ’Screwed Up’: Grewal

On Thursday morning, crypto influencer Borovik.eth took to Twitter to inquire why Coinbase sent out emails telling its users that Pepe is an alt-right hate symbol. Along with his post was a screenshot of the newsletter from May 10 that cited a 2016 resolution by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to include the frog-themed Pepe in its database of online hate symbols.

“PEPE, which was issued around three weeks ago with a comically huge supply of 420 trillion tokens, has been leading the memecoin activity. 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,” Coinbase wrote.

Borovik. eth’s disclosure riled up the fans and holders of Pepe, leading to a mass request for an apology from Coinbase and for users to start deleting their accounts with the crypto firm. The matter soon escalated as several famous crypto enthusiasts disclosed that they would sell their Coinbase (COIN) shares and move their digital assets to other exchanges like Gemini, with most ending their tweets with the hashtag “#deletecoinbase.”

Within a short time, the hashtag “#deletecoinbase” started trending on Twitter, with thousands of tweets aligned to it. As of writing time, the hashtag has more than 304,000 tweets, as per data from Tweetbinder.

By Thursday evening, Grewal posted a tweet, apologizing for the misunderstanding caused by Coinbase’s description of Pepe and admitting that the crypto exchange “screwed up.”

A ‘Fact-based Picture’

The Coinbase CLO explained that the firm had tried to provide a fact-based picture of Pepe while sharing an overview of the frog-themed coin but failed to portray the whole picture of its history.

“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,” Grewal said.

As Coinbase has rendered an apology and edited the newsletter to remove the description, Pepe fans expect the exchange to list the memecoin just like Binance and has done.