On February 27 at 2:53 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, a Blockstream employee who goes by @notgrubles on Twitter received a PGP-encrypted message from space. The message contained a jumble of letters and numbers—code, if you will—that transmitted an image of two green frogs. One appears to be grasping a steering wheel. The other looks like either a poorly dressed sportscaster or a well-dressed referee, eating a sandwich.
This mysterious message is a Rare Pepe card, series 19, card 41, titled Pimentoloaf. With 500 such collectible Pimentoloaf “cards” issued, this particular piece isn’t exactly #rareAF. But it is one-of-a-kind. It’s the only Rare Pepe so far to have been transmitted via satellite.
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Rare Pepes are the forefather of cryptocollectibles (I wouldn’t gender it, but the creator is a man, Joe Looney). Arriving on the scene before the likes of CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties, Rare Pepes are rare not because they use nonfungible tokens, but because of each Rare Pepe card’s unique smart contract. The smart contracts dictate the supply of each card. There are 500 identical versions of the Rare Pepe @notgrubles received from space.
Notably, Rare Pepe memes are not alt-right artwork or created by Pepe’s original artist, Matt Furie. They’re just memes picturing the frog created by people who embrace the #rareAF lifestyle.
Pimentoloaf Pepe traveled from space via the Blockstream Satellite network, created to let people from all around the world participate in the bitcoin blockchain, even if they don’t have access to the internet. Users can pay to send messages through Blockstream’s satellite system using the Lightning Network. Here are the regions covered by the satellite network so far:
Wow, the first Rare Pepe to have been sent from space—must be important, is what you’re probably thinking. Perhaps it’s an encoded message informing humankind that climate change is going to destroy our planet much sooner than we thought. Or maybe it’s the Rare Pepe equivalent of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
If you’re thinking that, you’re wrong. It’s an image paying homage to the host of Bitcoin Car Talk, a sort of mock talk show hosted by the Toronto-based “Mike in Space.” Mike in Space. Get it? The first space-delivered Rare Pepe was chosen based on an almost pun. Technological innovations always have to start somewhere.