The term “meme” comes from the Greek word “mimema,” meaning “imitated.” According to Encyclopedia Britannica, this term was initially introduced in 1976 by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his work The Selfish Gene. However, it was not until roughly 2014 when users in the /r9k/ channel of the popular site 4chan began referring to original illustrations and photoshops of Pepe the Frog as “Rare Pepes.” 4chan users would share allegedly “rare” images of Pepe as if they were trading cards, initially on sites like eBay and Craigslist, but eventually, via Counterparty, one of the earliest chains to run on top of Bitcoin, Rare pepes went from meme to movement via the trading of cards and adoption of PepeCash. What is most remarkable about this ecosystem is that it was initiated in 2016/2017, way before most others were at all aware, let alone interested in NFTs.


Fast forward to March of 2022, and Rare Pepes are, in my personal opinion, one of the most undervalued NFT classes on the market. While yes, there have been momentous sales of Nakamoto cards over the past year or so, a treasure trove of OG NFTs from 2016-2018 are currently sitting on opensea for the taking on the Emblem Vault Ethereum account at a floor price of 0.032 ETH. You may be asking, ‘since these were minted on a Bitcoin layer two (for lack of a better term), how can one buy them on Ethereum? 



Thanks to the incredible people at Emblem Vault– real counterparty NFTs from the early days of the space have been bridged over to Ethereum and Polygon, and are now accessible for us to buy on Opensea! According to Decrypt: “Emblem Vault is a tokenized multi-asset wallet [that] wraps crypto portfolios into a single NFT token.” So hodlers of OG counterparty NFTs are able to simply and safely bridge their NFTs, such as Rare Pepes, over to ETH, Polygon, and more!


How can you make sure that the NFT you’re buying is authentic? Since these are bridged over, and since we’re in the crypto space here, it’s up to us to do our own due diligence. So every time you buy any NFT from an Emblem Vault account, on Opensea for instance, it’s up to us to check the NFT’s emblem finance and XCP explorer links to ensure that the item we’re buying is a) an Original Rare Pepe (see example here) and b) via the XCP explorer link click on the asset, then click on “issuances” to see how many of a Rare Pepe NFT were originally minted. 


While you will notice that there is an abundance of Rare Pepes available on Opensea, not all Pepes are made equal. While I’m not here to give financial advice, it should be obvious to anyone with a background in crypto or NFTs that the most scarce and oldest editions of these NFTs are inherently the most ‘rare.’ With the appropriately named Rare Pepes, rarity varies quite a lot from NFT to NFT. Some pieces come in editions of several million, and if you check them via the XCP explorer, you’ll see that they’re only evaluated at pennies apiece, so in my opinion, not worth buying for even 0.032 ETH. 



However, there are NFTs available which are from incredible scarce mint batches of 5000, 3000, 1000, or even a few hundred. Since most of these were minted 5+ years ago on Bitcoin, and only some have been bridged over to ETH or Polygon, most of these collections are lost in a wallet somewhere, and many can’t be claimed. Owning a Rare Pepe from one of these small-batch collections today means that you likely own one of only a few hundred accessible NFTs, the scarcity of these Pepes making them, from my perspective, some of the rarest. 


So while you can’t currently get a Nakamoto card for less than 100 ETH as of today, you can still snag some pieces of early NFT history on Opensea that are, in my opinion, still incredibly undervalued. Again, while we don’t give financial advice here, we can delve into the history of NFTs and pinpoint specific projects which we deem important and Rare Pepes are–undoubtedly–one of them. The purpose of this new series is for me to delve into the background of some of the OG NFTs in my collection. In the next article in this series, coming soon, I’ll delve into why I’m currently hodling gen0 CryptoKitties. 

Share this article:


ArtVndngMchn NFT Wrapper (Courtesy: Joe Chiapetta)


Bundling NFTs, offering a group of NFTs for sale for one fixed price, can be a way to increase one’s sales while turning a drop into an event. If you have not explored releasing NFT bundles, such as bags or packs, you may be able to pick up some tips from the well-established art of ‘product bundling.’ And if bundling a product sounds like too much for one artist, this is a particularly good approach for groups, as we can see from the ArtVndngMchn project.


Product Bundling


Product bundling, essentially selling a group of individual items together, is a popular retail sales technique for a variety of products and services. For major retailers, mixed bundling, selling bundled items that are also available individually, is often done with a discount on the overall price if purchased separately. However, as one explores the more relevant world of bundling for smaller shops both on and off-line, one finds more examples of pure bundling, in which the items in a bundle are not available individually.


Most examples of bundling NFTs, of which I am aware, are pure bundles, typically filled with single examples of larger editions that are offered in some sort of container. This approach, considered broadly, potentially includes bundles, bags, sacks, packs, chests, lockers, vaults, and other concepts, based on a container filled with goodies. 


Before purchase, these containers may or may not reveal their contents. Sometimes making the exact contents of the bundle secret can be a way of heightening anticipation. In that case, revealing the artists and creating a sense of what’s in the bundle is key to drawing folks in. There’s a lot of psychology at play and checking out what other artists and NFT creators do and how their drops and secondary sales fare will teach you a lot.


In mixed bundling, discounts are often applied based on the overall cost of the individual items. In NFT Land, discounting may be appropriate for insiders, communities and whitelisted individuals in a presale or similar event. However, my opinion is that otherwise discounting editions of art, whether by well-known or emerging artists, may look like a sign of problems that one may have otherwise missed.


If you haven’t yet considered bundling a select group of your NFTs or the NFTs of a particular network of creators, ArtVndngMchn offers an excellent example of an individual artist bringing together a group of crypto artists for a successful series of drops. Keep in mind that, while there is lots of activity in this area, there is still room for artists typically focused on 1 of 1 art and limited editions, to make unique and compelling NFT bundles.


ArtVndngMchn: OGs and Emerging Artists


The title of this column promised ‘Fun,’ and so far I have failed to deliver. However, this piece was inspired by a discussion with Joe Chiappetta, an artist whose work and projects do have plenty of fun energy. 


Chiappetta was preparing for the latest ArtVndngMchn drop on Wax, coming February 26th. It will feature packs of 5 NFTs each by a group of “Cryptoart OGs (Joe Chiapetta, Marko Zubak, Fabi Yamada, Richard Yates) and emerging artists” listed on the Series 3 webpage.


I think this is a great example of niche bundling of NFTs. These names will be especially familiar to those active in crypto art before the NFT boom which also gives the emerging artists the OG cosign. Though it is appropriate to price art more modestly off the Ethereum blockchain, due to lower gas fees and less developed NFT ecosystems, this project seems low-priced at $20 per pack.


For those interested in utility, there are some really nice examples in the ArtVndngMchn project, which also goes beyond NFTs. Series 3-specific elements include raising money for the education of blind youth in Kiev, the ability to mix and upgrade select NFTs using NeftyBlocks, and a concurrent metaverse event.


The NFTs themselves are hidden till packs are open. The wrapper, shown above, is animated and plays a role in the unwrapping, according to Chiappetta:


“After a collector buys a pack, if they choose to open it, a special 3D animation of an art vending machine plays to give them an extra special visual treat, and then they see what pieces of rare digital art are in the package.”


ArtVndngMchn now has a successful track record of bundle drops and shows that the wrapper can also be a creative part of the project.


NFT Creator Bundles


While established artists can certainly choose to bundle work on their own, bundling as a group is a way for emerging artists to stand out. In the case of ArtVndngMchn, we have an example of established and emerging artists working together. So NFT bundling can also be a useful tool to build community while strengthening marketing effects. And as we have seen with so many bundling efforts, artistic creativity can be applied to both the bundle and the container.

Share this article: