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Lessons Learned from the Coinbase Pepe Controversy: Context, Free Speech, Social Media, and Messaging

One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, Coinbase, recently faced backlash on social media for calling the well-known internet meme Pepe the Frog a “symbol of hate.”. This led to a backlash from many members of the crypto community who saw the characterization as being over the top and an attack on free speech.

If you’re unfamiliar with the controversy, here’s a quick rundown:.

  • Cartoonist Matt Furie developed the character of Pepe the Frog in 2005. Despite being created with good intentions in the beginning, alt-correct and white supremacist organizations later turned it into a hate symbol.
  • Coinbase recently posted a blog entry with a graphic of Pepe and the caption “no hate allowed. Many members of the cryptocurrency community believed this was an unfair portrayal of the person, and they accused Coinbase of caving in to political correctness.
  • Numerous well-known crypto figures commented on the debate as it quickly gained traction on social media. While others defended Coinbase’s decision, some called for a boycott of the company.

These are some of the lessons that can be drawn from this incident.

  • Pepe may have begun as an innocent cartoon character, but hate groups have since appropriated him and turned him into a symbol of their ideology. It’s crucial to take this context into account when talking about Pepe, as well as the character’s negative connotations.
  • Free speech versus. Pepe has been used to spread hate speech, despite the fact that many Pepe supporters claim it’s just a harmless meme. It’s crucial to understand that while free speech is valuable, hate speech is not protected and has no place in polite conversation.
  • The controversy surrounding Coinbase’s Pepe character quickly spread on social media, and many people joined the discussion and adopted a stance. This is an example of how social media can magnify controversies. Despite the fact that social media can be a potent tool for communication, it can also amplify controversies and deepen their polarization.
  • Businesses ask that messages be carefully chosen: Coinbase probably didn’t intend for their Pepe graphic to cause controversy, but it does highlight the value of doing so. Even messages that seem innocent enough can be misinterpreted or elicit a strong reaction in a divisive political environment.

In conclusion, the Pepe controversy demonstrates the importance of context, the boundaries of free speech, the power of social media to magnify controversies, and the need for caution in corporate messaging. It’s crucial to participate in constructive discussion and advance an inclusive and respectful culture as the crypto community expands and changes.


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