Empire Newsletter: Based Brett kicks off onchain summer

Roaring Kitty held a livestream on Friday that didn’t do the overall market, or GameStop shares, any good


Coinbase/Adobe Stock modified by Blockworks


A flying start

Based Brett is off to a ripper onchain summer.

Base’s biggest memecoin has gone from under $10 million market capitalization to nearly $2 billion in 101 days.

BRETT is now a whisker away from flipping Solana dog coin BONK (there’s less than 7% between them this morning). BONK hit an all-time high in March and has since retraced by about 40%, while BRETT — which launched only days earlier — has gone 200x.

It’s rare for memecoins to grow that big so quickly. It wasn’t totally exhaustive analysis, but after compiling market data for about two dozen of the biggest memecoins out there, BRETT was the third-fastest to ever hit a $1.5 billion market cap. 

The other Solana dog coin, dogwifhat, did it in about 80 days, a slightly quicker timeframe. Meanwhile, it took floki — Binance Smart Chain’s top memecoin named after Elon Musk’s dog — another three weeks to do the same.

Pepe, on Ethereum, otherwise briefly hit $1.5 billion in the first 20 days but soon corrected to well under $500 million. It took almost a year for PEPE to run it back.

Most memecoins are stuck below $1 billion for at least their first 200 days

BRETT and PEPE share a parallel crypto universe. They’re both homages to characters in Matt Furie’s webcomic Boy’s Club which is centered around four college roommates hanging out and playing video games.

There’s Andy, a dog-like character that eats hot dogs, Landwolf, a scruffy party dude, Pepe the Frog, a “little-brother” type that goes with the flow and Brett, a tall blue creature who really likes to dance.

Neither BRETT or PEPE — or any other memecoin based on Boy’s Club — have any official ties to Furie, who previously launched a flurry of legal fights to prevent Pepe the Frog from being co-opted by the right, including a $15,000 settlement with Alex Jones’ Info Wars.

While there have been popular cryptocurrencies based on Pepe the Frog before, Furie hasn’t really publicly acknowledged either PEPE or BRETT. 

He was asked about PEPE in a Twitter Spaces last May — around the time of one of the coin’s first major rallies — but didn’t seem totally fussed. 

“Actually this is the first I’ve heard of it [PEPE]…I’ve heard of Ethereum, Bitcoin and Dogecoin, is it like that?…Dogecoin’s the best, I’m a Dogecoin maxi,” he said.

Still, BRETT’s growth comes amid a push from Base and founder Jesse Pollak to inspire devs to experiment on the Ethereum layer-2 over the summer — Onchain Summer.

And, so far, it seems to be working. Per Blockworks Research data, last week saw the third-highest number of transactions on Base in history, the highest stablecoin transfer volumes at almost $8.4 billion, and the highest-ever unique active addresses, with 1.84 million (although that shouldn’t be conflated with unique users, which is practically impossible to measure).

An additional 3.4 million contracts have been deployed on Base already this summer, the largest uptick since last September — just after the chain came online

Memecoins like BRETT aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of Base, and the whole point of Onchain Summer is to build other cool stuff on the network.

But a mascot surely can’t hurt. Especially one that might flip Solana’s BONK.

— David Canellis

Data Center

  • Base total value locked is at an all-time high with $1.792 billion, up 17% over the past month, according to DeFiLlama.
  • The network has now earned $43.65 million profit for Coinbase since its launch, per Blockworks Research data.
  • Base AMM Aerodrome has just seen its three biggest ever weeks for volume, averaging $1.2 billion since the end of May.
  • Top cryptocurrencies are mostly even for the day except BNB, which has sunk almost 6%.
  • BRETT is today’s worst-performer in the top-100, down 8%, followed closely by filecoin (FIL) and wormhole (W). BRETT is still up 68% in the past week.

Short-term pain for long-term gains?

Bitcoin dumped on Friday after the US jobs print came in far hotter than expected. CoinGlass data showed that roughly $400 million was liquidated from crypto markets, and bitcoin once again fell below $70,000.

And then it went quiet. This weekend hasn’t seen a whole lot of action, and bitcoin’s still hovering around mid-$69,000 as we head into a week rife with economic data, including a rate decision from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday (the consensus is that rates hold steady, for obvious reasons). 

“Institutional investors joining the Bitcoin party via ETFs may be raising the floor, but all eyes remain on the Fed for the rate cuts that could help it smash through the ceiling,” Stocklytics analyst Neil Roarty said.

But we can’t just blame economic data for the weakness in crypto. Roaring Kitty held a livestream on Friday that didn’t do the overall market, or GameStop shares, any good. Though we did get a look at his e*Trade portfolio, which held — to no one’s surprise — a multi-million dollar position in his beloved stock (on Friday, it was worth over $300 million, though the sell-off did some damage to that figure).

Screenshot of Roaring Kitty’s portfolio from his Friday livestream shows a $350M position in GME, with $235M in losses on the day

I’m not sure it’s fair to blame Keith Gill, the man behind Roaring Kitty, for folks getting really excited about the possibility of some sort of announcement or big reveal, only to be disappointed when Gill showed up late and seemed to pop open a midday beer mid-livestream, but I digress. 

Either way, GME tanked and so did the Solana memecoin $KITTY, which seems to be unofficially based on Gill’s alias.

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All this while exchange-traded products saw volumes of $12.8 billion last week, a 55% increase from the previous week, according to CoinShares.

“Unusually, inflows were seen across almost all providers, with a continued slowdown in outflows from incumbents. We believe this turn around in sentiment is a direct response to weaker than expected macro data in the US, bringing forward monetary policy rate cut expectations,” James Butterfill, head of research at CoinShares, wrote.

Ether products notched inflows of $69 million, which is its most impressive week in two months. The ETH ETFs aren’t yet ready to launch in the US yet, though the products are expected to go live in the next few months.

But not everything is about bitcoin and ethereum — though the two obviously dominate flows. Altcoins saw some activity, too. Butterfill noted that Fantom and XRP both saw inflows of $1.4 million and $1.2 million respectively. Solana notched inflows of $700k, just below the million-dollar figure. 

CoinShares data shows the asset flows from last week

It’s early Monday, and quiet to boot, but I’ll be curious to see how the market reacts to the catalysts ahead.

— Katherine Ross

The Works

  • Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is the richest person incarcerated in the US thanks to a surge in BNB, Bloomberg reported.
  • Iggy Azalea said she’s relaunching her telecommunication company so people can buy phones or cell plans with MOTHER or SOL. 
  • A group of operators were removed from the Solana Foundation delegation program after being accused of sandwich attacks, Helius Labs CEO Mert Mumtaz posted on X.
  • To fend off a hostile takeover attempt by Riot Platforms, Bitfarms announced that it’s taking on a poison pill plan to dilute Riot’s stake if it continues buying shares.
  • Solana-based DePIN Io.net CEO Ahmad Shadid announced his resignation in a post on X, adding that Tory Green will take over.

The Morning Riff

Q: Is all this quiet a good thing?

We shouldn’t be so obsessed with price, but we are. 

The addictive thing about watching crypto is that it’s macro now — so anything big that happens in the world has the potential to send crypto haywire.

That turns doomscrolling into legitimate portfolio research. But it also conditions us to believe that nothing interesting is happening unless markets move up or down. 

At least sideways isn’t down.

— David Canellis

Unfortunately, my crystal ball recently went missing so I’m not sure I can say one way or another. 

Though, as I wrote above, there are a lot of catalysts ahead for the market. It’s pretty much a given that the Fed holds rates steady, but I’ve covered enough Jerome Powell press conferences to say that the man has a knack for giving the stock market a bad vibe at times, which could put pressure on bitcoin. 

We also still have some overhang from the Mt Gox repayments, and while the creditors may not opt to sell, it’s still going to cause some anxiety until it’s behind us. 

Time will tell I guess.

— Katherine Ross

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