Today, we venture into ancient history, all the way back to Christmas 2023. From there we will trace the origins of the DEGEN token, explore how it emerged as the largest memecoin on Base, and outgrew that status to define a category of its own. Sit down, fellow travelers, it's a long journey that cites many Farcaster posts because that's where this history was made.

Farcaster-native memecoins

DEGEN wasn’t the first Base L2 memecoin to launch on Farcaster, the sufficiently decentralized social network. 

First came $POINTS, a satirical take on off-chain points by Rainbow Wallet and others. Then $WOWOW, referencing low-effort replies discouraged by Farcaster co-founder Dan Romero. And, of course, $FARTS, because… well, why not. 

Those early experiments proved that Farcaster is the perfect launchpad for memecoins: 

  • The audience is niche and crypto-savvy 
  • Onchain handles can be used to create lists for distribution
  • Farcaster channels are natural places to build communities 

And launching in a channel with an existing community is even better than building it from scratch. 

Airdrop 1

Christmas came early when Jacek, the lead dev behind DEGEN, announced his new project.

DEGEN announcement - Warpcast

Back then, the Farcaster community was still small, less than 2k daily active users. As the market still felt bearish, practically all of these users were committed builders and/or degens. 

Naturally, the /degen channel was one of the most popular hangouts on Farcaster. Launched by the Warpcast team as one of the first channels, it was a place to discuss crypto prices and various opportunities for getting rekt. 

$DEGEN Airdrop 1 (15% of the total supply of 37 billion) was allocated to Farcaster users who posted in the /degen channel, with higher allocations based on multipliers for various other actions (e.g., getting more engagement). The goal was to make distribution more fair, avoiding giving out disproportionate amounts to few "rich" users.

Degen airdrop Dune

Another 15% of the supply was dedicated to the liquidity pool. So theoretically, the price would only go to zero if everybody claimed and everybody sold — this created the floor for the price, as Jacek explained on Aburro.

The fair launch distribution immediately formed the core community of holders, who were indeed degens, many of them terminally onchain. They didn’t need to be sold on it. The story resonated with them. It reflected their identity. And it was a badge of honor showing that they are early adopters. It was an instant hit.

screenshot of Warpcast

Community-based branding 

Apart from the name and the ticker, DEGEN launched with almost no branding. 

Instead, the brand was built by the community from scratch. 

0xen.eth, @wake, @yes2crypto.eth, and other OGs played an outsized role in coining, defining, and embracing key community terms: 

  • Degentlemen — the native name of DEGEN holders 
  • Degenerational wealth — as the goal of the community 
  • Top hat — as the symbol and emoji that can be added in messages and names

The top hat playfully referenced the idea of being part of the new Farcaster aristocracy. Being early. Living in a different world, away from the vulgarities of Crypto Twitter. It was aspirational meme that could rally the early community. 

Degentlemen cabal 

When the Warpcast team dropped group chats as its latest feature, the DEGEN community jumped right into in. 

@0xen swiftly created the Degentlemen groupchat. Initially limited to just 200 people, all the spots quickly filled out. The chat was the who-is-who of the Faristocracy. Even a16z’s Marc Anderseen was in it (although briefly kicked out and then reinstated).

The chat became the heart of the conversation around $DEGEN and a source of alpha on the latest developments.  

Warpcast screenshot - Degentlemen chat

Logo design 

As one of the first bounties, Jacek called on the community to create the logo. 

The original placeholder logo was a poker chip with a dollar sign — something any degen would recognize. And it was purple to reflect its Farcaster-native nature. However, it was too generic.

In logo submissions, two traits dominated: 

  • Top hat — the dominant meme
  • Purple — the Farcaster purple to be precise, reflecting the origin of the token 
Warpcast screenshot - DEGEN logo bounty

Early Farcaster’s support 

All this $DEGEN-related activity likely affected Farcaster’s metrics — in a good way.

So Farcaster co-founder Dan Romero dropped a surprise feature: the top hat reaction for casts mentioning $DEGEN (see that hat on the next screenshot?)


DEGEN started to permeate the Farcaster community beyond degenerate traders. Builders were also looking into ways to tap in that energy. 

One early example is Bountycaster, which rolled out the support for bounties paid in $DEGEN tokens. 

Warpcast screenshot - Bountycaster announcement of DEGEN support

Degen Bot 

The cool thing about Farcaster is that it’s an open and (mostly) onchain — hackers can build anything they want without anyone’s permission.   

The next day after launch, @limone.eth launched a Farcaster bot that tracks buys and sells of DEGEN. And then casts the trades. 

Other users shared these casts, celebrating big buys and shaming sells. Some felt an obligation to explain their paperhand sells…

Warpcast screenshot of Degenbot

Basepaint Day 169

Collaborative painting on Basepaint was the perfect match for DEGEN’s community. So @chris24.eth proposed the theme of the day and it won.

Day 169 now has a floor price that’s significantly higher than most other ‘days’. With just 713 items, it's a rare onchain artifact. And a physical copy is proudly displayed in Jacek's office.

Liquidity mining rewards 

Of course, it was not all about the memes. Any memecoin two faces: 

  • meme — the idea, the lore, the culture around 
  • coin — the ticker, the liquidity, and onchain metrics. 

$DEGEN nailed both. The early liquidity mining rewards were lavish and open to anyone not just whales. 

And because $DEGEN is on Base, an L2 with cheap transactions and easy onboarding from Coinbase, lots of new people joined the LP game on Uniswap. 

Some of those people were doing this for the first time. They might have missed the DeFi summer due to high gas costs of deploying and managing liquidity. Now on Base anyone could add to the pool for less than a $1. Even LPing as little as $50 as an experiment made sense.  

And a public leaderboard gamified the process, spurring competition among degens. 

Screenshot of the leaderboard for DEGEN liquidity mining
Leaderboard for DEGEN liquidity mining


On January 26, Farcaster launched its latest killer feature: Frames, interactive apps embedded directly in the feed.

Jacek announced a bounty to create a Degen frame on Farcaster.

Builders responded by creating all sorts of things for DEGEN: 

  • Giveaways 
  • Minting NFTs with DEGEN
  • Games with DEGEN prizes 

And it was not limited to degens, the whole Farcaster community was excited about frames. Developers from across web3 suddenly turned to Farcaster.

Farcaster suddenly experienced the hockey stick growth — can you guess the Frames launch date on the charts?

Dune charts for Farcaster

The Spillout to Crypto Twitter

Along with Frames, the DEGEN price action caught the attention of Crypto Twitter. 

In a self-reinforcing loop, the growth of Farcaster and DEGEN brought new users. Farcaster doesn’t have a token so DEGEN became the de-facto FC coin. By doing something with $DEGEN, farmers thought they could farm Farcaster.   

So somewhere around early February, the number DEGEN holders shot up along with the price.

 “Killing zeros” from the DEGEN price was the name of the game. Degens, old and newly converted, rode the wave.


The $DEGEN price action and the meme momentum (mementum?) carried on and integrations started rolling in. Degentlemen were an attractive audience for protocol and dapp builders.

One early example was Timeswap, which unlocked leverage (degen's poison of choice).

Angel investing round 

In early February, a $1 million worth of ETH was swapped into $DEGEN. Turned out, that was Nick Tomaino and his VC fund 1confirmation.

Later, Jacek announced the completion of an angel investing round of 490 ETH or around $1.5 million at the time. The round featured the Farcaster elite, signaling continued support from core builders.  

DEGEN angel round

Feb 22: LP rewards claim 

The first round of liquidity rewards became claimable in late February. 

That was the first major test of the $DEGEN economy. Coupled with the surging price of ETH and the early bull run, many LPs and early traders were cashing out their gains. The DEGEN price temporarily dropped. But that proved to be a short-lived dip.

Airdrop 2 

Amid all the Frames madness, Jacek announced Airdrop 2.

The second airdrop revealed the tips component: get a free daily allocation of DEGEN to tip anyone on Farcaster. 

That move spurred the flood of posts, some of them were from farmers and spammers. Remember, that was also the time when Crypto Twitter first learned about Farcaster. Some of those new arrivals brought their bad habits (and bot farms).

Jacek came back with a fix, banning farmers and 3,3 posts tipping for tips. 

Eventually, the community found a way to organically tip DEGEN. Ass the price went up, daily allowances became worth substantial amounts in $ terms. It made more sense to give them out to those who truly contributed useful content.

Still, almost a third (!) of all casts now featured $DEGEN.

More liquidity: Aerodrome, first CEXes

The early dream of many $DEGEN holders was the Coinbase listing.

While it is yet to happen, the liquidity has diversified. 

First, Aerodrome, the Base version of Optimism’s Velodrome, brought a new source of yield and incentive rewards to LPs

Later in March, the first listings on centralized exchanges (CEXes) arrived: BitMart, HTX, BingX, Poloniex...

DEGEN is now the most widely listed Base token. This was purely organic, and game theory suggests more CEXes will be forced to join the game to take advantage of the demand. Nobody would want to miss out on gaining new clients.  

Apps with DEGEN

The strength and the size of DEGEN holders also made it very attractive for app builders.

Perl, a Farcaster betting game, was an early success. It integrated DEGEN as its currency. Jacek rewarded Perl with a 10 million $DEGEN grant.


Then came the vampires. 

Drakula, a Web3 version of TikTok by $ALEX Masmej, launched with rewards in $DEGEN. It was the first consumer app to use a memecoin as major part of its GTM strategy. And it worked.


What’s next

It’s increasingly clear that $DEGEN is now more than a memecoin. 

Starting out as a community-shaped brand, it evolved into an unofficial Farcaster token with a wide-ranging utility. Its strong price performance likely provided runways for a new degeneration of builders and creators. 

The launch of DEGEN's own Layer-3 network is the next step in its evolution. Using $DEGEN for gas and built specifically for degens, you can expect more memecoins to launch on the L3, spinning the flywheel for both DEGEN, Farcaster, and the rest of the ecosystem.

Whatever happens next, one thing is clear: other projects will study DEGEN's success and will try to copy pages from its unbelievable history.