The Making of the $Turbo Meme Coin With ChatGPT: The Joke That Became a Realityby@ani-alexander
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8,177 reads

The Making of the $Turbo Meme Coin With ChatGPT: The Joke That Became a Reality

by Ani AlexanderMay 9th, 2023
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Rhett Mankind is an award-winning digital artist with over 20 years of experience in branding, advertising, and digital art. His works have been showcased in top galleries and auction houses, including Sotheby's and SuperRare. He has been teaching Digital and Crypto Art for years and has garnered a devoted following on YouTube. He is also an NFT collector (not a trader, though).

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Since many of you enjoyed my previous article: PEPE: Is The Frog Gonna Flip the Dog? (at least, that’s what Substack and HackerNoon are saying) I decided to write some more.

Last week, I found yet another story in the space that was quite intriguing and decided to dive into it.

Unsurprisingly, it is going to be about another meme coin - but this one will be quite different.

This time it’s a story of collaboration and co-creation between AI, the artist (Rhett Mankind), and the community.

It’s a story of how far an experiment can go and what might happen if you put your ego behind you.


Let’s go.

Who Is Rhett Mankind?

Since Chat GPT plays a vital role in this story (you will find out why later) I went to it to see what it says…

And this is what I’ve got:

Note: Please bear in mind that I used the free version though…

Sorry, Rhett :)


Rhett Mankind’s traditional background is in commercial art & design. He is an award-winning digital artist with over 20 years of experience in branding, advertising, and digital art. His works have been showcased in top galleries and auction houses, including Sotheby's and SuperRare.

He has been teaching Digital and Crypto Art for years and has garnered a devoted following on YouTube. He is also an NFT collector (not a trader, though).

Most of the crypto artists in the space have got into the space during the NFT hype cycle, but Rhett was there much earlier, and one of the things that set him apart is maybe this.

“I've been in crypto since 2013 but decided a few years ago to dedicate a year to learning markets. I stopped doing art and just studied trading and technical analysis for that year.”

So far, nothing too extraordinary it seems. So why did I even look into him and his story you might think?

Here comes the trigger.

The Experiment

As we all know, these are not good times for crypto artists. The bear market and crypto winter have caught up with them too, and it gets harder to sell their art. Unfortunately, I have seen many talented artists forced to go back to their boring soul-sucking 9-5 jobs.

Rhett himself admitted that “the digital space for selling art has been dead and

I've been in crypto art for quite a few years and this year has been absolutely

dead.  So I've been really struggling to get eyeballs on my work.”

At the same time though, he realized that it was the best time to experiment.

So “to try and get eyeballs on my artwork that wasn't selling at all” he came up with an idea and Tweeted it out positioning it as a joke.

He thought it was a fun experiment to do with his audience.

I think the hardest part for an artist for this experiment was what Rhett told he did, i.e., “put my artistic ego aside and I let it do all the thinking.”

Chat GPT came back with an outline of the things that Rhett was supposed to do. He took each point and fed it back to the AI.

He received many naming ideas and put the short-listed options as a poll on Twitter.

And the prevailing majority of 142 voters decided that it’s gonna be TurboToad.

After that, ChatGPT came up with the concept for the mascot image which he fed to Midjourney and received 4 versions for the community to vote for.

Note: Option B was chosen as a result

The AI also gave him the tokenomics, whitepaper, and code for the smart contract. That code was later reviewed by volunteers from the community and fine-tuned.

Not bad results for one day, don’t you think?

Then he built the website (all content for that one written by Chat GPT) and launched the Twitter account.

This is when Rhett deployed the token and tried to create a liquidity pool. But something unexpected happened: A bot came in and bought the entire liquidity pool (which was quite tiny since it was only the budget of $69 set in the beginning).

Hmmm, this is something the AI did not anticipate or warn him about…

Shame on you ChatGPT!

This is the point in the experiment where all of it might have been over. Could have easily been a RIP $TURBO moment…

BUT Rhett’s audience thought otherwise.

Now, ChatGPT had to tell what the options would be… since there is absolutely no budget left anymore to rely on.

Of the different suggested options, community crowdfunding was the one Rhett went with.

So the new setup ended up being:

Total supply: 69 billion tokens

9 billion of those taken by Rhett as a founder.

50 crowdfunding participants

The biggest pledge being 200-300 USD worth of ETH.

Total raised - $6669

The experiment was completed, the token was deployed and launched, participant tokens were distributed, and on day one, someone opened the first liquidity pool, so Rhett didn’t have to.

And here too things could have stopped… but hey - the story continues.


This experiment by itself is already quite impressive, but we all know that without traction and growth, it would have probably just ended up being just that: an interesting experiment showcasing what’s possible.

But there is more to this story, and the traction did come indeed.

Since this is the most common stage where web3 projects end up struggling - especially when we look at organic growth, I was curious to see how $TURBO gained exposure.

Rhett did have an audience in the space, but it was not massive, and his tweets about the experiment did not exactly go viral - so I asked him how did he gain traction.

Here is what Rhett said about that.

 he mentioned is what I stumbled upon first. It was a raw and unedited video explaining the experiment and his journey. It felt authentic and genuine. Many people (especially artists struggling in this market) resonated with what he was saying.

It was quite emotional too (one rarely sees a grown-up man cry).

Many felt inspired and started sharing it. More people saw it and found out about Turbo.

Looks like Rhett himself was surprised by the effect the video had.

“The amount of positive responses I receive from my YouTube video opening up about the process has brought so many tears. So many have seemed to understand where I was in life before launching this project and how success must feel.”

I think the fact that Rhett was doxxed, had been in the space for years, and had already built many sincere relationships with peer artists was a very helping factor.

The style of “building in public” for the launch as well as the fact that it is the first relatively well-known AI meme coin (I think there was another one before this, but not many had heard of it before Turbo..) also probably helped.

Eventually, bigger names joined and shared it with their audiences.

Pranksy got tokens and opened a liquidity pool on Uniswap, for example.

Pak liked the experiment too.

At this point, even Beeple has created a piece about it - with Elon Musk commenting on it.

Degen Mode Activated!

The token holders started demanding Rhett to initiate things (open Discord/Telegram, etc.) but his role from the beginning and the whole concept of this performance art experiment was to let the AI drive in the beginning, and at this stage, give it to the community to own and the market to decide what happens next.

Rhett gave the power to the community's hands.

As Rhett put it himself:

“To me, this project is built differently, I haven't had direct control over TURBO since its release and I'm following the ups and downs along with everyone else.”

Once a project gets to a certain size, it attracts tons of attention, and more people (including influencers) navigate toward it.

And by the time I am writing this, $TURBO has reached quite impressive results:

  • 16,000 holders

  • 100M+ Market cap

  • 84M+ Trading volume

This story would be too nice if it ended there, and that’s not how the DeFi space operates; we all know that, right?

There have been Twitter fights between meme communities, influencers who supported different meme coins…

Pranksy even had to address some of the accusations publicly here.

To be completely honest, I have not followed that side of the story, but I am sure you can research that yourself if you’re interested in that kind of stuff.

But I guess all that is part of the natural progression - once the token enters the DeFi market, there will always be people focused on price who would hype, FUD, and try to manipulate.

Unfortunately, greed and human nature (or a bug…) are part of the game.

More Progress

After the initial launch, here is what has evolved within these few weeks:

  • Manifold now accepts $TURBO as payment currency

  • $Turbo smart contract has been renounced.

  • Turbo Toad Mascot is CC0 now (so go and have fun!)


  • Looks like technology is not an evil force that came to take away jobs from us. If you are curious enough to play with it and approach it with an open mind, it can enable you to do things that you couldn’t do before without it.

  • Building sincere relationships is always the best strategy.

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment - you never know where it would lead you.

Opening up and sharing your story can inspire and help people - below is an example of a message Rhett has received.

  • Web3 has opportunities even when you think that the market is dead.

Cherry on Top

Remember why and how this story started?

Rhett wanted to “get eyeballs on my artwork that wasn't selling at all”... well looks like people are giving back by bidding on his art, and it is selling now.

The last question I asked Rhett was:

How involved do you plan to be with this experiment in the future - or do you feel your mission is done at this point?

And here is his response:

“It's still an interesting experiment to me so I will stay interested. I do try to always make it clear there are no promises, anything can happen, and likely the value you bring to the community is what you'll leave with. There is no inherent value in any of this except the value each of us brings. My mission was to launch, so that has been achieved, the initial goal in the first prompt was to reach the top 300 on Coingecko and we are currently outside of that, so that is still something I can ask ChatGPT going forward. I would also like to make a stronger link between the choices of the community and the advice given by AI so that is something still to be explored.”

We’ll keep exploring!


Memecoins are a highly speculative and risky asset class. The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice.

First published here