Amid the current bear market in the crypto world, one Coloradan still sees value in the field and has co-created a new cryptocurrency: Clowncoin.

“We found that people loved making clown content. Clowns are very meme-able,” says Dave Mattarocci, a co-founder of Clowncoin. “There’s unlimited clown content in the world, whether that be the Joker or It or Ronald McDonald. … We incorporate the fun aspect. Clowns have been known to bring joy and laughter. And that’s what we want to bring, is joy and laughter and a fun time to investing.”

Mattarocci, who is based in Pueblo and works as a first responder, launched the meme coin back in May together with one other Coloradan and a handful of other individuals from around the U.S.

Those not closely following crypto might be wondering: What the hell is a meme coin?

“A meme coin is a cryptocurrency term for popular currencies, sometimes depicted with comical or animated memes, that are supported by enthusiastic online traders and followers. While meme coins may be fun, they are also highly risky investments and may hold little or no intrinsic value,” according to Investopedia. “Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and other currencies that may offer more entertainment than usability fall into this category. When buying or trading meme coins, it’s critical to understand the risks to help you avoid unexpected volatility and losses.”

In other words, people should not invest large amounts of money that they can’t afford to lose in meme coins.

While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether have significant dollar values and can be used to make purchases and even pay state taxes in Colorado, meme coins are less about funding your retirement and more about viral content and community.

Or, as Mattarocci puts it, “A meme coin technically is a coin without a utility, some sort of software, or whatever a utility coin would be. Meme coins are more community-based, more social media-based. The utility is more the community and what content you can create.”

Clowncoin has been “reaching out to local Colorado businesses and agencies that want to do collaborations” and also plans to “reach out to influencers and celebrities to do some charity stuff,” according to Mattarocci. So far, Clowncoin has posted original music videos to its YouTube channel that feature rap music videos about the cryptocurrency.

“I would really love for it to be a big Colorado thing. We really want it to be a people-run project. We want those who want to join the community and invest. We want them to be able to help out as much as they want to,” Mattarocci says.

Aside from Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, which have Shiba Inu dogs as their memes, there are also meme coins such as Pitbull, PepeCoin and Catcoin.

“We’re kind of actually built off of Catcoin. The majority of our core team came from Catcoin. We were actually pretty unhappy with the way their team was running the project,” says Mattarocci. “Once we launched [Clowncoin], we renounced our ownership to the community itself. Basically, we encourage our community members and our investors to help out and engage with the community, create original content for the cryptocurrency, and we’re looking to build this into a big thing. We want to have a safe, fun investment for people that are kind of weary on the side of cryptocurrency because it can be a risky world to get into.”

Although Clowncoin, which has about 400 investors, has a global reach, with people from Italy, the Czech Republic and Australia getting in on the meme coin’s action, the fact that two of its founders are from Colorado is no surprise.

The Centennial State has become a hub for Web3 and cryptocurrency technology, thanks to a robust tech scene along the Front Range and an annual crypto conference called ETHDenver. Additionally, Governor Jared Polis has taken a keen interest in promoting Colorado’s crypto-friendly environment, including by launching a program in September under which Coloradans can pay for state taxes using crypto. But that crypto scene doesn’t necessarily hit Pueblo.

“I know the Denver area is probably going to be the best spot for cryptocurrency. We don’t really have a whole lot on the southern end of the state,” Mattarocci says. “I’m going to start doing some booths at local events to try to just educate people about it. I’m actually doing a booth this weekend here in Pueblo at a local nerd convention.”

Cryptocurrencies have dropped significantly in value over the last year. The technology behind cryptocurrencies is extremely powerful and has incredible potential. But the high volatility of the currencies and the recent collapse of the FTX crypto trading company and the indictment of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, have left crypto critics with plenty of material to lob at crypto promoters.

“I’ve been victims of rug pulls, with people testing out their projects,” says Mattarocci. “That’s kind of when I fell in love with the idea of community-run projects. I found them safer.”

Right now, Clowncoin is available for purchase on PancakeSwap, a crypto trading platform.

Mattarocci notes that when Clowncoin launched, the initial investors put in $300 to create one quadrillion Clowncoin. The market cap for the meme coin ended up jumping to $50,000 on the first day and has hit a high of $70,000. Right now, Clowncoin’s market cap is floating around $20,000, “and that’s of course due to the real bad bear market at the moment,” according to Mattarocci.

That means that just $20 could instantly turn an investor into a Clowncoin trillionaire.

Although meme coins are often without meaningful monetary value, occasionally such cryptocurrencies go gangbusters. In fact, in mid-2021, Dogecoin hit a market cap high of $88.8 billion.

“If we reached a billion-dollar market cap, each trillion is worth a billion dollars,” Mattarocci says.