The popularity of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has undoubtedly taken the world by storm. And true enough, this seemingly avant-garde movement slowly permeated through the art scene and into media outlets. It saw global recognition, mainstream adoption, and cultural acceptance within and beyond the cryptocurrency sphere. In recent years, the demand for these NFTs has soared to new heights as they have been associated with prestige, exclusivity, and wealth. This astronomical demand led to the mass production of various collections, each with a unique artistic style, utility, and intricacies.
True enough, the trend brought in a large volume of investors and an inflow of money. Many NFTs, even as of this writing, are being traded for hundreds and thousands of dollars. Without a doubt, this has also created an entirely new economy.
One collection associated with affluence and power is the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). Since CryptoPunks has dominated the NFT world for quite a while, BAYC has risen to new heights and has been impacted in recent years.
Within a year, the price of these NFTs skyrocketed; at one point, these so-called “Apes” sold for $200,000 apiece. Beyond doubt, having an ape as a profile picture (PFP) on Twitter and elsewhere has instantly become a sign of exclusivity and wealth.
However, possessing this token goes beyond money and power. Owning any of these Apes also meant the holder could enjoy its benefits. They grant unparalleled access to one of the world’s most exclusive social clubs. They want unique on-chain and in-real-life (IRL) events only holders can enjoy. Further, as rightful owners of these Ape NFTs, holders also own the commercial rights to these PFPs and are legitimately allowed to monetize their holdings however they want to.
If you want to understand the Bored Ape Yacht Club, look no further. Here we will tackle its grassroots to its founders, all its complexities, and everything you need to know. This article will closely examine the BAYC collection and expansive ecosystem, why and how it rose to popularity, and which personalities and celebrities are part of the community. This overview you can refer to highlights the essential aspects of these Apes, their background, and what lies ahead for this colossal entity.
What is the Bored Ape Yacht Club?
The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a club unlike any other. In essence, BAYC is a collection of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs. These are unique digital collectibles built on the Ethereum blockchain. Each Bored Ape gives its holders ownership, access to the club, and coveted benefits.
And since only 10,000 Bored Apes will ever exist, collectors and investors treat it as a grail–a prized possession, a badge they can wear that exudes wealth and prominence.
You can check here to see the listed Apes for sale on OpenSea, one of the biggest marketplaces for NFTs.
Embedded in each Bored Ape NFT is its mix of randomly generated unique traits such as clothing, headgear, facial expression, and many more. These can be found as ERC-721 tokens on Ethereum’s blockchain, like other NFTs.
As opposed to the standalone pieces of art, commonly known as 1/1s, in that only one piece of the artwork exists, these Bored Apes are editions of the collection. To create multiple and different versions of the same “ape,” creators typically use a program to render generative art, a process in which variations are subject to an algorithm, thereby creating mixed combinations of traits derived from a database.
For example, the BAYC NFT collection has various hats, clothing, jewelry, et cetera. All these come in varying degrees of rarity, some even reaching hundreds of ETH in price.
The gripping effect of these Bored Apes has led to the collection becoming one of the most popular PFPs in the market, so much so that several celebrities and prominent figures like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Stephen Curry have become part of the growing community. Here are some of the known owners.
How much is BAYC before?
The NFT collection was launched as a pre-sale on April 21, 2021. Each ape cost 0.08 ETH, which during that time, amounted to just roughly $200.
Fast forward to now, each BAYC is currently priced at 85 ETH or roughly $150,000. At its peak, these Apes were sold for 100 ETH and more.
How did BAYC start?
Interestingly, the Bored Ape Yacht Club was anonymously launched by four developers with the pseudonyms Gargamel, Gordon Goner, Emperor Ketchup, and Sass. All founders remained anonymous until February 2022, when their names were revealed in a BuzzFeed interview.
Soon after, they publicly stated their real identities on Twitter: Gargamel is Greg Solano. He is a co-founder of Yuga Labs and a writer and book critic. Solano grew up in Florida, and this is where he reportedly met Wylie Aronow, alias Gordon Goner. Sass and Ketchup’s real names are Zeshan and Kerem, respectively. The two are software engineers and have a vast knowledge of computer science. These four came together and created Yuga Labs, the company that would be responsible for the creation and launch of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The lead artist behind the collection is a woman with the alias Seneca or All-Seeing Seneca. Other artists involved were Thomas Dagley, Migwashere, and a couple that chose to remain anonymous.
The goal of Yuga Labs was to build a media empire focused on NFTs. And making the BAYC collection was the first step toward this vision.
Solano and Aronow conceptualized the idea for the Bored Ape Yacht Club. As trivial as it may sound, they first thought the art was more intended for display on a bathroom wall than the traditional canvas. Building on that idea, they wanted the bathroom to be inside a bar that was exclusive, accessible only to members of that club. Thus, and as hilarious and mundane as that may sound, the idea of the Bored Ape Yacht Club was born.
They decide that so-called “apes would run the club.” And these apes would all soon become billionaires, taken from the crypto jargon “aping in,” which means haphazardly buying a token without thorough research and study. Years after succeeding in their efforts, the apes would find themselves “bored,” spending and lounging around the bar with their friends. That was the essence of BAYC, and the founders built around this.
The storyline and progression of BAYC are pretty amusing. On April 23, 2021, Gordon Goner announced the pre-sale launch on the Discord server. Surprisingly, the announcement met with almost zero or no reactions.
It didn’t even sell out immediately after its launch. The launch of the product resulted in only a few hundred sales. It also bears noting that after these purchases, those who bought could not see their ape NFTs immediately. Fittingly, one may say they may have blindly “aped” or bought into the project.
Out of nowhere, what happened next was extraordinary. Famous NFT trader Pranksy bought 250 of these apes. He then tweeted about it to his followers. From just a tweet, it then spread like wildfire and quite literally changed everything. BAYC sold out 12 hours later.
Within a month, BAYC secondary sales began to ramp up and pick up fast. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) started to kick in as more and more collectors wanted to be part of that social club. The demand, in turn, drove the price up as only a finite number of BAYC were listed for sale. And the rest is history. This impetus triggered BAYC to scale into the gargantuan enterprise it is today.
Why is BAYC so popular?
What makes it unique, and why is it considered a revolutionary NFT collection? True, any NFT project may present itself with access to future events, merchandise, or other things. However, BAYC set itself apart from the rest in the very beginning. The founding team made the utility clear in a detailed roadmap. That, consequently, keeps the growing community interested up to this same day. All of this has led to an increase in the cost of BAYC NFTs.
Besides the provable aesthetic uniqueness of each of its NFTs, BAYC proved that they are more than just a PFP. It continues to grant a slew of benefits that its holders enjoy perpetually. Let us take a closer look at each one.
What is the utility of BAYC?
As mentioned, the team launched the project with a very detailed roadmap. It incentivizes holders to follow along with the project’s efforts. Moreover, the relatable attributes of the BAYC NFTs made it perfect online avatars that were easily recognizable, alongside the prestige that came with it. Initially, one of the perks of owning a Bored Ape was access to the “bathroom,” which is essentially just a virtual canvas or hangout place accessible only to holders of the NFT. They are allotted 15 minutes and can freely write or doodle whatever they want with no restrictions. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Since then, the BAYC community has received different benefits, to wit:
Commercial usage rights to their apes: This means they can monetize their apes into an assortment of merchandise like shirts, mugs, et cetera, and even sell the actual print of their apes.
Exclusive merchandise: BAYC released their merch line, limited to only Bored Ape owners.
Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) – this was also airdropped exclusively to Bored Ape owners as a separate tradeable collection. 1 Bored Ape = 1 Dog. Imagine getting airdropped (free of charge) an NFT worth thousands of dollars. At this time of writing, each BAKC costs almost $12,000 (7 ETH)
Mutant Ape Yacht Club is another exclusive NFT collection released to its holders and the public.
Voting rights – holders were given a say in where the project’s funds were allocated to. Multiple initiatives have been launched since then, including various donations to different charities.
Otherside is one of its most significant projects to date. The Otherside aims to be a “gamified, interoperable metaverse currently under development. The game blends mechanics from massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and web3-enabled virtual worlds. Think of it as a meta RPG where the players own the world, your NFTs can become playable characters, and thousands can play together in real-time.”
The Bored Ape community is growing dynamically and in a fast-paced manner — with a roadmap geared toward providing continuous utility to its members. Recent updates have announced more community-centric utilities in the pipeline, including a scavenger hunt, BAYC project updates, games, and others.
Why is BAYC so expensive?
Owning this high-priced NFT that is easily recognizable globally can be likened to holding a valuable traditional painting, say the Mona Lisa. Its value derives from the fair value appraisal of collectors and the prestige it brings to the owner. And the only way to join this club is to purchase it via secondary at around 85 ETH ($145,000). Holders are often regarded as powerful and wealthy, evidence of their space achievements.
A segment of some of the users who buy these NFTs look at them as an investment. There’s a finite supply; therefore, investors can trade its fluctuating, often volatile price in the market. Numerous Bored Ape owners also have had the opportunity to sell their apes for a life-changing profit. The highest-selling BAYC NFT of all time, Ape #8817, raked in $3,408,000 at a Sotheby’s Metaverse auction in October 2021. And as previously stated, these owners have the right to use the Bored Apes commercially.
There is already a robust community centered around BAYC. Its foundation is steadfast and continues to grow daily as more holders enter its community and ecosystem. Further, many celebrities and personalities have also jumped on board.
What is truly remarkable about it is that NFTs, and in this instance, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, have allowed people from different walks of life to change their lives drastically and connect with their holders on so many levels. Anonymous holders (even doxxed ones, too) interact freely and build connections and partnerships inside the BAYC server. Nothing has been more empowering.
And the rapport and connection these apes build amongst each other are truly indicative of how unwavering and innovative the community is—apes from different industries discuss and exchange ideas on innovations in tech, culture, finance, and more.
In March 2022, Yuga Labs announced it had acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits. CryptoPunks has a total traded volume of 976K ETH ($1,657,882,400) whereas Meebits comes in second with 126K ETH ($214,226,460). Such an acquisition put Yuga Labs in control of three of the most valuable NFT collections. That was a significant move in the space and can be considered a consolidation of communities. A “buy-out,” if you will. According to Yuga Labs, this decision aimed to foster a community of builders. Similar to their BAYC collection, all Intellectual Property (IP), commercial, and exclusive licensing rights will be transferred to these NFT holders. That empowers them to create and use their NFTs like BAYC however they see fit.
The $APE token (ApeCoin)
March 2022 was a big month for Yuga Labs. Within a few days of the acquisition announcement, they further shook the public by announcing the launch of a new token — ApeCoin ($APE). As described, ApeCoin is a “token for culture, gaming, and commerce used to empower a decentralized community building at the forefront of web3.”
Specifically, the $APE will serve as a governance token for the future of the Bored Ape community. Notably, the token wasn’t created just by BAYC (though the founders are involved). No further announcements have been made as of late as to the other uses of $APE.
Yuga Labs receive more funding
From the recent conclusion of Yuga Labs’ $450 million funding round led by Silicon Valley investor Andreessen Horowitz in March of 2022, they now have a significant funding for expenditures and expansion.
For starters, they are building on the virtual world called “Otherside,” as previously mentioned in this article. It is one of the most significant initiatives of the Bored Ape NFT ecosystem we have ever seen. It is slated to be launched as a game similar to an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). Here, players will be free to roam the Otherside metaverse. A British company, Improbable, also powers it, and so we can be sure to expect great things from this. The Otherside expects to break new ground in a virtual world connected to the BAYC ecosystem. You can learn more about it and its developments here.
The team plans to open an actual clubhouse in Miami with heavy financial funding, expand its merchandise, launch more events, and intensify media offerings. Yuga Labs has unequivocally decided to fast-tracking their media empire built upon NFTs.
The future of BAYC
From a humble 0.08 ETH pre-sale in 2021 to a secondary market price of 85 ETH ($150,000) and over $1 billion in sales, BAYC is truly a testament to success. Within a year, it continues to deliver to its stakeholders. What started as mere access to inscribing pixels on bathroom walls has now transformed into a pivotal access point to limitless possibilities and opportunities.
Despite the many criticisms it has faced, and how it has grown too mainstream, it remains relentless in its pursuit of greatness. BAYC and Yuga Labs are not disappearing anytime soon. On the contrary, we can expect a lot more from this powerhouse.
This article is written by Paolo Deyto. This article is not financial advice.