Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were one of the hottest trends in the blockchain sector throughout 2021. The rise in the popularity of items like art being listed on the blockchain was unprecedented. According to blockchain tracking platform, DApp Radar, sales of NFTs reached $25 billion last year.
Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a limited NFT collection of 10,000 unique apes with trendy outfits in front of colourful backgrounds living on the Ethereum Blockchain. According to its website, the token doubles as a membership to an exclusive club for owners of the NFT.
Owning a piece from the NFT collection has now become a status symbol and celebrities like Steph Curry and Post Malone have been falling over themselves to be associated with the strange art.
The Ape NFTs are all named according to numbers, 1 – 10,000, and sell for an average of 94 ETH ($280,000) per NFT. The price increases with different peculiarities like urban clothes, facial hair, and other accessories. Apes with the golden fur are rare, and so sell for much — one sold in January 2022 for $1.3 million. Another with gold fur and laser eyes, two rare traits, went for $3 million.
Origin of the Bored Apes Yacht Club
The Bored Apes NFT collection was released for presale in April 2021 on the crypto-friendly social media platform, Discord. The four creators of the popular collection were pseudonymous for months, going by the names Gordon Goner, Gargamel, No Sass, and Emperor Tomato Ketchup.
All four founders were revealed by the online magazine, Buzzfeed on February 4, 2022, to be middle-aged men with no prior inkling that they would become multimillionaires via NFTs. Gargamel is Greg Solano, a writer and book critic; Gordon Goner is 35-year-old Wylie Aronow; Emperor Tomato Ketchup is Kerem; and No Sass is Zeshan.
Gordon Goner and Gargamel are long time friends who entered the crypto space during the boom of 2017. They got the idea for BAYC sometime in 2021. Gargamel invited Sass and Emperor Tomato Ketchup to build the tech. Together, they formed the company, Yuga Labs.
Both new invitees were clueless about crypto and wrote their first code of Solidity, the language for smart contracts in February 2021, two months before the presale event of the BAYC.
The presale didn’t generate a lot of buzz and the release was under the radar for the first few weeks then something changed. Emperor Tomato Ketchup told Rolling Stone, “We were moving so slowly in that week-long presale. I think we made something between $30,000 and $60,000 total in sales.
“And then, overnight, it exploded. All of us were like, Oh fuck, this is real now. The 10,000 tokens, each originally priced at 0.08 Ethereum (ETH), around $300 had sold out.”
The BAYC collection has now gone on to make over one billion dollars in sales revenue.
Why celebrities love BAYC
The BAYC has grown from being a regular NFT collection to a status symbol and a lifestyle brand. Here’s why;
The list of celebrities that own BAYC NFTs is quite long, spanning different industries from sports to music to business. Gary Vaynerchuk, Eminem, Kevin Hart, Paris Hilton, and Neymar are some of the celebrities who own Bored Apes. You can view the public list here.
Other celebrities want to be associated with these names and be part of a project they’re in so they would naturally want to buy a Bored Ape NFT.
Brand collaborations and community
Bored Apes has become a movement, collaborating with top brands like Adidas and organising meetups for members all over the world. The NFT collection is also limited, with a total of 10,000 pieces, most of which have been continually resold and bought.
Ownership of the token also grants you access to an exclusive Ape Club on the metaverse. This air of exclusivity is a scenario that celebrities and popular people love. Think of it as an exclusive social club for rich people.
In November 2021, the community held a weekend of festivities for owners of Bored Apes in New York. The event featured an actual yacht party and a concert that had appearances from Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari, and The Strokes.
Mutant Apes and the Kennel Club
In June 2021, owners of BAYC NFTs were given the rare ability to “adopt” a pet dog for their apes. The offer lasted a week and was free. Bored Apes collectors only had to pay the gas fees to mint the NFTs. As at the time of the publication, one Kennel Club NFT has a floor price of 6 ETH.
On August 20, 2021, the team also introduced a new NFT collection of 20,000 Mutant Apes in the form of the Mutant Ape Yacht Club. Mutant apes were created in one of two ways: either expose a Bored Ape NFT to a special Mutant Serum or mint a Mutant Ape directly from the platform sale.
BAYC became the most used profile picture NFT, overtaking older collections like Cryptopunks, which has been around since 2017. The collection has grown to become a subculture in the NFT space and general pop culture. This is majorly due to the founders’ commitment to the work and the community as a whole.
Unlike many NFT collections, which are listed just to make quick money from a trending sector, BAYC is working tirelessly to build an entire ecosystem around the collection and exist outside the blockchain. It’ll be amazing to see what the community does next.