Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a limited-edition series of 10,000 ape-themed NFT artworks hosted on the Ethereum blockchain, each with different and unique attributes. Like CryptoPunks, which kickstarted the NFT artwork craze, Apes have become tremendously popular and valuable and have become a status symbol in the crypto sphere, often displayed on Twitter and social media profiles.
However, unlike Punks, Bored Apes offer far more than just lucrative bragging rights. Holding an Ape gives the owner access to a series of exclusive members’ benefits and opportunities to participate in other projects, with new features and NFT drops being hyped on social media and hotly anticipated by the wider crypto world. Each of these rewards core BAYC members, while providing new opportunities for an expanding community to get involved. Examples include Mutant Apes, the Bored Ape Kennel Club, ApeCoin, and the ‘Otherside’ metaverse. The stunning success of BAYC is down to the way the creators have integrated Ape ownership into this wider ecosystem.
As a result, Apes are some of the most celebrated NFTs in existence. They regularly change hands on OpenSea or Rarible, but the floor price (the minimum offer on the market) is currently around 120 ETH or around $370,000 – while the rarest ones sell for millions of dollars.
BAYC is the brainchild of Yuga Labs. The initial run of 10,000 NFTs was released by the four founders, who go by the pseudonyms Gargamel, Gordon Goner, Emperor Tomato Ketchup, and No Sass, in April 2021. To ‘ape’ is crypto slang meaning to buy into a project quickly due to FOMO, without researching it properly first. ‘Aping’ has become as much a badge of honour as a mark of shame among so-called degen traders, who aim for high rewards no matter the level of risk.
The series had a mint price of 0.08 ETH, meaning that those who were able to buy back then, just a year ago, only spent around $200 on their NFTs – and are sitting on at least 200,000% returns today.
Just like CryptoPunks and many other NFT projects since, Bored Apes were minted with random characteristics, and display differences across seven different categories of trait:
Not only is every Ape unique, but certain Apes are statistically rarer because they have a combination of rare traits. Website RarityTools allows you to browse Apes by these characteristics and determine how rare they are as a result. For example, over 1,300 Apes have Brown or Dark Brown fur, while only 46 Apes have Solid Gold fur. The floor price on the latter is around 10 times higher than the former.
Alongside the quality and inherent humour of the artwork, the rarity of different attributes has given Apes an immediate collectibility. But what has turned Bored Apes into blue-chip NFTs with legendary status in the cryptosphere is the constant stream of developments and new features put out by Yuga Labs.
The Bored Ape Ecosystem
The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a cluster of different projects that add further value to Ape holders and the broader crypto community. These strike a clever balance between exclusivity – providing perks for Ape holders – and welcoming new users into the fold, albeit at a kind of second-tier level.
For example, the Mutant Ape Yacht Club was open to BAYC members for free. Existing Ape holders were airdropped one of three types of a serum at random. These serums either enabled Ape holders to mint a new Mutant Ape with similar attributes to their original ape or, if they received a special type of serum, they were able to mint a completely new Mutant Ape – meaning its traits were not tied to their existing Ape and stood a chance of being rarer still. At the same time, Mutant Apes could be minted by anyone for 3 ETH in a public sale. A limited total of 20,000 Mutant Apes were created.
This was followed by the Kennel Club, which was only open to Ape holders, who were able to mint a free dog NFT, again with different rarity traits. For an initial period of time, when NFTs from the Bored Ape Kennel Club were sold, 2.5% of the price was donated to animal charities. At the time of writing, there are rumours of a land drop for BAYC members in Otherside, the Bored Ape metaverse.
Bored Apes are therefore a kind of high-value ‘Access All Areas’ pass to new NFT launches, as well as to other services like games and the BAYC Bathroom, a graffiti wall for members. Ape holders can draw a new pixel on the wall every 15 minutes in what is described as a ‘collaborative art experiment for the cryptosphere. A members-only canvas for the discerning minds of crypto twitter.’
One of the most hyped coins of 2022 has been ApeCoin, which is the native currency of the Bored Ape ecosystem. The coins, which took the form of regular ERC20 tokens, were airdropped in March to Bored Ape and Mutant Ape holders, each of which received 15% of the total coin supply of 1 billion ApeCoins (making Bored Apes twice as valuable as Mutant Apes, in ApeCoin drop terms). ApeCoins were almost immediately listed by major exchanges, making them available to the entire crypto community.
ApeCoins serve several purposes:
- They are the governance token for the ApeCoin DAO, enabling members to vote on allocating funds from the Ecosystem Fund, select partnerships, and so on.
- BAYC currency: the primary form of cash for products and services within the Apes ecosystem.
- Access token to perks and special services.
- Incentives for game and dApp developers, since ApeCoin is integrated in these across the BAYC world.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club has caught the attention of the crypto and NFT space, thanks to a combination of intrinsic appeal, clever marketing, and strong network effect. Yuga Labs continues to expand the ecosystem and release new features, rewarding existing Ape holders and minting new millionaires with every airdrop and feature launch. That looks set to continue as the project has achieved critical mass and momentum: Bored Apes have achieved the same legendary status as CryptoPunks, something that few NFT series can claim.
Otherside, the Bored Apes metaverse, looks set to be the venue for some exciting new developments, with Land sales being announced and a rumoured airdrop of Land taking place to holders of Bored Apes and Mutant Apes. Yuga Labs acquired the IP of Larva Labs in March, including CryptoPunks and Meebits – bringing these other two fantastically successful NFT projects under the same roof and making them a part of Otherside. Expect a lot more announcements, hype, and rumours from the Bored Apes Yacht Club in the near future.