The juggernaut that is the Bored Ape Yacht Club shows no sign of slowing down. The founding company, Yuga Labs, announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency which will be leveraged to continue to build the ecosystem around the popular NFT collection. Aptly titled ApeCoin, it will be the “primary token for all new products and services” from the company.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will be familiar with the meteoric success story that is the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The cartoon monkeys are the most coveted NFTs in crypto, with the highest floor price of 85 ETH ($238,000), above even CryptoPunks (62 ETH = $174,000). They have set the template for how to succeed, focusing not only on the art – which, akin to a lot of NFTs, is not anything especially unique – but also on building a community.
It is this community aspect that has separated them so successfully from the crowd. Once you own a Bored Ape, you gain access to an exclusive club, filled with members-only benefits. There are much-publicised member yacht parties in Miami, exclusive merchandise and airdropped prizes to name a few. IP rights were also granted to owners, which is often not the case with NFTs.
Another boon to the collection was the influx of celebrities. Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Fallon and Steph Curry are just a few of the celebrities who purchased Apes. Setting them as their Twitter avatars, the publicity the sales attract, alongside the prestige and desirability that comes along with these high-profile celebs, serves as the best kind of advertising.
The founders are not slowing down. Earlier this week, they announced they had purchased the IP rights to CryptoPunks, the second biggest collection in the space. The narrative was always that BAYC and CryptoPunks were rivals, the two most coveted collections in the space, so the acquisition was completely out of left-field. Think Apple and Google merging – it’s a staggering deal. The floor price of BAYC jumped 18% on the news.
And they’re not resting on their laurels, now launching a new cryptocurrency to weave into the rapidly-expanding ecosystem.
ApeCoin will be set up independently of Yuga Labs. It will be overseen by ApeCoin DAO, and therefore the community will oversee governance, with each ApeCoin token representing one vote. 1 billion ApeCoin tokens will be made available and sales will be used to fund the DAO.
Initial plans are for a play-to-earn blockchain game to be released in the coming months, with ApeCoin slated to be used as the in-game currency. The DAO plan to use funds for in-game development, production of merchandise and the launch of further events. The idea is also the ApeCoin may go beyond the BAYC ecosystem – Benji Bananas, another game, will support the currency, and the hope is that more crypto games will follow suit.
I did notice, however, that despite ApeCoin being set up independently of Yuga Labs, they will still be involved. A sizeable chunk of tokens will be retained – 15% – which will grant them significant voting power. So yes, it will be a decentralised entity, but let’s not look past the fact that the team will have substantial sway in developments going forward. Exacerbating this is the fact BAYC’s founders will get 14% of tokens, while 15% of tokens are going to the first ever owners of Bored Apes. Finally, those working on the DAO’s launch are receiving 8%.
If you’re keeping count, that equates to over half the tokens already distributed, something which would gives me pause for thought here. Sure, the minds behind the BAYC project have done a masterful job at turning these cartoons into a dominant empire, but it would be nice to see a more decentralised, community-driven distribution of the tokens. I’d be careful here, and it will be itneresting to track what the aforementioned groups do with their tokens on the open market.
Tokenomics aside, however, it’s another sign that the unstoppable force that is the BAYC is not slowing down. An expansion into blockchain gaming is ambitious and aggressive. But with 7 day volume at $33 million, celebrities queueing up to get involved and the entire crypto world dreaming of owning one – why not exploit the mass popularity of the collection and try build the empire even more?