The Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks NFT collections never lacked attention and demand, and now the two legendary NFT collections have merged, garnering even more buzz.
A Blockbuster Deal for BAYC
Yuga Labs, the parent company of the celebrity-heavy BAYC clique, has acquired the rights to distribute Larva Labs’ equally popular CryptoPunks and Meebits collections. This creates an NFT behemoth with a staggering $5B in digital art market capitalization, and it could be the start of an NFT consolidation spree.
The CryptoPunks set was released as a limited series in 2017 and is credited with inspiring the development of the ERC-721 standard for the exchange of non-fungible tokens and digital collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT series gained popularity due to a number of celebrity endorsements and investments, such as Justin Bieber spending nearly US$1.8 million on two Bored Ape NFTs in the span of a week.
Others who have ‘aped into” the BAYC realm and helped raise the NFT market profile include former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, Post Malone, Snoop Dogg, Mark Cuban, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eminem, and Paris Hilton, to name just a few. Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, the two creators behind the BAYC set, recently had their mysterious identities revealed after hiding behind the Gargamel and Gordon Goner digital personas.
The Center of NFT Gravity
According to the official statement, they are the founders of Yuga Labs, which now owns the most valuable NFT properties and intends to become the center of gravity for all things digital art:
“We’re working with our legal teams to finalize the new terms and conditions for both collections, which we hope to share with the community soon. We’re further aligning CryptoPunks and Meebits with the web3 ethos by handing over these rights, and we expect a wide range of third-party developers and community creators to incorporate CryptoPunks and Meebits into their web3 projects… NFTs have always been about culture for us. Our goal has always been to create a community-owned brand that extends far beyond NFTs, and we’re excited to be able to bring CryptoPunks and Meebits along for the ride.”
Yuga Labs will be “the ideal stewards of the CrytoPunks and Meebits,” according to Larva Labs founders Matt Hall and John Watkinson. “In their hands, we are confident that they will continue to be vital, thriving projects in the emerging decentralized web,” they add, while also announcing that they will not personally transfer to the new entity, but will instead work on separate projects.
To assuage CryptoPunk NFT owners’ surprise at the merger, Yuga Labs’ first announcement of the Larva Labs sets acquisition was to confirm that they will transfer the IP (intellectual property) rights of individual NFTs to their buyers.
That’s what Yuga Labs does with its BAYC collection, but it’s something Larva was hesitant to grant CryptoPunks’ owners, despite the fact that it’s long been a pet peeve of theirs. The acquisition price is unknown, but the new mega non-fungible token entity may become a prime target for the NFT and digital art market regulation clouds that are gathering on the horizon.
Jay Speakman is a technology writer based in San Francisco, California. He writes on the topics of blockchain, cryptocurrency, DeFi and other disruptive technologies. Clients include Avalanche, Be[in]Crypto, Trust Machines and several blogs devoted to blockchain gaming. He will not rest until fiat currency is defeated.