Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) took off in 2021, and the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) has been the leading light. When the project launched in April 2021, each BAYC NFT was available to mint for 0.08 ETH (approximately $220). Since then, the price of the BAYC has skyrocketed and (as of February 2022) costs as much as 94 ETH!
The project, started by Yuga Labs, contains four anonymous founders: Gargamel, Gordon Goner, Emperor Tomato Ketchup, and No Sass. Two of these founders were later doxxed and revealed as Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club consists of 10,000 digital collectible Bored Ape NFTs stored as data on the Ethereum blockchain. Owning a BAYC NFT provides ownership of the art and access to an exclusive Yacht club pass that includes new NFTs, NFT upgrades, online membership, and in-person events and meetups.
The first of these benefits was “The Bathroom.” It gives the ape-holders access to a canvas to paint a single pixel on a virtual bathroom wall and create a collaborative artwork.
After the initial mint, BAYC developed a detailed project roadmap to benefit the holder. In June 2021, the team launched the Bored Ape Kennel Club, the members of the BAYC were offered the chance to adopt an NFT from the Bored Ape Kennel Club for free. The only payment was the gas fee to mint an NFT. These NFTs had similar traits to Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. The Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs were not available for the public to mint; being reserved for holders made them exclusive. Over 9.6 Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs were claimed and are currently available to purchase on the secondary marketplace OpenSea with a floor price that exceeds 7 ETH.
In August 2021, the BAYC team released a collection of 20,000 NFTs as part of the Mutant Ape Yacht Club. This collection consisted of NFTs with similar traits to the BAYC NFTs but a mutant theme. The owners of the original BAYC NFTs were airdropped a mutant serum vial to breed new mutant NFTs. The public was able to mint the remainder for 3 ETH. A Mutant Ape Arcade game was also developed with the MAYC collection. People who won the game within three days received a POAP token. The mint ended within an hour due to the project's popularity. The lowest Mutant Ape Yacht Club is available to purchase at 17.9 ETH.
After releasing these two new collections, the BAYC project decided not to bring any more NFTs to the market and now focuses on utilities.
One reason for the popularity of BAYC is its ability to keep up with changing trends. While many projects offer art and promise utilities that never seriously materialize, BAYC provided utilities that took off. Unlike CryptoPunks, the market leader in the NFT world, thanks to its early start in 2017, only focused on the artwork, the Bored Ape Yacht Club offers much more than art. Following the popular 2021 trend of releasing online games as part of the offering, in December 2021, it was announced that BAYC was collaborating with Animoca Brands to launch BAYC Play-to-Earn Game.
The BAYC project is successful as it has a community focus. There is a solid online community made up of members and fans of the BAYC, and the project has hosted numerous in-person events. Events have taken place in New York, California, and Bored Ape member meetups in Hong Kong and the UK. In November 2021, an event was organized in New York, featuring a yacht party and special appearances by Aziz Ansari and Chris Rock.
The BAYC project has broken away from being an online phenomenon to influencing the real world. Development has seen physical merchandise available for members to buy. Owners can create merchandise using art from the NFTs they own. The BAYC project has donated over $4.5 to charitable organizations.
The popularity of BAYC saw celebrities and well-known names buying the NFTs. Illustrious names such as Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Justine Bieber, and many others own BAYC NFTs. Involvement by well-known names has fuelled this interest and has contributed to the high price seen today. The combination of celebs and the high cost has caused the NFT to become a status symbol in the same manner as a Rolex watch.
In January 2021, the sales of BAYC NFTs surpassed 1 billion dollars; this is a premier NFT project leading the way in the NFT world. Many more utility developments are in the pipeline. As a result of its success, “copycats” have sprung—projects offering similar artwork and utilities. If BAYC provides it, you know other projects will follow soon.