A JPEG of an ape for a million dollars? CoinMarketCap Academy takes a deep dive into the most popular NFT collection to find out the rationale behind its fame. Read more!
With the identities of the owners recently unveiled by Buzzfeed in a controversial report, NFTs from the collection have made it into the possession of many A-List celebrities. From the likes of Eminem to Steph Curry, countless celebrities have bought into the NFT hype and purchased JPEGs from Bored Ape Yacht Club for as high as over $2 million.
So what is it about the BAYC that made it so popular in such a short duration?
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What Exactly Is Bored Ape Yacht Club?
In order to understand why so many big names are buying into this specific collection, we should first establish what this collection, or "club" is.
It must be understood that the owners of the NFTs do not necessarily own the picture or the JPEG, and nor is that JPEG of any value, rather it is the certification of ownership that they pay millions for. That certification is their members-only ticket into exclusive parties and events hosted by fellow BAYC NFT owners.
Founders Unveiled by BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed Controversy: Doxing Accusations
Doxxing is the term used when someone leaks personal information about a person in an attempt to make it easier for them to get harassed.
One of Notopolous' reasonings behind the article was that most people believed that the BAYC NFT designs were based on discriminatory stereotypes and thus if the company ever needed to be held accountable, the hidden identities of the owners would make it impossible. As a response to this, old discriminatory tweets of Notopolous herself were dug out to divert the blame.
What Makes Bored Ape Yacht Collection So Special?
Bored Ape Yacht Collection necessarily allows the creation of a virtual universe, as is popular with Zuckerberg's Metaverse these days. This virtual world is exclusive to those investing in it. An example of this is its feature "the Bathroom" which is a community drawing canvas available for all its members to write and draw whatever they wish. Every 15 minutes, one pixel can be scribbled onto it. Like ridiculously expensive art, its value is determined not by its quality, but rather its market "sellability".
Moreover, celebrities like the Chainsmokers are into it for the experience.
Ownership of NFT is more or less a status symbol that rich people can flaunt while there is also a sense of uniqueness an ape provides to its owners as each ape is completely unique in its features and no two people can buy the same one. The grand celebrity interest in Bored Ape Yacht Club has deemed it a trend, or something that is "cool", therefore, buying an ape is also a symbol of how trendy one is, as a statement to say that one is part of the same club as social media influencer Paris Hilton, Rap legend Eminem, megastar athlete Shaquille O'Neal, or business genius Mark Cuban.
Special Benefits For Members of the Club
Following are a few of the perks that a Bored Ape Yacht Club member has access to;
- An exclusive Discord server where only BAYC members are allowed.
- Randomly distributed free additional NFT collectibles that are airdropped into the wallets of members. These can then be sold for a good amount.
- A yacht club members-only ticket with undisclosed benefits. One of the benefits released was a community graffiti board by the name of "the Bathroom", for digital art. This keeps the members engrossed in the universe-like appearance of the BAYC.
- The ability to turn their apes into "mutants" by using free airdropped serums. These mutant apes can also be sold for about 3 ETH.
- Exclusive games like the Mutant arcade added to the exclusive atmosphere that the BAYC offers.
- Recently, BAYC launched ApeCoin that’s been airdropped to Bored Ape NFT holders.
Celebrity Endorsement: Honest Recommendation or Advertisement?
Fallon casually brought the conversation up and both he and Hilton then revealed that they owned NFTs from the BAYC, with Fallon owning Bored Ape #599, the "sea captain" ape which is now also his Twitter avatar, and Hilton owning Bored Ape #1294.
The success and popularity of Bored Ape Yacht Club could, therefore, be somewhat accredited to the celebrity endorsements it receives. Now, whether these endorsements are inadvertent or deliberate, is a controversial discussion of its own.
Issues With Bored Ape Yacht Club
Bored Ape Yacht Club and similar NFTs are not heavily favored, rather they are ridiculed by critics. Following are some of the issues raised against Bored Ape Yacht Club:
- The nondisclosure of two of its remaining founders.
- The nondisclosure of celebrity endorsements if there are any. Most celebrities seem to be heavily vocal in favor of Bored Ape Yacht Club. An example of this is Jimmy Fallon's interview with Paris Hilton mentioned above. These unashamed endorsements heavily divert public opinion and can be a major cause of a surge in the BAYC's net value.
- The discriminatory stereotypes of the apes in the NFT collection. The apes appear to be wearing heavy chains and sporting gold teeth. This is something a lot of people recognize as a digital blackface, along with the historical comparison of a certain race to apes. Yuga Labs denied racist motives.
- Manipulating the public into investing. Cryptocurrency and NFT are definitely surging in value. However, they are also unreliable and can drop in value at any time. To the public, however, NFTs are presented by celebrities as the ultimate money-making method with no repercussions, to get more people to invest in them so that they can rise in worth.
Future Prospect for BAYC
Bored Ape Yacht Club is currently the most popular NFT brand out there. This means that it is dominating the NFT charts. However, the company's recent endeavors, especially the most profitable ones, appear to be attempted at establishing the BAYC in the Web2 space.
The BAYC's partnership with Animoca brands to develop a game that will apparently pay users to play the game. This play-to-earn approach seems promising as it will pull in more users. The company is working to expand the BAYC universe to the real-life corporate world as its billion-dollar status is due to these investments. Moreover, its current investment talks with the Andreessen Horowitz firm can potentially make it worth $5 billion.