Yuga Labs will hand over commercial rights to collectors — meaning they'll have the freedom to use their CryptoPunk in any way they see fit without suffering legal ramifications.
The creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club have acquired the intellectual property of the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT collections — in what is one of the biggest and most significant deals that the sector has ever seen.
Yuga Labs says that the deal with Larva Labs means that it now owns both brands, the copyright associated with each artwork, as well as 423 CryptoPunks and 1,711 Meebits.
And it's especially interesting what this will mean for those who currently own CryptoPunks, which have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past. Yuga Labs says that it plans to hand over full commercial rights to collectors — meaning they'll have the freedom to use their CryptoPunk in any way they see fit without suffering legal ramifications.
The company has long granted BAYC owners similar rights — and all of this could result in CryptoPunks playing a bigger role in the realms of TV shows, films and music. In a tweet announcing the news, Yuga Labs wrote:
"It's been amazing to watch the BAYC ecosystem use their rights to collaborate and build awesome shit we never could have dreamed up. We can't wait to see the Cryptopunks and Meebits communities do the same."
In an attempt to brush off concerns that the acquisition could spark tensions between the BAYC and CryptoPunks committees, the Twitter thread added:
"To be clear: the BAYC ecosystem will remain the center of our universe. We believe that what's good for Punks is good for Apes and the rest of the space. Likewise, what's good for Apes is good for Punks. We want to grow the pie, not fight over slices."
A blog post went on to explain that it doesn't want to shoehorn CryptoPunks into the model that has been created for Bored Apes — and the company intends to serve as "thoughtful stewards" when it comes to this "historic collection." All of this will involve seeking feedback from the community before determining next steps — a clear indication they're determined to tread lightly and not break anything.
The deal appears to have taken the crypto industry by surprise.
Yuga Labs said that the deal "came about in a very organic way" through conversations with Matt Hall and John Watkinson, who co-founded Larva Labs. And in a statement, they added:
"Yuga Labs are the innovators of the modern profile picture project, and the best in the world at operating these projects. They are the ideal stewards of the CryptoPunks and Meebits. In their hands, we are confident that they will continue to be vital, thriving projects in the emerging decentralized web."
Hall and Watkinson will not be joining Yuga Labs as a result of the acquisition, with the announcement adding:
"They're going to continue running Larva Labs and will keep doing what they do best: creating awesome projects that help shape the future of Web3."
It may seem a bit unusual for Larva Labs to effectively give up their crown jewels — the intellectual property that contributes so much to the company's value. But in their own blog post, the co-founders explained that CryptoPunks were created as an experiment five years ago, back when NFTs were practically unheard of, and their business wasn't built for what this space has become:
"Our speciality has always been the creation of things early in the life of a technology. So, as this category of 'Profile Picture Projects' (PFP) grew into an industry in itself, we found ourselves less and less suited to the operation of these projects. Our personalities and skillsets aren't well suited to community management, public relations, and the day-to-day management that these kinds of projects require and deserve."
They also confirmed that they will continue to own "a group of our favorite Punks and Meebs" — and vowed to carry on building "weird new stuff."