Bored Ape Yacht Club creator raises $450 million to build an NFT metaverse
Miami-based NFT firm behind Bored Apes Yacht Club is raising a lot of Apes to the cause.
The NFT hype is enough to fund a future part of the Metaverse, it would seem. How to put this, FOMO is real in non-fungible tokens.
Trading in nonfungible tokens hit $17.6 billion last year, an increase of 21,000% from 2020, according to a report from Nonfungible.com.
“Non-fungible” more or less means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible.
Okay then? Now that that’s cleared up, haha.
Yuga Labs, the owner of three of the biggest NFT brands on the market, has raised $450 million in funding at a $4 billion valuation, the company announced recently. So what does it mean?
People also got better at making money from NFTs, generating a total $5.4 billion in profits through sales of the tokens in 2021. The Metaverse speculation of 2021 was absurd. NFTs entered mainstream consciousness in a big way, with celebrities and major companies increasingly warming to the market. Hundreds of companies from Walmart to Instagram are hoping to make NFT platforms now.
The team behind Bored Ape Yacht Club plans to use the money to build a media empire around NFTs, starting with games and its own metaverse project. Metaverse did you say?
NFTs are tradable assets that keep track of who owns a certain digital item — say, a work of art, or video game avatar — on the blockchain. They entered mainstream consciousness in a big way last year.
Crypto’s Interoperable Gaming World with NFTs
The team describes its metaverse project, called Otherside, as an MMORPG meant to connect the broader NFT universe. They hope to create “an interoperable world” that is “gamified” and “completely decentralized,” says Wylie Aronow, a co-founder of Bored Ape Yacht Club who goes by the pseudonym Gordon Goner. “We think the real Ready Player One experience will be player run.”
A token representing a collage by the digital artist Beeple sold for a record $69 million at a Christie’s auction, while popular collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club have lured celebrity buyers from Jimmy Fallon to Snoop Dogg.
Is Yuga Labs the King of NFTs?
Yuga Labs made a major move to consolidate the NFT space, acquiring CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. The acquisition put three of the most lucrative NFT collections under one roof — and gave Yuga Labs a bigger roster of IP to pull from when crafting its game and metaverse plans.
The meme-like trend of NFTs really does support another kind of cultural ideology around crypto and Web 3.0.
The company also launched a cryptocurrency, ApeCoin, last week; the token will be governed independently and used as the primary currency in Yuga Labs’ properties. Nonfungible.com’s number for total NFT transactions in 2021 is lower than some other estimates. An earlier projection from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis put the figure at more than $40 billion. It’s probably closer to $20 Billion at most.
Miami is Becoming a Crazy Capital of Web 3.0
The Miami-based NFT firm behind Bored Apes Yacht Club has not previously raised funding, though the startup has long been courting attention from VCs eager to back a major player in the NFT craze. Other investors in the round include Animoca Brands, LionTree, Sound Ventures, Thrive Capital, FTX and MoonPay.
All that crypto loot is leading to skyrocketing rents, even as Miami is likely to be underwater sooner than later with global warming. By the time the crypto rich get to the Metaverse, will they even care about the real world one has to wonder?
Yuga Labs is partnering with “a few different game studios” to bring Otherside to life, says CEO Nicole Muniz. The game won’t be limited to Bored Ape holders, and the company plans to create development tools that allow NFTs from other projects to work inside their world. I don’t really get it.
Yuga Labs is increasingly doubling down on its position. If the ICO era of 2017 brought us companies like Binance and Coinbase, what will the NFT hype of 2021 bring us? Sea and Yuga Labs?
What constitutes mass adoption in an era of Web 3.0? More than 2.5 million crypto wallets belonged to people holding or trading NFTs in 2021, according to Nonfungible.com’s research, up from just 89,000 a year earlier. The number of buyers rose to 2.3 million from 75,000. I think I’ll stick with penny stocks, haha.
People won’t bond from spending time together in a shared virtual space with nothing going on, says Greg Solano, a Yuga Labs co-founder who goes by the pseudonym Gargamel. Instead, he says, people bond from being put in positions where they have to collaborate. Man I’d sooner collaborate in Fortnite.
The Ultimate Get Rich Scheme: NFTs Scale in Early 2020s
The funding round, one of the largest for an NFT company to date, was led by the firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has been investing heavily in the Web3 space. It previously funded OpenSea, Dapper Labs, and Coinbase.
People also got better at making money from NFTs, according to the report, with investors generating a total of $5.4 billion in profits from sales of NFTs last year. Over 470 wallets managed to make profits in excess of $1 million, Nonfungible.com said.
When the Fed inflated the total money supply with massive QE, I guess it didn’t realize it was handing over the world to the crypto kids.
The most popular category of NFTs was collectibles, which accounted for $8.4 billion worth of sales. Gaming NFTs such as Axie Infinity represented the second-largest category, racking up $5.2 billion in sales.
Also joining the funding round are the game studio Animoca Brands and crypto firms Coinbase and MoonPay, among others. Chris Lyons, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will join the board of Yuga Labs. Funding talks were first reported last month by the Financial Times.
There was also a shift in focus later in the year to the so-called metaverse, with sales of digital land and other projects in the space reaching $514 million. Is this how Web 3.0 lays the foundation for speculative ventures in the Metaverse? Maybe, or maybe it’s just another false start.
Yeah, yeah probably that.