ApeCoin, Ape managers, and a speed date with a human (Issue #14)
It's apes almost all the way down. We don't make the rules.
It’s difficult to escape the “monkey JPEGs” in the NFT world at the best of times, but this past week it’s been impossible. Kudos where they are due, though, Yuga Labs (the company behind Bored Ape Yacht Club) not only helped to ignite the sector, but continues to play a key role in shaping it. No matter what you think of the company’s creations, you can’t deny its outsized influence.
Right, let’s get straight into it!
Last week, the big stories both concerned Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs. The first was a misstep, which was Yuga Labs asking consumers to provide KYC (know your customer) information for an upcoming project. The next put that criticism firmly on the backburner as Yuga announced it had bought the IP to CryptoPunks and Meebits (both created by Larva Labs) and was going to give commercial rights to individual Punk and Meebits owners.
This week, the big news is about Yuga Labs again, and while it ostensibly relates to its various NFT collections, more specifically it’s about a token and accompanying DAO.
ApeCoin is the eagerly anticipated token from the creators of BAYC and its derivatives, but it’s also its own beast. Only 1 billion will ever exist, some are being reserved for Yuga Labs four creators and will vest much like share options do at a more conventional business, others are earmarked for various partners and initiatives, and then there’s the not-insignificant chunk going to holders of the companies simian-themed illustrations.
Holders of an original Bored Ape can claim 10,094 tokens, and at the time of writing, each of those tokens was worth just shy of $14 each. Many people sold when they were trading for half that, but that’s still ~$70,000, all for holding a particular NFT and thanks to a few clicks to initiate the claim.
Of course, it’s about far more to it than that. There are those who’ve held onto Apes through their meteoric rise and not been tempted to sell who are being rewarded for their loyalty. Then there are those who bought in low and can’t believe their luck. Meanwhile, there are the wealthy or famous holders who bought in for hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of dollars, who definitely don’t need the additional windfall the move has provided them. And there are some heartwarming tales of those who bought in for a few hundred dollars for whom ApeCoin represents a life-changing financial event.
Perhaps most pleasing for loyalists, though, is how the drop puts paid to the “right-click-save” mentality of NFT haters and skeptics. Or at least, so they believe. Here, after all, is something that rewards loyalty with cold hard cash and the sorts of returns Wall Street bankers can only dream of. Except, these sorts of gains are fuel for the fire for the skeptics who argue NFTs are glorified gambling and nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. It’s hard to expect them to dig deeper.
We’d argue the true value of ApeCoin remains to be seen. The DAO aspect means coin holders will get to vote on how ApeCoin is used and which initiatives it funds, and the first advisory board who’ll oversee the first six months of the project is filled with luminaries of the space.
Beyond being a tool to reward fealty, ApeCoin is the next step in the fascinating experiment of NFTs that’s unfolding and taking shape in real-time and at a speed that’s hard to comprehend. A year ago, BAYC didn’t exist. Today it’s a multibillion-dollar business with the resources to do almost anything it wants to. How it chooses to wield that outsized power is going to be the most interesting part of the road ahead.
🎂 Exponential growth 😞
Sounds rare 😲
Art of the Matter 🎙
On Monday, March 21 we’re hosting the second installment of our weekly Twitter Spaces called “Art of the Matter” where we speak to notable artists in the NFT space.
This time around, hosts Craig Wilson and Jessica Angel will be talking to the three winners of the first MetaLetters artists call about their practice, how they got started creating NFTs, their advice for aspiring digital artists, and so much more. You can set a reminder via the tweet below:
Probably nothing 🤔
Gucci x Wagmi-san
Luxury brand Gucci has collaborated with digital artist Wagmi-san to make accessories for a range of popular PFP projects, including BAYC, MAYC, Bored Ape Kennel Club, World of Women, Pudgy Penguins, Cool Cats, CrypToadz, and more.
It’s not the first time Gucci’s done a collab like this. It previously collaborated with SuperPlastic, and those who paid the 1.5 ETH mint fee for each of the 500 available accessories are sitting pretty: those digital accessories now trade for around 6.25 ETH.
NFTs are heading for the ’gram 🖼
Meta CEO and Sweet Baby Ray’s superfan, Mark Zuckerberg, announced at SXSW that NFTs will soon be coming to Instagram in one form or another. Zuckerberg wouldn’t commit to specifics but suggested users will soon be able to display NFTs on the image-sharing/shopping platform, and might eventually be able to mint them there one day, too.
Considering Facebook’s enthusiastic pivot towards being a “metaverse company,” this isn’t especially surprising. What’s going to be far more interesting is the specifics. Which blockchain will Instagram use? Will minted items be tradeable? Will they work in Facebook’s VR platform Horizons? Will there be pants?
Stop! Buterin Time! 🛑
Time Magazine has put Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin on its latest cover and included a fascinating interview with him.
The interview covers significant ground, from the upcoming Ethereum “merge” to the challenges NFTs pose to network fidelity and transaction costs, and the dangers of regulating cryptocurrency along partisan lines.
Bag boosters 💰
The week that was (March 11 - 18, 2022) 🗓
It comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention this week that most of the action in NFT land has come from Yuga Labs this week. BAYC, MAYC, and BAKC make up three of the top five slots, with CryptoPunks and Meebits (the IP of which Yuga acquired last week) filling in the other two.
💎 Diamond beats paper 📜
To the moon 🌜
SXSW should consider renaming itself SXSWxNFT, going on how much NFT-related action there was at it this year.
NFT project Cyberbrokers is now totally on-chain, which means all of the visual components of each character live on the Ethereum blockchain. The cost of the exercise? Around 92 ETH (~$233,000).
And memestonk posterchild GameStop is launching its own NFT marketplace, likely before the end of July.
🪡 Thread of the week 🧵
Goats only 🐐
Whether you’re staking your ApeCoin or sold the moment it hit your wallet, you should be watching or listening to Goats and the Metaverse.
In each episode, collectibles OG and entrepreneur Stan “The Goat” Meytin and Metaversal co-founder and CEO Yossi Hasson talk about digital and IRL collectibles, NFTs, and the week’s news worth knowing.
This week, they unpacked new PFP project DourDarcels, looked at Yuga Labs buying the IP of the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections, provided a how-to on finding the next big NFT project with Nansen, and (of course) took a look at ApeCoin. Check out the latest episode here:
Aside from providing invaluable insights into digital art and collectibles, Stan and Yossi are also putting together a collection of NFTs dubbed “The Goat Vault.” When the show hits 5,000 subscribers on YouTube, one of those lucky subscribers will win the contents of the vault which, at last count, was valued at over $63,000.
The Metaversal Speed Date 🍸
Each week we ask a prominent (or emerging) NFT artist five simple questions. This week it’s the turn of Gernge (AKA, Billy Chitkin), a freelance 3D designer, animator, and digital artist from Detroit, Michigan, whose work is currently on display at Pellas Gallery’s “New Horizons” exhibition, Boston’s first NFT show.
What was the first NFT you ever created?
There were a few that I made in the initial wave of hype surrounding NFTs in early 2021 that didn't catch on and I've since burned them. So the earliest work of mine that still exists & was sold is “The Anomaly” — made for the Sevens Foundation x GetNFT! Discord online exhibition called “Distorted Reality.”
Which of your own works are you proudest of?
Well, the natural answer is “all of them,” because each work is special for one reason or another, and I stand by not minting anything I'm not 100% behind. If forced into picking one though, I suppose “Root Cause Analysis” is a great choice since it is my first piece of art ever on display in an art gallery setting.
I've worked commercially for years, on behalf of advertising agencies or brands, and so having my name attached to something for the world to see that came completely from me in a setting like this and seeing the glowing reception to it was incredible.
What’s your favorite thing about being an NFT artist?
Creative freedom to express myself and the immediate payment structure thanks to the blockchain come to mind, but I have one thing that might be even better… and I didn't anticipate it. That is the connection and conversations with collectors who are interested in hearing about me and my story as an artist. Of course, praise from fellow artists is a great fuel to continue pushing one’s craft, but really getting to have genuine conversations with the people interested in my art was not on my radar at all and it is my favorite part at this point.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Of course, NessGraphics comes to mind immediately, we both work in extremely detailed 3D cyberpunk scenes and few artists do the supply-and-demand dance as well as he does, so I love studying him in that regard too. Marcel Deneuve is another awesome sci-fi and space-themed artist who I admire. Ryan Talbot for his character animation skill and color mastery. Ryan Hawthorne’s bold, almost graphical design work in 3D is fantastic. Hah, it is hard to narrow this down, I could list another dozen!
Where can people find your work?
You can find me on pretty much all of the main NFT marketplaces as “Gernge” and on Twitter. I mainly mint on OpenSea and SuperRare, but have released a piece on Nifty Gateway as well. I have my own Discord server which is typically where I post about upcoming releases first since it's an easy way to communicate with collectors all with one post.
Creator first 🏆
At Metaversal, we pride ourselves on a few things. One of them is being creator first. What does that mean? It means that we recognize the importance of animators, artists, creators, designers, musicians, and everyone else who makes the materials upon which the NFT sector is based. Without the creators, there are no NFTs, let alone NFT communities.
Which is why we’re honored to have added artist Jessica Angel to the Metaversal team. Jessica isn’t merely a wildly talented artist, she’s a natural-born community leader who’s built a formidable network of creatives. Expect to hear plenty more from her in months to come as she spearheads the MetaLetters DAO.
Money <> mouth 💸
Each week we’ll offer you a look at an NFT project we’ve invested in and the motivation behind it. This week we’re looking at “Year 3, Age 16 - when a child feels lost” by Fewocious.
We’re huge fans of Fewocious (AKA Victor Langlois). More than a teenage digital art phenom, Victor is known for his kindness, generosity, and desire to empower other creators. This piece is especially poignant, as it’s part of his “Hello, I'm Victor (FEWOCiOUS) & This is My Life” collection with Christie’s that emerged during the year he realized he needed art as an outlet and escape.
Powerful rationales aside, we love the energy inherent in Fewocious pieces and expect they’ll become hallmarks of the early days of NFT art as the sector matures and evolves.
Until next time, see you in the Metaverse.