What is Bored Ape Yacht Club? The Ape NFT Transforming NFTs
by Corporate Trash
Where were you the night of Friday, April 30, 2021? For those in the NFT collecting world, that was the night collectors “aped in” to the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). On that night, 10,000 generative cartoon apes sold out.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club website states that it is: “A limited NFT collection where the token itself doubles as your membership to a swamp club for apes. Each Bored Ape is unique and programmatically generated from over 170 possible traits, including expression, headwear, clothing, and more. All apes are dope, but some are rarer than others.”
It sounds simple, but in the two months since its launch, Bored Ape Yacht Club has revolutionized NFT communities and projects. Some apes have sold well into the six figures. The project has attracted degens, celebrities, influencers, and famous athletes, like NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball.
There’s no doubt that the BAYC team created a whirlwind of excitement within the NFT space. But more than that, they formed a tight community, forged in exclusivity and fun, where the personalities are as unique as the ape characters that they own.
With the addition of the Bored Ape Kennel Club — unique dog companions for each ape — it’s clear that there is much more to come for this Ape NFT project.
Today, we’ll explore what makes Bored Ape Yacht Club a special NFT project that has legs to stick around for years to come.
How Bored Ape Yacht Club Began
On April 23, 2021, the BAYC launched to the public with little fanfare. The pre-sale launch announcement in Discord was met with almost zero reactions. Nearly a full week went by, as a few hundred apes were minted from the BAYC website, each costing 0.08 Ethereum for the entire duration of the sale.
The minted apes hadn’t been revealed at that point, but on Friday, April 30 around 6:30 p.m. EST, they were shown to the owners. Once everyone saw the art, the Bored Apes spread like wildfire for the next 12 hours across NFT Twitter and Discord.
In the evening, news broke that big-time NFT buyers bought (like j1mmy and topshotfund), some even minting hundreds, and in Pranksy’s case, around 1,000. They eventually sold out in the early morning hours of April 31, and a hot secondary sales market on OpenSea began as collectors sought apes with the rarest traits.
Profile pictures across social media were switched to colorful apes, as everyone was eager to show off their membership to the club. Banana emojis were put next to people’s usernames.
The Start of the Bored Ape Community
#ApeFollowApe began after the apes had sold out, and some collectors hit their Twitter follow limits by trying to follow all the accounts with BAYC profile pictures.
Members logged into “The Bathroom,” a private community canvas board on the BAYC site where you could paint one pixel at a time. Some apes teamed up to complete their masterpieces. Today, the board is filled with colorful pixel art and words:
This night was the catalyst for what would eventually spawn partnerships, derivatives, and unofficial spinoffs galore. Exactly one month later, the average sales price surpassed 1 Ethereum on OpenSea, as people continued to seek joining the BAYC. Today, only 18 apes are listed for a “buy now” price under 2 Ethereum.
Since the project has launched, apes have sold for 42, 49.99, 55 Ethereum, 58 Ethereum, and, most recently, a trippy fur ape with an ultra-rare black suit for 69.99 Ethereum.
And many of these sales are coming as a flip. Pranksy sold the same 69.99 Ethereum ape for only 5 Ethereum only two months ago. TheComebackKid on OpenSea sold this ultra-rare bubble-gum chewing ape for 55 Ethereum a month and a half after originally purchasing it for 1 Ethereum.
Celebrity Bored Ape Owners
Mark Cuban is rumored to have an ape of his own, while Gary Vaynerchuk — creator of VeeFriends — has been chatting in the Discord sharing his. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was spotted in an unofficial BAYC clubhouse chat.
The crossover with NBA and NBA Top Shot has also occurred. Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou aped in, and then a few NBA stars did, too, like Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, Josh Hart, and Tyrese Haliburton. Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Ops Daryl Morey also recently joined the BAYC.
The launch was a great success, but what made BAYC so special in the first place? And why were people like Pranksy and other influencers in the space so drawn to it?
The Bored Ape Yacht Club story
The idea of BAYC derives from something near and dear to the heart of many NFT collectors: the dream of ultimately succeeding in their NFT investments.
The story of BAYC is based on a simple premise: after “aping in” to NFT projects over the years, all the apes are wandering the swamp, bored, without anything left to conquer. This concept, in addition to gaining access to an exclusive club, spoke to many in the NFT world. Each one is different and can come with any of 170+ traits.
What makes Bored Ape Yacht Club a unique NFT?
- Detailed Project Roadmap from the start.
- Relatable Attributes for Bored Apes makes them ideal and identifiable online avatars.
- Commercial usage of Bored Apes is reserved for owners.
- Number of unique owners is ideal for a strong NFT community.
- Project leadership has built a strong relationship via project roadmaps, communication, and executing on plans.
1. Detailed Roadmap
The creators of BAYC implemented a detailed roadmap before the project was launched, clearly stating the initial and possible future benefits of membership. This included merch (the first drop has been released), a treasure hunt, the aforementioned Bathroom, a liquidity pool, Ape breeding, and “more ways to ape with your friends.”
As the NFT community has become increasingly interested in projects with utility — rather than simply owning a digital piece of art — BAYC arrived right on time. Not surprisingly, after BAYC become more popular, roadmaps have become more regular for NFT projects, including for NFT pillars like NBA Top Shot.
Bored Ape Kennel Club
A members-only surprise was announced on June 18 — every one of the 10,000 Bored Apes would be able to mint a canine companion for their ape, only needing to pay gas to mint their new creature. Similar to BAYC, the Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) says the dogs are “10,000 unique and programmatically-created tokens, with 170 possible traits, some rarer than others.”
The BAKC is also donating 2.5 percent of secondary sales on OpenSea to no-kill animal shelters for the first six weeks. The buy now floor on the Bored Ape dogs are at 1.46 Ethereum as of writing, although the dogs have not yet been revealed.
As the NFT community has become increasingly interested in projects with utility — rather than simply owning a digital piece of art — BAYC arrived right on time.
2. Relatable Attributes of Apes
BAYC certainly wasn’t the first NFT with rarity attributes, but they implemented them in a way that drew people in. Just like CryptoPunks, people identify with their apes, and look to own ones that represent their personality. Apes are now a popular digital avatar across social media.
There are seven different attributes for Bored Apes, though not all Apes have seven attributes: background, clothes, earring, eyes, fur, hat, mouth. You can filter through apes by their attributes via the Ape Explorer on MomentRanks.
Sub-groups of apes based on attributes have broken out, with Twitter wars raging between different types of fur — with the rarest being Solid Gold, Trippy, Noise, Death Bot, and DMT. Although all art is subjective and based on aesthetic preference, the BAYC team did create distinctive and high-quality deliverables for their community to build upon.
3. Exclusive Commercial Usage for Bored Apes
One of the most attractive benefits is that each ape NFT comes with full commercial usage rights, meaning owners are able to sell products with the likeness of their ape on them. Limited only by their creativity and willingness to “hodl,” owners are already creating projects centered around their ape(s), including books, comics, and even coffee and beer brands.
It was also confirmed by the BAYC team that the BAKC dog owners will have full commercial rights, in the same way that BAYC owners do.
These projects are not from Bored Ape Yacht Club themselves, but Ape owners who will continue to expand on the Bored Ape universe. This is another piece of NFTs that Bored Ape has iterated from CryptoPunks on, and we’re just seeing the beginning of all of the ways Bored Apes can be used.
4. Number of Unique Owners
BAYC is also special because there are so many unique owners (about 4,400 as of the latest update of this post). This means that a high number of people are quite literally invested in seeing the project be successful long-term, and the community continues to grow. Members also have the choice to participate in a BAYC liquidity pool.
So many owners wanted to be a recognizable part of the club in real life that the first BAYC physical merch drop — a limited drop exclusive to members — sold out in six minutes, creating its own secondary market on sites like eBay. There, merch has sold for thousands of dollars, creating a similar secondary market to a streetwear brand like Supreme.
5. Leadership Engagement
Perhaps most notable is the level of transparency and dedication to the community that the Bored Ape Yacht Club team has built. While some other NFT projects have pulled the rug out from their collectors with no roadmap items completed and otherwise lost credibility, BAYC is positive, communicative, and responsive.
Perhaps there is no better example of this than the BAKC. Members didn’t know what to expect from the “members-only surprise,” but this type of free minting opportunity added both excitement and value to being a BAYC member.
NFT project cycles are known for being fast and furious, and many end up fizzling out quickly. The projects that add continuous value are the ones that will survive long-term, and the Bored Ape leadership have proved they are dedicated to making it something reat.
Plain and simple: communication is key to fostering a strong community built on trust. Communication of the roadmap and future plans inspires innovation within its owner base to keep the yacht club afloat for years to come.
Partnerships and Influencers
Many other NFT and metaverse projects took notice of the BAYC community soon after it took off, looking to hitch their wagon to the virtual planet of the apes. But it was none other than The Sandbox Game that took this to another level.
BAYC purchased a large plot of LAND (land in The Sandbox Game), where they will be building a members-only experience. It’s safe to say that apes dominated the LAND sale that followed, which sold out in a matter of seconds.
The reason? A bit of FOMO and a bit of planning ahead. Everyone wants to be neighbors to their ape brethren, so that when people leave the BAYC property in the metaverse, they may stumble on their land on the way out. Not only that, but The Sandbox Game says that BAYC holders will get their own “metaverse ape” for free.
Bored Ape Yacht Club Decentraland Wearables
As part of its partnership with Decentraland, the BAYC team airdropped a wearable hoodie to each ape owner’s wallets on June 17. This allows BAYC members to quickly identify their fellow apes in the metaverse, and is a digital version of their ultra-successful physical merch. Hours later, there was already an unofficial virtual meetup in Decentraland, with members eager to show off their hoodie.
The Future of BAYC
In these strange times, 10,000 cartoon apes have resonated with the NFT community and have brought people together. They are a symbol of mutual understanding that you too, have been in gas wars, been sniped, and know the meaning of a diamond emoji.
Twitter and Discord profile photos have been dominated by BAYC, all flexing that they are a part of the club. Sometimes, even those who own a CryptoPunk choose to display their ape instead, a bold way to show pride in their current most-treasured NFT.
BAYC announced their first Community Grant winners, going to organizers and creators who are making projects to benefit the BAYC. More physical merch will be coming, along with surprises for current owners. There is even going to be breeding via the Mutant Ape Arcade, and only one ape is necessary to use it.
As other NFT projects continue releasing by the boatload, which will be the one to dethrone the apes?
Whatever it is, it’s gotta be something totally bananas to break the bond that the BAYC has quickly built with the NFT community.
Follow Corporate Trash on Twitter: @corporatetrash1.
Note: This article is not investment advice. Disclosure: Corporate Trash owns two Bored Apes as of the time of this post.
Last update to this article: June 20, 2021 at 10:40 p.m. EST