Bored Ape Yacht Club is undoubtedly one of the most influential NFT projects out there. Arguably second only to CryptoPunks when it comes to PFP (profile picture) projects, BAYC not only kicked off the 2021 NFT avatar craze, but gave thousands of collectors an affordable alternative to Punks and a vibrant community to call home.
Before Ape, There Was Man
Any active member of the NFT community is sure to have seen PFP apes far and wide throughout the metaverse – but where did it all start? Where did these apes come from?
As with most projects, a lot of time and effort went into BAYC. And this story in particular starts with a few IRL friends wanting to make something all their own.
Gargamel, Gordon Goner, Emperor Tomato Ketchup and Nosass are the pseudonyms the four founders go by. Digitally native as the NFT space is, the community was and is more than happy to accept anons among the highest tier of creators and influencers.
Prior to BAYC, Gargamel and Gordon Goner had been involved in crypto in some capacity (holding and trading) since 2017 – with Tomato and Nosass being software engineers and a bit newer to NFTs.
Before the idea for BAYC was born, as the troop originally began conceptualizing an NFT project, they found that their ideas for “art” were more fitting for display on a bathroom wall than a traditional canvas. And running with that idea, they realized that they wanted that bathroom to be inside a bar, but an exclusive bar, one accessible only to members of a club.
And thus a Yacht Club was born, to be inhabited by the Apes of the future: those that “aped” into crypto and NFTs that is. Years from now the apes find themselves Bored – spending most of their time sitting around at a bar with their friends. That basis was good enough for the founders to roll with.
The Yacht Club Grand Opening
After draining their savings into the project, with traits decided, art secured and minting contract written – the Bored Ape Yacht Club set to launch on April 29, 2021.
Priced for fair distribution at .08 ETH per ape, things started out slow at first, then as with most things in the NFT space, snowballed hard until two days later on May 1, they were sold out.
Over the next month two things happened: ape secondary sales started to pick up fast and the developers started implementing their roadmap within the now quite active BAYC community.
WE JUST SOLD OUT— Bored Ape Yacht Club (@BoredApeYC) May 1, 2021
What Goes on in the BAYC
At this point you’ve probably guessed that there’s a lot more to BAYC than just PFP NFTs – and you’re right! The Bored Ape Yacht Club is truly a club, with their hangout spot being Discord.
The only way to join this exclusive club is to purchase an ape on secondary. And although enrollment started out low, at the time of writing this, the ape floor is sitting at nearly 20 ETH.
Yet, members of the club themselves won’t hesitate to advise you that a floor ape is always worth the money, as the perks of joining outweigh the loss of ETH.
Thus far, the BAYC community has received quite a few member rewards:
- Members have the commercial usage rights to their apes. Meaning they can make and sell prints, T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. using the IP of the BAYC NFT they own.
- BAYC also released their own merch exclusive to ape owners. This required members to sign in using their ETH wallet to verify ownership prior to purchase. Currently, #2 plus a collab with streetwear giant TheHundreds is in the works.
- A new project called the Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) was launched, with the entire supply of NFTs airdropped exclusively to ape owners. 1 Ape = 1 Dog – and the floor of BAKC almost immediately surpassed 1 ETH on the secondary market.
- BAYC members have a say in where the project’s funds go – and so far community initiatives have donated around 382 ETH (currently over $4.5M) to various charities and animal organizations.
- Recent roadmap updates have announced even more members only utility, including a scavenger hunt, BAYC project narrative updates, games and more on the horizon.
Beyond the incentives, the BAYC feels exactly like the developers intended. The exclusivity is rewarding to those who supported early, or made the decision to ape in and join the crew.
NFTs in general have allowed for those from all walks of life to be a part of a fantastically exciting tech, culture and financial movement; and BAYC is truly indicative of that. From students to engineers, mailmen to millionaires, the environment within the club is one of ape inclusivity.
The future of Bored Apes
The BAYC community, months after launch, is still a dynamic, high-spirited space – with a roadmap aimed at providing continuous utility to its members. It’s true that time moves incredibly fast in the NFT space, so the question in the air is “what’s next?”
Numerous members have had the opportunity to flip their apes for a profit. And this is potentially life-changing money we’re talking about. So those who hold are in it for the long-haul – with good reason.
Apes, similar to Punks, have become a status symbol. With the added utility of being able to identify your fellow apes on social media, being an ape owner shows that you’re part of a 5,000+ member club. And aside from those within the crypto and NFT community, we’ve witnessed quite a few celebrities, including superstar Shawn Yue, Steph Curry, LaMelo Ball and more enter into the non-fungible space through the purchase of an ape.
With the floor continuing to rise and interest reaching beyond the non-fungible community, we may see apes follow along the same path as Punks – that is, as a legacy project that helps define the NFT space. It’s important to make the distinction between the two though, as one mapped out the rules (Punks) and one changed the game entirely (BAYC).
Bored Ape #7090 was purchased for 600.0 ETH— boredapebot (@boredapebot) September 2, 2021
Bored Ape Yacht Club not only dominated the NFT community’s “JPEG Summer”, but was the catalyst that started the summer 2021 PFP project mayhem. As Punks continued to moon throughout the first half of the year, and Punk derivative projects started to peter out, BAYC filled a demand for originality and substance within the collectible and art sections of the NFT market.
Punks are surely the gold standard for NFT projects, but what they lack in community, they make up for through ETH value far too high for most collectors to obtain even at floor prices. BAYC undoubtedly set a precedent for community based projects – and we’ve seen countless use its success as a template to follow in its footsteps.
Now that the code has been cracked, it’s anyone’s guess what will deliver.
Editor’s note: At time of publication, members of the nft now staff are holders of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.