What is the Bored Ape Yacht Club? Everything you need to know about the NFTs of the moment!

Elisa Campaci

7 min

bored ape yacht club

How much do you know about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the collection that made NFT mainstream? Here’s its full story!

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) marked the success of NFTs and made them mainstream. At almost two years old, it is the second largest non-fungible token project in terms of trading volume. But what is the Bored Ape Yacht Club? Who is behind it? Why are these ‘bored apes’ worth so much? In this article you will find everything you need to know!

Bored Ape Yacht Club: what is it?

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 non-fungible tokens released by Yuga Labs in 2021. Each NFT in the collection represents an ‘Ape’, i.e. a monkey, generated by the combination of 170 randomly chosen characteristics, including expressions, headgear, and clothing. The concepts of combination and rarity are reminiscent of CryptoPunks, with the Bored Ape also being distinguished by its reference number. Technically speaking, these non-fungible tokens are ERC-721 tokens on Ethereum and their metadata are hosted in the decentralised repository of the IPFS.

Two spin-off collections derive from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the Mutant Ape Yacht Club representing the monkeys in a ‘mutant’ version and the Bored Ape Kennel Club, consisting of the primates’ four-legged friends (pooches).

Celebrities who own Bored Ape

Owning a Bored Ape means belonging to an exclusive club of community benefits but above all social prestige. There are many people from show business who have climbed aboard the club that grants real status. Let’s take a look at some celebrities and their Apes:

  • Shaquille O’Neal
    The NBA champion owns a Mutant Ape, bought for $14,000;
  • Jimmy Fallon
    The Bored Ape number #599 is currently owned by the host of the famous American talk show, he bought it for $224,000;
  • Eminem
    In December 2021, Eminem bought an Ape for more than $450,000. An Ape that looks incredibly like him;
  • Neymar JR
    The player in January 2022 for 1 million took home two Apes, number #6633 and #5269;
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
    Paltrow’s last non-fungible purchase appeared on Twitter last January;
  • Justin Bieber
    The pop star keeps Bored Ape #3001 in his wallet.
  • Snoop Dogg
    The rapper in question, under the pseudonym Cozomo de’ Medici, is a big NFT collector. He certainly couldn’t pass up a few Apes.
  • Stephen Curry
    The four-time NBA champion also owns a Bored Ape, number #7990, which he has displayed for a few months as his Twitter profile picture.
  • Madonna
    “The Queen of Pop” owns BAYC number #4988, paid around $466,000.

How the Bored Ape Yacht Club came into being

Like all great stories, this one started with four friends at the bar. Gargamel, Gordon, Tomato and Sass, four eccentric, out-of-the-box types decided to experiment with blockchain and create some not-so-smart-looking monkeys. The first step was taken by Gordon who immediately came up with a detailed and enviable business plan, namely a chat message: ‘let’s make an NFT’. Gargamel and Gordon had stumbled upon cryptocurrencies in 2017 and in the famous bar they tried to pull the other two in. You know that friend for whom any opportunity is good to talk crypto? Spoiler: if you can’t think of anyone, it’s you.

Tomato and Sass’s role in the project was technical, meanwhile another message had arrived: “do you know JavaScript?”. Apparently it seemed essential to them to create NFT (spoiler #2: it’s not so much). All four of them together founded Yuga Labs to make digital, authentic art on blockchain. In February 2022, the American tabloid BuzzFeed published a report revealing the identities of two founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, specifically Gordon and Gargamel whose real names would be: Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano, two 30-year-old Florida residents. The article triggered a fierce reaction from the community, which accused BuzzFeed of illegally violating the privacy of the two founders.

But why monkeys? In the crypto world, monkeys are common animals, almost as common as whales. According to a long tradition, cryptocurrency traders affectionately refer to each other as ‘monkeys’. Cryptopunks also have monkeys, and they are among the rarest.

Key moments in the history of the Bored Ape Yacht Club

The Bored Ape was released in April 2021 and in just a few years wrote NFT history, achieving sensational milestones. Here is a brief summary of the highlights of BAYC:

  • 23 April 2021: launch of the collection with a one-week pre-sale. During this time, only 500 Ape were sold at 0.08 ETH (at that time about 220 USD);
  • 1 May 2021: crazy night when all 9,500 remaining Apes were sold! On that night, BAYC’s smart contract was the most used smart contract on Ethereum: “our Discord went from totally dead to the most hype place in the crypto world”. The collection thus sold out;
  • 8 August 2021: opening of the BAYC Riverboat Casino in Decentraland developed with Decentral Games;
  • 28 August 2021: arrival of the Mutant Ape Yacht Club, each ape owner received a symbolic ‘serum’ to mutate their ape with matching but ‘genetically modified’ traits. In addition, 10,000 more Mutant Apes were born,
  • 9 September 2021: During an auction at Sotheby’s (the famous auction house), a lot of 101 Apes was sold for almost $25 million;
  • 17 December 2021: collaboration with Adidas to bring the sports brand into the Metaverse.
  • 18 March 2022: airdrop of Apecoin (APE), the BAYC governance token, developed by ApeCoin DAO and not directly by Yuga Labs;
  • 19 March 2022: launch of Otherdeed, the LANDs of the Bored Ape Metaverse, Otherside (not yet officially released);
  • 16 July 2022: online the demo version of Otherside in which 4,500 users participated, the first exclusive journey into the Bored Ape Metaverse;
  • 19 January 2023: release of Doo-Key Dash, a mini-game for NFT holders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club to win valuable prizes;

Who illustrated the Bored Ape?

The Bored Ape originated primarily as an art project, their ‘bored, scruffy, punk’ graphic design stemming from the joint work of several freelance artists. All Seeing Seneca worked for four days under the creative direction of the founders to outline the basic character, later Mig and Thomas Dagley and two other artists who wish to remain anonymous created the expressions, clothing, accessories and design of the club itself within a month. The Mutant Ape Yacht Club is the work of Dagley and Lovans Hartes.

The Bored Ape are the undisputed stars of the crypto space

BAYC is now an institution in the crypto space. Apes are used as avatars for experiences that have to do with the Metaverse or Web3, such as Jenkins The Valet, the creative writing project using NFTs, or the digital band set up by Universal Music, in which the members are four Apes. A Bored Ape even appeared in the Adidas commercial for the 2022 World Cup, on the packaging of a cereal box. These are just a few examples, to keep up to date with all BAYC initiatives, there is The Bored Ape Gazette.

Another project developed by Yuga Labs is ‘The Bathroom‘. A virtual bathroom where each club member, i.e. those who have at least one Ape in their wallet, could paint a pixel on the wall for 15 minutes. “As with any good dive bar bathroom, this is the place to draw, doodle or write expletives”. An artistic and collaborative experiment for the cryptosphere, as crazy and creative as the four founders of BAYC. The (improvised) writers of the Bored Ape Yacht Club did a rather original job, even two Crypto Punks appeared on the canvas!

The universe of the Bored Ape

Yuga Labs is regularly releasing applications and features that help expand its ecosystem. The most important project is certainly the Otherside metaverse, announced in March 2022 and already ‘tested’ by the community. It is not yet known when this virtual world will be available, but to console users who can no longer wait, the mini-game Doo-Key was released in January 2023, opening a new chapter in the lore (plot) of the Bored Ape Yacht Club.

To gain access to the game, NFT Yuga Labs owners have previously minted the Sewer Pass. In the game Doo-Key, the objective is to retrieve a valuable key lost by the careless character Jimmy The Monkey while darting through the sewers. This key, if collected, will allow you to open the door to the next scenario, learn about new plot developments and qualify for exclusive prizes all from Bored Ape Yacht Club.

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