Yuga Labs buys CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs

DThe purchase price remains undisclosed, but it is likely to be astronomically (crypto) high: Yuga Labs, the company behind the NFT collection “Bored Ape Yacht Club” (BAYC), which is particularly popular among celebrities, has products from the pioneer in the blockchain -Art Market and bought the rights to “CryptoPunks” and “Meebits” from LarvaLabs.

Larva Labs, the company of software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson, remains a separate entity, but Yuga Labs now controls the three most valuable collections of non-fungible tokens – and has big plans to commercialize them from blockchain. “We see ourselves with tentacles in all these areas: casual wear, events, video games, NFT and so on,” Wylie Aranow, alias Gordon Goner, one of the founders of the BAYC project, told The Verge. His partner Greg Solano aka Gargamel called “CryptoPunks” visionary, iconic and forward-looking.

Bored Apes Yacht Club;  These monkeys are worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

Bored Apes Yacht Club; These monkeys are worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

Photo: Yuga Labs

In fact, what Hall and Watkinson launched as “a kind of art project” on the Ethereum blockchain has fueled an unprecedented boom. In mid-2017, they issued – free of charge – 10,000 NFT, one-time virtual ownership certificates on the blockchain linked to the appropriate number of algorithmically generated collector figures: pixelated portraits of figures inspired by London’s punk scene. “CryptoPunks” ignited such a great passion for collecting and such a great speculative fever that the most expensive of them was sold a month ago for 8000 Ether, equivalent to about $ 23 million. The revenue that “CryptoPunks” has generated since their launch is in the billions. The traditional art company refined the pixel head NFT with museum exhibitions and auctions, for example at Sotheby’s in New York.

Welcome to the club

Following this example, Yuga Labs traveled the company with the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” – and expanded it with a few offers. Again a collection of 10,000 collectibles, this time computer-generated three-quarter profiles of cartoon-like monkey heads with various accessories and quirks, certified by NFT on the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike the purist “CryptoPunks”, which only mark virtual possession, BAYC-NFT is also a membership card for a club. Not only do their owners have the right to market their NFT commercially, they are also part of a community that includes Paris Hilton, Snoop Dog or Jimmy Fallon, where you can be invited to parties and hope for special offers.

The fact that this model led to “Bored Apes” soon surpassing “CryptoPunks” in popularity and becoming even more commercially successful has to do with the development of the NFT business towards a medium for digital self-expression, also in social media networks are celebrated. NFTs have become part of popular culture as the subject of speculation. Hall and Watkinson, fathers of “CryptoPunks,” said in an interview, “We felt that as guys doing experimental software design, we felt like we did not really fit in.” Separating the rights to “CryptoPunks” and the three-dimensional virtual collector characters “Meebits”, which they also developed and launched in 2021, seems like the logical next step.

Yuga Labs, which supported the acquisition of the rights with the acquisition of 400 “CryptoPunk” NFTs and 1700 “Meebits” tokens, will try to exhaust all opportunities for playful commercialization with two established strong brands and a newcomer. The fact that NFT is also used in severe times has been evident since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Millions in cryptocurrencies were donated to the invaded country. Among the donations was also a “CryptoPunk”. Its estimated market value: over $ 200,000.

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