Bored Ape Yacht Club developer Yuga Labs may be the creator of the hottest NFT avatar collectable, but whether it has broad enough shoulders to turn the brand into a true memecoin remains to be seen.
On March 17, the owners of the celebrity-powered non-fungible token line were each “airdropped” — given — 10,000 ApeCoins, a new cryptocurrency that’s supposed to do … something … to make it valuable. These are standard, fungible tokens — each one is like all the others — not non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and have no artwork attached.
That makes it something like a hybrid of the Elon Musk-favored dogecoin and other so-called “memecoins” whose value lies largely in the shared joke of their supporters. Some, like Dogecoin knock-off Shiba Inu (whose token is named for the doge’s dog-logoed breed) are pitching themselves as serious cryptocurrency projects and decentralized application programs
The new crypto did not have an auspicious launch, plummeting from nearly $40 to below $6.50 within a few hours of its Thursday launch, before jumping to $17.75 on Friday and stabilizing at about $10. Despite being down 75%, it still has a market capitalization of $10 billion, making it a top-50 cryptocurrency.
That $10 billion market cap is somewhat misleading, however, as there are currently only $2.8 billion worth of ApeCoins in circulation.
The only thing certain about ApeCoin (APE) is that it has a connection to Yuga Labs’ celebrity-embraced NFT line, Bored Ape Yacht Club, whose NFTs are currently selling with a floor price of almost $300,000, with a number of Bored Apes with rare characteristics — each has varied clothing, accessories, fur colors and the like — going for seven figures. They’ve been purchase by the likes of Eminem and Jimmy Fallon, and appeared on a limited edition Rolling Stone cover.
And last week, it was revealed that the company, which just bought the only higher-priced NFT avatar line, CryptoPunks, is planning a metaverse launch.
Read more: Planet of the Bored Apes
ApeCoin is pitched as a platform on which to build “community-led initiatives that drive culture forward into the metaverse” as well as the “Web3 economy.”
Which means, well, we hope you’ll build a project on it.
ApeCoin is built using Ethereum-compatible tokens built on the ERC-20 technical standard, so it is easy to develop projects than can be ported from — or back to — most other blockchain.
And while competing for DeFi projects with the likes of Ethereum, Solana and Cardano is one obvious direction, the APE Foundation seems to be going full Web3, pitching itself as a platform on which to build cultural projects like “art, gaming, entertainment, and events,” the website said.
Specifically, the very investor-favored but vague metaverse virtual reality projects, and the even more investor-favored Web3 projects, referring to a decentralized and largely hypothetical version of the internet that will — they say — supplant the current web.
The ApeCoin is issued by a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, that makes it, in theory a fully smart contract-controlled organization with no need for human management. It was launched by the APE Foundation which “provides, at the behest of the ApeCoin DAO members, oversight of the Foundation administrators.”
Its purpose, the APE Foundation website said, is to encourage and administer proposals and “serve the vision of the community.”
And while Yuga Labs will use ApeCoin for any new products and services it rolls out — such as that metaverse — the press release warned journalists: “It’s probably tempting to write that ApeCoin is from the Bored Ape Yacht Club to simplify things, but it’s not accurate.”
While Yuga Labs’ actual connection to ApeCoin’s creator, the Ape Foundation, is clear, there is an independent board with some high-profile names, including Reddit co-founder and crypto investor Alexis Ohanian and several venture capital investors.
The rest is divided between three groups: the Ape Foundation, which has 620 million of the total 1 billion APE tokens; Yuga Labs, which has 160 million — with 10 million earmarked to the Jane Goodall Foundation — the Bored Ape NFT owners, who get 80 million, and 140 million for the project creators.
Meaning Yuga Labs and whoever is behind the development team and its high-profile airdrop to owners of a high-profile NFT line is holding on to nearly one-third of the total supply.
And while they cannot sell for one year — a standard practice to prevent a pump-and-dump — if crypto investors and celebrities don’t get bored of their Bored Apes Yuga and its development investors stand to make quite a big pile of bananas. If not, it’s into the doghouse instead of the starry heights of the Doge House.