If you’re still wondering what a Bored Ape is and why someone would spend six figures to buy one, you can now ask one of the cartoon chimps yourself. Celebrity video platform Cameo is offering personalized messages from Bored Ape Yacht Club #9132. Or more precisely, from Adam Draper, the venture capitalist who owns the NFT artwork.
Draper, a UCLA grad and the founder and managing director of Boost VC, is a Web3 enthusiast who made early bets on Coinbase and Etherscan, among other crypto investments. This week, Draper joined Cameo to sell pre-recorded videos of himself as a 3D animated Bored Ape, starting at $25. The videos are aimed at Web3 startup founders, who may seek motivation or feedback on their pitches, Draper told dot.LA.
“As an investor, any way that you can open access through new distribution to see deals, you should do that,” Draper said. “I thought, ‘Hey, no one else is really doing this. I might be able to attract great founders through this.’”
Draper described his foray into Cameo as a bit of an experiment. Blockchain firms like Yuga Labs, the company behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, have attached broad commercialization rights to NFTs, which are unique digital assets verified using blockchain technology. That means NFT holders can slap their ape on a t-shirt and sell it—or license them as characters for novels and movies—to make money from their intellectual property. Draper is using the likeness of a Bored Ape he bought for his Cameo, with help from a Texas startup called Aquifer to create the videos. His Boost VC firm is an investor in Aquifer, which helps people and brands make “instant animated videos with their IP.”
“If we are moving forward with the advent of NFTs and communities building out open source, intellectual property—like becoming a Disney sort of thing—we need to experiment and see what other tools need to be created in order to make this a real movement,” Draper said.
Blockchain boosters believe NFTs, cryptocurrencies and related technologies will give us a better, decentralized internet that is free of middlemen and gatekeepers. Until then, we have videos of VCs rendered as animated simians. Many consumers are still leery of NFTs due to a rollercoaster crypto market, environmental harms of crypto mining and headline-grabbing scams—including one involving Cameo’s CEO, Steve Galanis, whose Bored Ape was stolen.
Draper acknowledged that some people will find his Cameo silly. In fact, he’s counting on it. He expects to receive requests to send videos—as a joke—to people who hate crypto. He said his Bored Ape is the first NFT avatar on Cameo, putting him on the frontier of such potential use cases. Draper is donating all proceeds from the videos to Mission Blue, a group working to protect the oceans.
“I love being in industries where there are haters,” Draper said. “That means when they realize the value, they become impassioned lovers of the craft. And so it’s just all about changing everyone’s mind over a period of time.”