‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ NFT creator, start-up Yuga Labs, raises more than $260m in sale of tokens representing land in upcoming virtual world ‘Otherside’
The company behind the popular Bored Ape series of NFTs has raised more than $260 million (£206m) by selling tokens representing virtual land in an upcoming virtual-world game.
US start-up Yuga Labs last year created the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) series of NFTs representing a set of about 10,000 computer-generated cartoon apes.
The price of the NFTs, which represent non-tangible goods such as digital images or computer code, has surged since then, with some now selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
They have become one of the internet’s most prominent brands, and are owned by celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Eminem.
In March Yuga Labs raised some $450m in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz to build Otherside, a decentralised metaverse with elements of gamification.
The world is intended to encompass the company’s NFT brands, including Bored Ape, CryptoPunks and Meebits, as well as those from other entities.
A trailer recently released by Yuga Labs shows a Bored Ape character drinking from a bottle fished from the water, then embarking on an adventure along with other NFT-style characters.
The company kicked off the Otherside effort with the Saturday sale of Otherdeeds, some 55,000 tokens representing land in the upcoming universe.
The Otherdeeds could only be purchased using Yuga Labs’ ApeCoin cryptocurrency, which launched in March.
The 55,000 Otherdeeds were priced at 305 ApeCoins each. A single ApeCoin was worth about $15 as of Monday morning, according to Coinbase, meaning the sale raised a total of about $264m in ApeCoin.
It isn’t clear how the funds raised in the sale will be used, but the ApeCoin raised in the sale is to be locked up for one year, Yuga Labs said.
In spite of the company’s efforts to mitigate strain on the Ethereum blockchain used by ApeCoin, demand for Otherdeeds slowed the Ethereum network and caused transaction fees to skyrocket.
In some cases those purchasing the tokens paid more than double the price of the token itself in transaction fees, while others using the Ether blockchain also saw their own fees spiral.
Yuga Labs on Sunday apologised for “turning off the lights on Ethereum for a while” and suggested ApeCoin should move to its own infrastructure “in order to properly scale”.
The company wants to see ApeCoin widely used in so-called web3 apps that involve digital coins and blockchains. Its idea is to allow users to access events, services, merchandise and games using the coins.
As NFTs have generally surged in value, reports of scams involving the largely unregulated assets have become common.
The Otherdeeds sale comes soon after a hack of the Bored Ape Yacht Club official Instagram account, with hackers posting a phishing link that allowed them to steal peoples’ NFTs.