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Nicole Muniz, CEO Yuga Labs, spoke on center stage at Lisbon’s annual technology conference WebSummit on Thursday, addressing the importance of security and safety of digital assets, the potential of IP rights, and the origins of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).
When challenged on the distinction between an NFT and a typical JPEG image perpetually shared across the internet, Muniz said the NFT conveys “the rights and the fact that you have true ownership of that asset.”
Yuga Labs’ collections BAYC, CryptoPunks, and Meebits are prime examples of creators granting full commercial intellectual property license to holders, she noted.
“That exclusive ownership is something that is really coming into the space and it empowers consumers to actually shift into owners,” Muniz said. “And that's a paradigm shift overall.”
Muniz pointed out that a number of projects within the Bored Ape ecosystem were founded upon and thrived thanks to those innate principles of commercial sovereignty.
“Jenkins the Valet—which is one Bored Ape in the collection—has created a media company built on creativity, storylines and expanding the Bored Ape universe. Also, Bored and Hungry is an awesome fast-food chain in Los Angeles, and I think they're expanding into other markets.”
Speaking about Yuga’s plans for their interoperable metaverse platform The Otherside, Muniz emphasized a democratic philosophy of inclusivity, stating that “it is our belief that in Web3 you should be able to have true ownership not just only over your assets, but also your identity.”
As such, she revealed that Yuga is developing an “Otherside development kit” to enable builders to construct features and capabilities for the Otherside and transport those functions into other metaverses within the space.
A landmark $450 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz took Yuga Labs’ market valuation to over $4 billion. The team has since been intently focused on building an organization to maximize the company’s hard-won advantages within the NFT space.
“If you want to build some of the craziest things on the internet, wrapped up in creativity, storytelling, board mythology and fun, then you should come and work at Yuga, because we are trying to hire the best and brightest to build the next phase of the internet,” said Muniz.
“Web1 was fun and silly, but then we all got so serious [in Web2],” she said. “So we want to bring the fun back to the internet. And that's a big part of the spirit and DNA of our culture.”