About the author

Andrew Miller is CEO of ATM Holdings, and has invested in and advised some of the highest-value domain name transactions on record, including recent deals for Home.com, Candy.com, and Universal.com. He founded CreditCards.com and InsuranceQuotes.com, both successful exits. He started investing in NFTs in 2021, and acquired a Bored Ape in August. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Decrypt.

In August, I wrote a guest column for Decrypt about why domain investors like me are buying up NFTs

In the NFT metaverse, time is closer to something out of a Marvel movie than our normal reality. So much has evolved and happened in the NFT space since August that I had been contemplating a followup article when I read this tweet on November 1 from Coin Center’s Neeraj Agrawal, one of the most widely followed personalities on Crypto Twitter: “I’m sorry but I really can’t imagine the apes staying valuable.” 

I have been a serial entrepreneur and investor for over 22 years, with both wins and losses, as it tends to go. My wins have been good, such as the operating companies I founded (CreditCards.com and InsuranceQuotes.com), the $285 million in premium domain name transactions I have directly facilitated, and my day-one investment in Thrasio, the fastest-growing acquirer of Amazon third-party consumer brands.

With all that said, I expect my Bored Ape #818 NFT, purchased in August for $48,000, to become one of the best investments of my career. So I think Neeraj’s tweet is very wrong. Here’s why.

In my August column, I detailed my path to acquiring my first Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT. Since then, there has been escalating growth in and strengthening of the BAYC brand, as well as that of parent studio Yuga Labs.

Economics are always the best place to start, but only tell a fraction of the BAYC story. Since its formation in April 2021, BAYC has generated over $100 million dollars in minting sales, new purchases of its apes and mutant apes, and a staggering 219,000 ETH worth of secondary market sales, equivalent to nearly $800 million. Yuga Labs receives a percentage of all secondary sales. To put that in perspective: BAYC has generated more free cash in its first six months than Airbnb did in its first three years. 

Famed auction houses have taken notice of the Apes. In September, Sotheby’s auctioned off a “package” of 107 Bored Ape NFTs for $24 million dollars. Later that month, a single Bored Ape sold for $1.23 million at Christie’s. In October, a single Ape sold for $3.4 million through Christie’s, setting a new record for the BAYC collection.

The entertainment industry has taken notice of the Apes, validated by several new game-changing partnerships. The first was BAYC’s formal partnership with Maverick, the agency founded by Madonna and U2 manager Guy Oseary, who himself then bought a rare gold-shirt Ape with sunglasses. Maverick will represent the Bored Ape Yacht Club across music, gaming, and TV deals.

In November, two more music legends got in the game. Universal Music announced the formation of a metaverse band, Kingship, made up of four Bored Apes (Gorillaz-style). Separately, hip-hop legend Timbaland acquired an Ape and launched Ape-In Productions. AIP will also have a Bored Ape rap group called TheZoo, whose first song “ApeSh!t” will also (of course) be released as an NFT. Finally, rapper Post Malone bought a Bored Ape and featured the Apes in a new music video with The Weeknd.

It does not end there. Jimmy Fallon aped in this week. Rolling Stone created a limited-edition Bored Ape cover that sold out in four minutes. Leading daily fantasy sports and sportsbook provider DraftKings has fully aped in: multiple executives and board members own an Ape, and the company fielded a fantasy football contest in September with a Bored Ape as the first-place prize. (Last April, DraftKings held a fantasy golf contest with a CryptoPunk as the prize.) Athletes have been early BAYC adopters, including NFL stars Dez Bryant and Von Miller, and NBA stars Stephen Curry, LaMelo Ball, and Tyrese Haliburton. 

The Bored Ape Yacht Club had its first offline (IRL) event in New York this month, Ape Fest, where Ape holders stood in lines to buy exclusive merchandise in the pop-up store and to pick up wristbands for a warehouse party that featured performances from The Strokes, Questlove, and Lil Baby. Your admission ticket to all these events is your verified Bored Ape or Mutant Ape NFT. 

There are scores of NFT doubters out there (I’m merely picking on Neeraj because he has a huge following and seems to be a good sport), but it’s hard to understand how anyone can dismiss all of these events. It’s my strong belief that there will be a correction in the NFT market just as there was in tech in 2000. It might be triggered by something specific to the NFT space, or just by an overall stock market correction. 

Social media influencer and NFT pioneer Gary Vaynerchuck has also predicted an NFT winter. As he says about his own NFT project VeeFriends, it is a “forever play.” As in any new, disruptive category or technology, there is much to be learned from the evolution, and this can best be done by paying attention to the details, and watching how projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club expand and provide long-term value to HODLers.

Rest assured, the big NFT pullback will happen, and when it does, there will be a shakeout. Many of the hastily assembled, cash-grab collections will crumble. But when that happens, “blue chips” will emerge and come out the other side stronger, representing the next wave of the future of this burgeoning new industry. 

You might retort to all of this by saying that I’m just a Bored Ape investor pumping his Bored Ape. What makes me confident BAYC will retain its value five years from now? 

It’s the strength of the community. Every morning, hundreds of BAYC members open their day saying “gm” to each other on Twitter. There is no discrimination between CEOs, celebrities, crypto VCs, and everyday people. The founders continue to execute at a level that shows they are world-class business people. There is so much promise in the roadmap 2.0, which is already underway, including talk of a DAO, BAYC token, and physical club in Miami. They have made it clear that any new entrants moving forward will have to come through the secondary market. As the team continues to deliver utility to the community, the value will grow. 

Look at every recent BAYC event and milestone I listed. It’s difficult for me to imagine all of that momentum just drying up. Bored Apes have become far more than a PFP status symbol, and they represent where NFTs are headed.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.