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What is Bored Ape Yacht Club? The Celebrity NFT of Choice

Bored Ape Yacht Club's disinterested-looking ape NFTs have a rabid following. Here’s why these surging Ethereum NFTs are in such high demand.

6 min read

In brief

  • Bored Ape Yacht Club is a popular series of NFT profile pictures minted on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • They typically sell for many thousands of dollars, with a growing number of high-profile celebrities buying the NFTs.

NFT avatars blew up in 2021, commanding up to millions of dollars apiece for individual images that could be collected and used on social media, and driving billions of dollars’ worth of collective trading volume in the process.

CryptoPunks are the OG Ethereum NFTs, having been created back in 2017—well before anyone outside of crypto die-hards knew or cared about provably scarce digital collectibles. But among the more recent crop of projects inspired by CryptoPunks, there’s none larger than Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Bored Ape NFTs have now generated more than $750 million worth of trading volume, including subsequent variant sets, per data from CryptoSlam. And they are increasingly the Twitter NFT avatar of choice for athletes, musicians, and more. Buying a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT grants access to the titular “club” of sorts, and membership has benefits.

Thinking about “aping in” and buying one? Here’s what you need to know about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, and Bored Ape Kennel Club, and how to buy them.

What is the Bored Ape Yacht Club?

Developed by Yuga Labs, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 profile pictures minted as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. An NFT, or non-fungible token, acts like a deed of ownership for a digital item, allowing buyers to prove that they own the one-and-only version of that image. In this case, buyers own an illustration of a disinterested-looking ape with randomly-generated traits and accessories. No two images are exactly alike.

A selection of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. Image: Yuga Labs

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is not alone on that front; many NFT profile pic (PFP) collections have sprung up of late, including World of Women and Cool Cats. But the Bored Apes have found an avid base of collectors, plus there are perks.

Did you know?

As of publishing, the record sale for a single Bored Ape NFT is 740 ETH, or just over $2.9 million, in September 2021. It was purchased by the developer of the upcoming Ethereum game, The Sandbox.

What’s so special about them?

As the name suggests, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is billed as an exclusive society or social organization, and owning one of the coveted NFTs unlocks that membership. It earns users access to an exclusive Discord server, for example, where fellow owners—including celebrities—hang out and chat. And Apes tend to flock together on social media, where the increasingly familiar avatars have united a digital brotherhood of sorts.

Perhaps more importantly, owning a Bored Ape NFT earns you access to additional NFT collectibles, which can then be resold for potentially considerable amounts of cash. Yuga Labs first offered free Bored Ape Kennel Club dog NFTs to Bored Ape owners, and then later released free “mutant serum” NFTs that generated a Mutant Ape Yacht Club image. It’s almost like paying a one-time fee for an ongoing subscription plan for NFTs and perks.

How to buy Bored Apes

Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs are available through secondary markets, most notably OpenSea. To purchase a Bored Ape Yacht Club, Bored Ape Kennel Club, or Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT on OpenSea, simply visit the project page for each to view the entire collection.

Some may be listed for sale at a fixed price, while others can be listed for auction. You will need an Ethereum wallet, such as MetaMask, to purchase an NFT on the site, as well as enough ETH to cover both the purchase price and Ethereum gas transaction fee.

Did you know?

A Sotheby’s auction in September 2021 sold a lot of 101 Bored Ape NFTs for nearly $24.4 million, beating the top-end estimate of $18 million.

The future

In terms of name recognition, Bored Ape Yacht Club is arguably the most well-known profile picture NFT collection, jockeying with CryptoPunks for the top slot. In December 2021, the floor price of Bored Apes flipped that of CryptoPunks for the first time, signaling changing sentiment around the rival NFT projects.

In addition to giving existing Bored Ape owners a “mutant serum” to mint a free Mutant Ape NFT, Yuga Labs also released 10,000 new Mutant Apes that anyone could purchase for 3 ETH. The entire set sold out within an hour in late August 2021, generating $96 million in the process.

Gradually, a growing list of prominent people has taken to using Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs as their social media avatars. Three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry bought one for $180,000 worth of Ethereum in August 2021, joining a list of athlete owners that includes fellow NBA stars Josh Hart and Tyrese Haliburton, as well as NFL players Dez Bryant and Von Miller. Musicians including Eminem, Steve Aoki and Timbaland also own Apes.

Brands have also followed suit; in August 2021, Arizona Iced Tea bought a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT and used it in marketing materials. However, Yuga Labs told Decrypt that while the drink brand can use the image of the NFT it owns, its usage of the official Bored Apes branding was “inappropriate.”

In December 2021, Adidas bought a Bored Ape as part of a wider metaverse play that included the launch of a comic starring the character. More such deals are on the horizon; in October 2021, Bored creators Yuga Labs signed with veteran music manager Guy Oseary to expand the brand into other entertainment formats. A month later, Universal Music Group formed Kingship, a Gorillaz-inspired "virtual band" made up of Bored Apes.

PFP NFTs got another big boost in January 2022, when Twitter introduced NFT profile picture verification for users of its Twitter Blue subscription service. The move, which saw verified NFT images highlighted with a hexagonal surround and added a link to the NFT on OpenSea, acted as a riposte to the oft-repeated argument that NFTs can be "right-clicked" and copied. However, it quickly proved divisive among the Twitter community, pointing to a long and rocky path to widespread acceptance and adoption of NFTs.

Bored Apes have also been subject to a number of high-profile phishing attacks and exploits; in December 2021, one user memorably tweeted "all my apes gone" after falling victim to a phishing attack, while in January 2022, an exploit on NFT marketplace OpenSea enabled one user to sweep up a number of NFTs, including Bored Apes, for tens of thousands of dollars less than the floor price.

For Bored Apes themselves, the challenge will be to stay one step ahead of the competition; in December 2021, Yuga Labs announced a partnership with Animoca Brands to launch a play-to-earn crypto game, boarding the latest bandwagon in the crypto space.

But with new PFP series launching every day, and trends coming and going according to the fickle whims of fashion, Bored Ape Yacht Club's position as the celebrity NFT of choice could yet be usurped. For the time being at least, though, Bored Apes are top of the PFP heap.

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