Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Now, it’s branching out into the virtual world, with the launch of Otherside, aplatform from BAYC developers Yuga Labs.
What is Bored Ape Yacht Club?
Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a collection of 10,000 ape-themed NFTs with unique traits and characteristics. Created by Miami-based developers Yuga Labs, BAYC has grown over time into one of the most recognizable and valued NFT profile picture (PFP) collections to exist in the crypto space since it launched in April of 2021.
The BAYC collection is valued in the billions of dollars, with the floor price at around $114,000 as of August 2022, according to CoinGecko. Yuga Labs has also created spin-off collection Mutant Ape Yacht Club collection, worth $427 million, and owns the rights to other projects, including Cryptopunks, a series of avatars in an 8-bit-style worth $970 million.
Now, Yuga Labs is leveraging its brands to create a metaverse platform, Otherside. The metaverse is a persistent, immersive virtual world, in which participants interact using avatars.
Otherside is just one of many metaverse platforms vying for the attention of users; it differs from video game experiences in that its structure won’t be linear, and players will be able to explore immersive virtual worlds freely and of their own accord.
How will Otherside work?
Otherside will revolve around digital communities and ownership opportunities afforded by blockchain technology, with digital plots of land and a native currency, ApeCoin, which has been adopted by Otherside for its economy and ecosystem.
Otherside is being built in collaboration with metaverse technology company Improbable and Animoca Brands, a development company specializing in Web3 technology for entertainment and video games which owns The Sandbox, another metaverse platform.
More than 10,000 players will be able to interact with each other simultaneously in Otherside, using M² (MSquared), a network developed specifically for large-scale metaverse projects by Improbable.
The technology will also facilitate a natural voice chat that can enable thousands of players to chat at once, according to Otherside’s website. The M² platform also has game streaming functionality built into it, meaning that users won’t need high-end computers to join Otherside from web browsers and mobile devices in supported regions.
What’s been revealed so far?
In March 2022, the public got its first hint at Otherside’s content when Yuga Labs released a teaser trailer. In the animated short, set to “Break on Through (To The Otherside)” by The Doors, a Bored Ape is abducted by a flying creature after drinking a glowing blue substance fished up from the depths of a swamp.
— Yuga Labs (@yugalabs) March 19, 2022
It followed the launch of ApeCoin (APE), a BAYC-themed cryptocurrency; owners of NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club collection able to claim 10,094 and 2,042 of the Ethereum-based tokens, respectively. ApeCoin can be traded just like any other cryptocurrency and has a total market cap of $1.6 billion as of August 2022, according to CoinMarketCap.
While the token’s image bears the BAYC logo and the Yuga Labs has said it will adopt the coin's use in offering future products and services, the official line is that ApeCoin isn’t affiliated with BAYC or Yuga Labs, and is instead governed by the ApeCoin DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization. In a statement accompanying the launch of ApeCoin, the DAO’s noted that, “It’s probably tempting to write that ApeCoin is from the Bored Ape Yacht Club to simplify things, but it’s not accurate.”
Owning an “Otherdeed”
Later that month, Yuga Labs launched a mysterious website that allowed people to register Ethereum wallets with the company and complete KYC verification. Both ApeCoin and this website would come into play when Yuga Labs announced the Otherdeed mint.
An Otherdeed is an NFT that serves as a deed to a digital plot of land in the Otherside universe, and as an access token to participate in playtesting for the product, according to Otherside’s litepaper. It states that each plot of virtual land will also have its own “composition of natural elements, resources, elemental attributes” and other qualities.
People rushed to mint these virtual deeds when the sale went live in late April on Otherside’s website, with the supply limited to 55,000 and the mint price set at 305 APE, worth around $5,800 at the time. People buying the NFTs also needed Ethereum to pay for gas fees, as well. Owners of BAYC and MAYC NFTs were able to mint Otherdees for free within 21 days of the sale’s launch.
In 24 hours, more than half a billion dollars worth of ApeCoin was spent on minting Otherdeeds, clogging up the Ethereum network and sending transaction fees on the network through the roof. As a result, more than $147 million worth of Ethereum was burned in processing the transactions, with Yuga Labs ultimately agreeing to refund gas fees for failed transactions during the mint.
Eventually, Otherside will contain 200,000 virtual plots of land, which will be released over time, according to the project’s website. So far, the project has achieved over $1 billion in sales volume, according to Crypto Slam.
The Otherside is home to thousands of ‘Koda,’ alien creatures distributed randomly throughout 10,000 Otherdeeds. As of the time of writing, it’s unclear how they will fit into the metaverse project—but their origins will be explained at some point as part of “The Voyager’s Journey,” an 11-part narrative gaming experience open to players with Otherdeed NFTs that introduces them to the fundamentals of the metaverse project.
“First Trip” and beyond
In July 2022, the world got its first proper look at Otherside when 4,300 ‘Voyagers’ participated in the ‘First Trip.’ This early-access tech demo of the metaverse project featured a tour of its central location, named the ‘Biogenic Swamp,’ and culminating in a boss fight against a Koda.
Otherside ultimately aims to one day be part of an open metaverse, where users and assets can seamlessly transition between different platforms; the M² platform on which it’s built is designed with interoperability in mind, with a view to ultimately creating a fully integrated metaverse.
Pseudonymous Yuga Labs co-founder Gordon Goner argued that ultimately, “the future will bend towards the open, interoperable metaverse,” in which assets are “user-owned (not rented) and able to move off the platform.”
When it comes to web2, we’re competing with giants. But we think the future will bend towards the open, interoperable metaverse, with assets that are user-owned (not rented) and able to move off the platform.
— GordonGoner.eth (@GordonGoner) July 15, 2022
But for the time being, joining the Voyagers on their journey comes at a hefty premium, and the project’s push for inclusivity—often associated with a free internet—has yet to be seen.
As the project progresses, the balance between accessibility and the exclusivity attached to Yuga Labs' previous ventures will define its contribution to Web3.