Yuga Labs acquires CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs

DThe purchase price remains undisclosed, but it’s likely to be astronomically (crypto) high: Yuga Labs, the company behind the celebrity-favorite “Bored Ape Yacht Club” (BAYC) NFT collection, owns the products of blockchain pioneer -Art Market and purchased the rights to “CryptoPunks” and “Meebits” from LarvaLabs.

Larva Labs, the company of software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson, remains a separate entity, but Yuga Labs now controls the three most valuable collections of non-fungible tokens — and has big plans to bring them to market off the blockchain. “We see ourselves with tentacles in all of these areas: casual wear, events, video games, NFT, etc.,” Wylie Aranow, aka Gordon Goner, one of the founders of the BAYC project, told US tech portal The Verge. . His partner Greg Solano aka Gargamel called the “CryptoPunks” visionary, iconic and forward-looking.

Bored Monkeys Yacht Club;  These monkeys are worth several hundred thousand euros.

Bored Monkeys Yacht Club; These monkeys are worth several hundred thousand euros.

Image: Yuga Labs

In fact, what Hall and Watkinson started as “a kind of art project” on the Ethereum blockchain sparked an unprecedented boom. In mid-2017, they issued – for free – 10,000 NFTs, unique virtual certificates of ownership on the blockchain linked to the appropriate number of algorithmically generated collectible characters: pixelated portraits of characters inspired by the London punk scene. The “CryptoPunks” have generated such a collection craze and such a fever of speculation that the most expensive of them was sold a month ago for 8,000 Ether, the equivalent of approximately $23 million. . The revenue generated by “CryptoPunks” since their launch is in the billions. The traditional art trade has ennobled the NFT pixel head with museum exhibitions and auctions, for example at Sotheby’s in New York.

welcome to the club

Following this model, Yuga Labs developed the business with the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” – and expanded it with a few offerings. Again, a collection of 10,000 collectibles, this time computer-generated three-quarter profiles of cartoon-like monkey heads with various accessories and idiosyncrasies, certified by NFT on the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike purist “CryptoPunks”, which only mark virtual possession, BAYC-NFTs are also membership cards for a club. Not only do their owners have the right to market their NFT, but they’re also part of a community that includes Paris Hilton, Snoop Dog, or Jimmy Fallon, where you can get invited to parties and expect special offers.

The fact that this pattern led the “Bored Apes” to quickly surpass the “CryptoPunks” in popularity and become even more successful commercially is linked to the development of NFT activity towards a digital medium, also in social networks is celebrated. NFTs have become part of popular culture as objects of speculation. Hall and Watkinson, the fathers of “CryptoPunks”, said in an interview, “We felt that as experimental software designers, we felt like we didn’t really fit in.” Separating the rights to the “CryptoPunks” and the three dimensional virtual “Meebits” collectible figures, which they also developed and released in 2021, seems like the next logical step.

Yuga Labs, which backed the purchase of the rights with the acquisition of 400 “CryptoPunk” NFTs and 1,700 “Meebits” tokens, will seek to exhaust all playful marketing opportunities with two established strong brands and a newcomer. The fact that NFTs are also used in difficult times has been demonstrated since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: millions of cryptocurrencies were given to the attacked country. Also among the donations was a “CryptoPunk”. Its estimated market value: over $200,000.

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