Bored Ape Yacht Club: Digital Art or Casino? | Opinion

Charlie Taylor

The crypto market is in a brutal bearish moment But you wouldn’t know that if it was just the wave of festive invites to this week’s NFT NYC event. The meeting, which looked more like a week of parties spread across the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn than a regular conference in one building, brought together anonymous people using profile pictures (or PFPs, for short) of Apes, Punks , Doodles and Cool Cats on Twitter to the real world so they could meet in person and boost their JPEGs. The insane 2021 NFT NYC, which was the inaugural issue, had taken place in October and was perhaps best characterized by a much-shared article by Input magazine titled “The Bored Apes Invade Manhattan.” The text, which took it all to heart and cited proud Bored Apes holders (and many were dressed as their assets), immediately added fuel to the fire of Twitter mockery. “Read this to die instantly”, tweeted a journalist for Elle magazine. A journalist for the Chicago Reader newspaper tweeted: “My brain turned piriformis when I read that a primate will win a memoir written by…” Neil Strauss, author of the book “The Game: The Seduction Bible”. “BAYC is not a brainwashing cult” BAYC: Input magazine article asked, “How long will the party last?”. Eight months later, the answer will depend on your opinion of the entire industry.

bubble burst

The current slump in the crypto market has caused the price floor of the most famous NFT collections to plummet, allowing critics to claim that the bubble had burst. Even though prices fell, NFT sales volume rose, suggesting that many people used the lower prices as a chance to enter the segment. In the latest episode of the “gm” podcast, Decrypt welcomed Christine Brown, who has left her role as crypto leader at Robinhood to become COO of an NFT portfolio app. Even after the drastic drop in Robinhood’s stock, the initiative is still pretty impressive. It suggests that many smart people in the tech industry truly believe that NFTs are here to stay.

agony and ecstasy

In many ways, Bored Ape Yacht Club is the perfect representation of the agony and ecstasy of NFT fever. Among the very interesting new use cases for NFTs (such as Stepn, who uses NFT sneakers as a reward mechanism for crypto runners, for example), Apes are undoubtedly the face of NFTs for the average population. Many people who truly believe that there is value in NFTs consider Apes to be problematic (like Vitalik Buterin and Muneeb Ali) and sort of cult-like. Now, apecoin (APE) has hit a record low and the minimum price to buy an Ape has plummeted to $100K. But $100,000 for a JPEG of a primate is still pretty impressive, as the collection was released just over a year ago. In August of last year, I wrote* a column that explained how NFTs are used as community access passes. I still believe this is the best way to explain them to newbies trying to understand why people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for primate JPEGs. Andrew Millar, a domain name entrepreneur who had previously written about BAYC for Decrypt, sold his Ape in May and made a huge profit (nine months after he bought it). A month later he came back and the repurchasedas he missed being part of the BAYC community.

practical utility

More recently, the conversation about NFTs has shifted to utility, which is healthy for the industry. If NFTs are going to continue to exist, they need to have a purpose beyond being a digital ostentation. When it comes to Bored Apes, holders have access to a members-only Discord, product launches and a free apecoin. But is this useful? What can you do with your Bored Ape? Yuga Labs, the studio that owns Bored Apes and CryptoPunks, got a lot of positive publicity when it announced that it would grant full intellectual property (or IP) rights to Apes holders. So you could use your Ape in whatever you want without fear of getting sued. However, there is a problem: Everyone can too. There are still no legal bases to stop someone from using an Ape they don’t own. There’s also nothing stopping someone from using your Ape as their profile picture on Twitter — other than being publicly mocked by members of the BAYC community. Ryder Ripps, artist and provocateur, created a “recontextualized” version of BAYC by recreating Apes and listing them on the NFT Foundation website. Their “RR/BAYC” apes look identical to the original Bored Apes. Initially, he received a takedown notice for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA) from Yuga Labs, entered into dispute, and Yuga terminated it. Ripps takes this as proof that Yuga isn’t doing much to protect his holders. He has also sold T-shirts that contain Apes which he does not own, without having suffered consequences so far. “To me, the craziest thing is that this company has generated billions of dollars and convinced people with a complete lie that they own the commercial rights to these drawings,” Ripps said over the phone. “What they really mean is that they don’t care who wears them and they’re not going to sue anyone.” Ripps is not anti-NFTs. His criticism is against speculators who have dominated the sector. “I believe NFTs have their place in the world,” he explains. “It’s a shame the crowd that was attracted to them aren’t attracted to digital art and treat them like a casino.” For now, even in the midst of a crypto winter, the casino is still open. *Opinion article written by Daniel Roberts, editor-in-chief of Decrypt. **Translated by Daniela Pereira do Nascimento with permission from

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