Did the Bored Ape Yacht Club set sail? What happened to the NFT Craze?

BY: Emily West, RBFL Student Editor

In 2020 and 2021, non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) took the internet and pop culture by storm; Yuga Labs launched the Bored Ape Yacht Club[1], Mike Winkelmann (aka “Beeple”) sold a single NFT digital artwork for $69M, and NBA Top Shot launched their NFT marketplace for basketball video clips. Early on, NFTs were known for being little more than digital art and social media profile pictures that had no other practical or tangible value. Today, however, it appears that the market expects much more from NFT creators, extending far beyond these digital art origins. Although the characteristic of digital art is still an essential element of the value of many NFTs on the market, they generally have adapted to include access to digital communities and have other value-driven assets.

Today, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is still a blue chip NFT[2] and they continue to mint new iterations of their traditional ape profile picture. However, they are also a leader in developing these utility driven creations. For example, Bored Ape launched the recent Dookey Dash extravaganza where hopeful minters competed in an online game for weeks to compete for their minting order. The event brought in 25,000 individuals who competed for the mint.[3]

The technology behind NFTs also has potential to reach far beyond its profile picture starting place. For example, NFTs can of course be one-of-a-kind art as well as in game experiences, a method to sell exclusive musical content, a way to buy/sell/trade virtual real estate, and can revolutionize the way that individuals store and verify personal information.

Before NFTs and the technology behind them can reach their full use and possibilities, there will likely need to be some sort of federal regulation. Given the vast range of ways NFTs and the blockchain can impact everyday life, such regulation could come from the SEC or another regulatory agency. There are certainly tax implications as well as privacy and security implications, family law and estate planning implications and countless others. Thus, regardless of the future regulations or developments in the technology, we can expect to continue hearing about NFTs and the blockchain into the future.

[1] Daryl Loh, From 0.08 To 769 ETH: Exploring The History And Rise Of The Bored Apes, Chain Debrief (March 12, 2022), https://chaindebrief.com/bored-ape-yacht-club-history-rise-of-bayc/.

[2] Jason Nelson, What Is a Blue Chip NFT, Decrypt (Nov 25, 2022), https://decrypt.co/resources/what-is-a-blue-chip-nft.

[3] https://finance.yahoo.com/news/fortnite-esports-star-wins-bored-022715592.html

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