Yuga Labs is by far one of the most popular names on the NFT market and for a good reason. When examining the top ten NFT collections based on trading volume, it becomes apparent that five of them are affiliated with Yuga Labs, including notable ones like Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks. Furthermore, their other ventures, such as the Otherside metaverse, are experiencing rapid growth.
Exploring Yuga Labs
Yuga Labs is a leading organization in the Web3 world. As of the present time, the company’s valuation exceeds $4 billion. Established in February 2021 in Delaware, United States, Yuga Labs has expanded its operations and currently operates with a workforce of over 100 employees, with its headquarters situated in Miami.
Among the numerous successful NFT ventures by Yuga Labs, notable examples include CryptoPunks, Meebits, Otherside, as well as their acclaimed derivatives, Mutant Ape Yacht Club and the Bored Ape Kennel Club. It is worth noting that all of Yuga Labs’ NFTs are hosted on the Ethereum blockchain.
Yuga Labs was created in 2021 by Greg Solano (aka Gargamel) and Wylie Aronow (aka Gordon Goner). The company soon took shape and ultimately consisted of four co-founders. Their identities were kept secret for a long time, so they were only known by their nicknames:
- Gargamel – Greg Solano
- Gordon Goner – Wylie Aronow
- No Sass – Zeshan Ali
- Emperor Tomato Ketchup – Kerem Atalay
By 2022, the Web3 community was eagerly anticipating the revelation of Yuga Labs’ creators, and the unveiling turned out to be a truly remarkable event. In February of the previous year, Buzzfeed published an article that doxxed the founders, Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano, without their consent, making the disclosure involuntary.
In any case, this was how the NFT community came to learn that both individuals are in their thirties and reside in Florida. For instance, Greg Solano is employed as a writer and editor.
Subsequently, the two co-founders also acknowledged their true identities on social media platforms. Wylie Aronow candidly revealed his battle to maintain physical well-being amidst a demanding workload. Earlier this year, recognizing the signs of burnout, he made the decision to step away from his role within the company. Nonetheless, he expressed his intention to continue being involved with the team and extended his support to the new team member and CEO, Daniel Alegre.
If you’re curious about the current ownership of Yuga Labs, it was in December 2022 that Daniel Alegre was initially announced as the new CEO of the company. However, it wasn’t until April 2023 that he officially assumed the position. The timing of his arrival was deemed opportune by many, considering that Wylie Aronow had departed from the team, the second chapter of the Otherside metaverse had recently concluded, and the ongoing legal dispute with Ryder Ripps remained unresolved.
Alegre adeptly managed all these challenges and more, and for good reason. Before joining Yuga Labs, he served as the COO of Activision Blizzard for three years. Additionally, he held the position of Google’s President of Global Retail, accumulating 16 years of valuable experience within the company.
The current CEO took the helm from Nicole Muniz, who was Yuga Labs’ CEO between 2021-2023. She garnered recognition as one of the prominent figures on the ‘Fortune 40 Under 40’ list in 2022 and continues to contribute to the team as a strategic advisor.
In fact, it would be impossible to tell what is Yuga Labs without looking into their top NFT projects. Thus, let us explore these ventures to gain a deeper understanding.
BAYC, The Icons
The true expedition of Yuga Labs commenced on April 23, 2021, with the introduction of one of the most successful NFT projects in history: Bored Ape Yacht Club. This collection of 10,000 digital avatars was sold at a remarkable price of 0.08 ETH (equivalent to $250 at that time).
Although starting modestly, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs have experienced an astounding rise in value, with a current floor price of 47.2 ETH. The project rapidly gained immense popularity shortly after its launch, presenting Yuga Labs with significant potential, which they certainly recognized.
A mere two months after the release of BAYC, Yuga Labs unveiled Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC). This new collection of NFTs, known as ‘Club Dogs,’ serves as the companions to the Bored Apes from the initial collection, with each Ape having its unique canine companion. As of the present moment, these virtual pets possess a floor price of 4.3438 ETH.
If you found the previous projects intriguing, then the Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFT collection of 20K takes it to an even more remarkable level. On August 28th, 2021, Yuga Labs distributed a Mutant Serum NFT as an airdrop to Bored Ape holders. These holders could utilize the serum to create Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs by paying only the gas fees. Furthermore, the Dutch auction for the initial offering of 10,000 MAYC NFTs sold out within one hour, accumulating a staggering $90 million. In total, there are 20K MAYC collectibles available, with a floor price currently standing at 10.13 ETH.
Yuga Labs became one of the pioneering Web3 companies to distribute NFTs from distinct collections to existing holders, all thanks to the BAKC and MAYC drops. Even after two years since its inception, the Bored Ape Yacht Club continues to dominate the charts.
The acquisition of CryptoPunks by Yuga Labs from Larva Labs made headlines due to the project’s iconic status as one of the most renowned NFT ventures since its launch in 2017. In March 2022, Yuga Labs announced the significant purchase, which encompassed the brand, IP rights, and copyrights to the artwork.
Despite its unexpected nature, this decision proved advantageous for holders of CryptoPunks. Yuga Labs, in a move that the community had eagerly awaited during Larva Labs’ ownership, provided Punk holders with complete commercial rights.
As of the current writing, the floor price for CryptoPunks stands at 49.48 ETH, which is significantly higher than the floor price of the other project that Yuga Labs acquired from Larva Labs.
May 2021 saw the launch of Meebits by Larva Labs, consisting of a collection of 20K 3D voxel avatars. This project can be likened to a modern remake of CryptoPunks in terms of its design, which is why it generated significant excitement within the NFT community.
In March 2022, Yuga Labs acquired Meebits along with CryptoPunks, marking one year after its initial launch. While the specifics of the deal were not disclosed by the companies, it can be inferred that the transaction involved a substantial sum, possibly in the millions of dollars. Presently, Meebits alone has amassed a total trading volume of over 169,643 ETH, with a floor price of 2.1 ETH.
By now, you know that Yuga Labs owns some of the top NFT collections on the market. Nevertheless, the company has expanded its reach beyond NFTs to various other domains within the Web3 space. Metaverses, coins, and even bitcoin ordinals are just a few examples of the diverse areas in which Yuga Labs has established its presence.
The Otherside Metaverse
In straightforward terms, Otherside represents a significant extension of the BAYC ecosystem into the Web3 space. This metaverse, launched in July 2022, takes the form of an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), capable of accommodating over 10,000 simultaneous users. Players have the opportunity to purchase land, embark on explorations within the metaverse using various characters, and progress within the ecosystem. Furthermore, thanks to partnerships with Cool Cats, World of Women, and CrypToadz, players can also journey to other metaverses.
The inception of this adventure commenced with Otherdeeds, which are NFTs intricately tied to the lands owned by players. Beyond their primary function, these lands also grant players access to in-game characters known as Kodas. As per the metaverse’s storyline, these creatures harbor the cosmic energy essential for the operation of the Otherside metaverse.
The initial journey of the game garnered immense success among players, prompting the founders to elevate it to the next level. Consequently, in March, Yuga Labs embarked on Otherside’s Second Trip, which attracted over 7,000 players upon its launch. This immersive experience further immersed participants by organizing them into teams and introducing new metaverse lands and games, all under the watchful guidance of the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s beloved mascot, Curtis.
Twelvefold Bitcoin Ordinals
In February 2023, Yuga Labs introduced their newest project that deviated from the NFT project, this time centered around Bitcoin. The launch, known as Twelvefold, unveiled a limited collection of 300 generative art pieces. What made these pieces unique was their inscription onto satoshis, the indivisible units that compose Bitcoins. It is worth mentioning that the Yuga Labs team meticulously crafted each digital artwork using a combination of 3D technology, hand-illustrated traits, and generative art, all arranged in a 12×12 grid format.
Upon its launch, Twelvefold sparked controversy due to its innovative nature. One of the primary points of contention was the requirement for bidders to send their bid funds directly to Yuga Labs, which raised concerns about the potential for manipulation of the bidding process by the company. Despite these criticisms, the collection managed to sell out, attaining a floor price of $50K.
APECoin, also known as APE, serves as the governance and utility token for the expansive APE ecosystem. This web3 coin was introduced following the tremendous success of BAYC in March 2022, staying true to its name. The initial recipients of APEcoins were BAYC and MAYC NFT holders.
Similar to other ERC-20 tokens, APE grants holders access to the ApeCoin DAO. By holding APE, individuals can unlock various privileges, including entry to VIP events, exclusive merchandise, participation in games, and trading opportunities within the thriving APE ecosystem.
As of the current writing, the price of one APECoin stands at $3.20.
Undoubtedly, Yuga Labs has emerged as a prominent player in the Web3 space, with its ownership of various NFT projects serving as a testament to its brand. From the iconic BAYC and its subsequent collections, MAYC and BAKC, to CryptoPunks, from metaverses to digital tokens and the revolutionary Bitcoin ordinals, it possesses a portfolio that encompasses some of the most successful and highly sought-after collections in the history of NFTs.
Despite experiencing CEO transitions, facing controversies within the NFT community, and navigating legal disputes, Yuga Labs has demonstrated resilience and longevity. The company’s enduring presence affirms its commitment to the Web3 space, signaling that it is here to stay.