20 Mar 22 – Forget Bulls And Bears, It's Time For The Apes
A short recap of the BAYC story and their latest ApeCoin
If you haven't heard, the word on the street is about the latest ApeCoin (APE).
BAYC (Bored Ape Yacht Club) made some insane moves this month. Shortly after acquiring Larva Labs and giving all commercial rights to Punks and Meebits holders, BAYC dropped APE for BAYC and MAYC holders to claim, which will be used in their upcoming Metaverse project. Crazy right? Wait till you hear how much "free money" was airdropped to holders.
Each BAYC could claim around 10,000 APE, while MAYC could claim 2,000. When claimed with a BAKC, holders will also get slightly more APE coins (exact amount here). To put that into perspective, that's over 30E for a 110E BAYC (price before claims), and around 7E for a 23E MAYC. Shortly after, they teased the following video, which suggest what APE can be used for.
Well, there's not much details in the video although those in the space will probably make out the other projects that are featured – World of Women (WOW), Nouns, CrypToadz, Cool Cats. This is an ecosystem.
And for those who caught a preview of the leaked BAYC pitch deck, and if true, it suggests that there will be some kind of land sale, with 10,000 Kodas (new characters) randomly distributed on these parcels, which will likely be released in April or May. Without further speculation, I think it's useful to look at two aspects – what BAYC has achieved in less than a year, and the ecosystem.
Brief Recap Of BAYC
Launched in May 2021, BAYC took about a week to sell out, and has been climbing steadily. My closest brush with BAYC was at around 5E a pop, and nope, I did not ape in because I did not understand the value of NFTs. What sets it apart in my opinion, besides the culture, is its constant delivery.
1. BAKC drop
Each ape was soon dropped a dog companion, which was nothing much by itself really. Every other project was airdropping secondary NFTs in a bid to hype up their project.
2. Jimmy The Monkey Puzzle
I was so intrigued when I read about the puzzle. It was super engaging and rewarding for the guys who arrived at the final solution first. If I recall correctly, the winners weren't OG BAYC but bought their BAYC to join in the submission.
3. APE FEST
They had a physical event for holders. Now, it's just belonging to a virtual community, it's about being part of an IRL club.
With BAYC being auctioned off in traditional auction houses like Christie's and Sotheby's, it said something about the project. Add to that the many celebrities who bought and displayed their BAYC (largely in part with Moonpay), it became a status symbol.
5. MAYC drop/sale
Each BAYC were airdropped a serum, which can be used on their apes to generate a Mutant Ape (MAYC) that took on the traits of their base ape. An additional 10k (half the supply) was sold at a dutch auction that started at 3E and sold out at 2.7E. It is a prime example of expanding your ecosystem only when there's increased demand, and to do it in a fun way that does not diluted the OG collection.
6. Apes VS Mutant mobile game
Then there was a mobile game, which was another way of fun and engagement, plus rewarding the community.
Partnerships will go on to become a key theme in their timeline. There was the merch drop with Adidas, Punk Comics, and gmoney,, and later on further expansion with Gucci. And there was also the one with Animoca brands.
8. Larva Labs acquisition
This might have been the most unexpected move. On one hand, some disliked the monopolisation of projects – when you merge two of the biggest name in the NFT space. On another, some commented that it was a genius move that enabled Punks and Meebit holders, who had very restricted rights under Larva Labs.
Before we could even come to terms with whether the acquisition was overall positive or negative for the space, the leaks happened and then ApeCoin. Remember the first BAKC drop? It becomes useful when claimed with a BAYC/MAYC for APE.
So much was achieved in just over ten months. It almost feels like there was never a dull moment for holders. Further, the upcoming ecosystem that uses APE spells bullish all over. This is not even counting the many projects started by BAYC holders, whom can accept APE as a currency should they choose to.
In an era of super apps, we learnt that ecosystems were what made some apps "too big to fail". The Chinese were the first to experience it with Alibaba and their virtual payment systems – everyone was onboard, and QR code payment was omnipresent.
In NFT space, BAYC are the first to have built an ecosystem. It's not enough to be the earliest or the biggest, a project must leverage on their position to spur innovation in the space, and thereby consolidate their position in it. BAYC has done just that.
It's not just about the delivery, the engagement, or the social symbol. The upcoming Metaverse promises to be interoperable, and by letting other projects into their ecosystem, it is what makes their APE tokens even more usable.
The $SOS and $LOOKS airdrop has shown us that an incumbent can challenge the hegemony of OpenSea. In a space that champions decentralisation, collaborative contribution, those who understand and build towards that utopia of web3 are more likely to succeed. Of course, it remains to see whether SOS or LOOKS will be something, they simply showed us the possibility.
Then there's APE, which already has so many functional parts and a solid support of users. In their tie up with other leading NFT projects, it can create some form of consolidation to their power in the space. But in true web3 fashion, it's also up to any brand or group to stand up and challenge their dominance, which I believe will happen.
NFT, An Expanding Space
We are incredibly early – at least 90% of the population still don't get the use of NFTs. This can be a problem of access between early and late adopters. The ones who finally get this space in 2022 are unlikely to be able to afford a BAYC or MAYC.
This is also why it's important to keep an open ecosystem that anyone later to the space can access, albeit they'll be like fishes amongst the BAYC whales. But it's about welcoming people to the space, which allows it to grow. BAYC could easily have closed access, but in doing so, they'll only become an exclusive club – and won't be seen as desirable if they are too exclusive.
It is with this long-term perspective that I think BAYC and APE are heading somewhere. Having said that, if and when 50% of the population participates in the space, it's also too much for the whole population to concentrate on one ecosystem – which is also why I believe that there'll be competing ecosystems with some level of interoperability (much like altcoins).
The APE drop is incredible. It allowed non-NFT people to join in, although that'll likely be a speculative play. The result is having new ETH being channeled into NFTs, when people buy APE on exchanges. Thereafter, BAYC and MAYC holders flushed with new ETH liquidity can then put it back into other NFT projects – this way the crypto-but-non-NFT people are indirectly contributing to the growth of the space.
Since the APE drop, we've seen many of these top collections rise in floor prices. Whether it's because of speculation around the projects joining the APE ecosystem, redistribution of ETH into these projects, or new-found demand coming into the market, it's all pushing the space forward in a big way.
Am I bullish, hell yea. Now, if only the war does not exacerbate further... And if inflation/recession fears don't trigger a risk-off move...