If you are still subjecting yourself to mindless stupors, you may have recently tuned in to listen to the shameless Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton chat about the latest money-from-nothing scam from the metaverse. This one is a non-fungible token (NFT) — an avatar — called “Bored Ape Yacht Club” (BAYC). Fallon said he used MoonPay to complete the transaction — describing it as “PayPal, but for crypto.”
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) November 17, 2021
There are only 10,000 apes in the collection, and the minimum cost to purchase one is 93 ether, or about $224,000. Lately prices on some are much higher.
BAYC was launched in late April 2021 by Yuga Labs, a team of four pseudonymous developers: Gargamel, Gordon Goner, Emperor Tomato Ketchup and No Sass. It took 12 hours for all 10,000 apes to sell out at a price of 0.08 ether, or around $190. Gargamel is a fictional character from The Smurfs. He is a wizard, the sworn enemy of the Smurfs, and the main antagonist in the show and comic books. His main goals are to destroy, eat and transform the Smurfs into gold, or whatever.
To legitimize the apes and tap the right market, Yuga Labs turned to Christies and Sotheby’s auction houses and then OpenSea. Rolling Stone reports:
This summer, 101 of Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club tokens, which were first minted in early May, resold for $24.4 million in an auction hosted by the fine-art house Sotheby’s. Competitor Christie’s followed shortly thereafter, auctioning off an art collectors’ haul of modern-day artifacts — which included four apes — for $12 million. Around the same time, one collector bought a single token directly from OpenSea — kind of like eBay for NFTs — for $2.65 million. A few weeks later, another Sotheby’s sale set a new auction record for the most-valuable single Bored Ape ever sold: Ape number 8,817 went for $3.4 million.
By January of 2022, the BAYC had sold more than a billion dollars worth of apes.
A token itself is your membership to something on the metaverse called “a swamp club for apes.” The bathroom of the ape club is a member’s-only graffiti board. Apparently, ape club lives are so locked down and empty that this image substitutes for an interesting life?
When the hype dies down, the marks will come to realize they’ve been duped. Hopefully, the damage from this fleecing is limited to celebs with money to burn. Alas, there are other emerging NFTs for pumping and dumping Ponzis that require smaller amounts of fiat.
— m0rgan.ethᵍᵐ 🎙💎🙆🏼♀️ (@Helloimmorgan) December 31, 2021
Allegedly, Justin Bieber ponied up $1.29 million for an ape last week. He captioned the post #lonelyboredape” and shared the news with his 219 million Instagram magical-thinking followers.
All the usual suspects are on board this MoonPay/BAYC pump-and-dump fleecing. The heavy promotion doesn’t seem to bother YouTube in the least. New channels abound. An ape from the Club graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
This fleecing is a natural for celebrity culture in that it allows the celeb to get in on pre-pump prices for this hot air and promote their name. Whether the celeb is tarnished when the NFT crashes and burns remains to be seen. But like all Ponzi schemes, in the run-up phase the association has benefits. Here is a list of celebs, few of whom I’m familiar, who are involved. You can see the “priceless” apes in the header, behind the celebrities and in the Eminem purchase above.
Every Celebrity Who Owns a Bored Ape Yatch Club NFT #shorts
Regulation is like something out of the Wild, Wild West. We suspect money laundering and tax avoidance as the IRS has no rules for NFTs.
Unfortunately, the plutocrat class is on board, too, setting up the infrastructure. These boyz have a way of offloading the risk and setting themselves up for the pump and dump — in this case, utilizing the age-old vig model. Vig, or vigorish, is the fee charged by a bookmaker for accepting a gambler’s wager. In American English, it can also refer to the interest owed a loanshark in consideration for credit. According to Wikipedia, the term came to English usage via Yiddish slang, which was itself a loanword from Ukrainian or Russian.
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (manages $18.8 billion in assets) is reportedly in advanced talks to lead a funding round for Yuga Labs. The funding round is expected to be for at least $200 million, Decrypt reports, and the company is ultimately seeking a valuation of $5 billion, according to NFT Nick.