Yuga is a Miami-based company that aims to shape Web3 through storytelling, experiences, and community. On its official website, there is a statement that vividly describes Yuga’s values in the Yugaverse: “In the Yugaverse, fans and players are owners and creators, and everyone can create and play together in a web3 game.” This company has created many legends.
Yuga’s subsidiary project, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), was launched on April 23, 2021, and only about 500 were minted in the first week of the presale. It sold out on May 1, 2021, at only 0.08 ETH. Even in the bear market, BAYC has a floor price of around 30 ETH (the lowest price for its NFT sales), and there are nearly 400 IP products associated with it. The Ape Coin token, launched last year, ranks 67th on Coingecko in market capitalization. Its community is global, and there are offline events almost every month. In March 2023, Yuga raised $450 million in financing at a valuation of $4 billion. Investors include Animoca Brands, a16z Crypto, Hashed, and other high-quality VCs.
In addition to introducing Yuga’s subsidiary projects and major events, this article will also analyze the reasons for Yuga’s tremendous success.
Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) was the beginning of everything for Yuga. After the success of BAYC, Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) and Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) were introduced as equity projects. Yuga also acquired well-known NFT projects such as CryptoPunks, Meebits, and CoolCats, and launched Otherside and various Yuga IP games. Yuga has created an “Apeverse” centered around Yuga IP and brand.
Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) was launched by Yuga Labs in April 2021. It consists of 10,000 unique cartoon apes presented as ERC-721 NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. Each NFT has 4-7 different attributes randomly combined by code, giving each NFT a unique appearance and rarity. It represents verifiable digital ownership and can also be used as a membership card for the “Yacht Club” with exclusive access to certain Ethereum dApps and offline BAYC events.
Basic information about BAYC (source: Opensea)
For more details about BAYC, please refer to Gate’s article What Is Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)?
BAYC price performance and basic data (source: NFTscan)
Currently, BAYC can be traded on platforms such as Opensea and Blur, with a total trading volume of 1.39M ETH, ranking first in NFT trading volume. A BAYC NFT was once sold for a high price of 1080 ETH during the bull market, stabilizing at a floor price of over 100 ETH. With the arrival of the bear market and the macroeconomic impact on the NFT industry, even blue-chip projects like BAYC have seen their floor prices drop back to the levels of the bull market’s beginning. However, it is undeniable that nearly half of the collectors have held their BAYC NFTs for over a year, which demonstrates the cohesion of the BAYC community and the belief of its holders. Among the 5.5k holders, the majority are blue-chip whale accounts, symbolizing high-end NFT players.
Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) consists of 10,000 dog NFTs. They were not sold publicly during the minting phase and were only available for free to Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) members (only gas fees were required). BAKC is the second NFT series launched by the founders of BAYC, Yuga Labs. Any royalties generated from secondary market sales will be donated to charities.
BAKC price performance and basic data (source: Opensea)
Since BAKC was only available for free to BAYC users, it caused a frenzy in the market as the price was lower than BAYC. The highest trading price reached 285 ETH. The total trading volume is approximately 262K ETH, ranking 11th. The current price is around 2 ETH. Most BAKC holders have held their NFTs for 3 months to 1 year. Apart from the users who received them for free during the minting phase, almost all are in a loss position in terms of ETH value.
BAKC price performance and basic data (source: NFTscan)
Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) is the sister project of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). Mutant apes in MAYC can only be obtained by “mutating” existing Bored Apes using the MUTANT SERUM potion or by minting Mutant Apes in public sales. It is the third NFT collection launched by Yuga Labs.
Basic information about MAYC (source: Opensea)
MAYC has a larger quantity and is more suitable as a profile picture (PFP) on social media compared to BAKC. Its price and trading volume are higher than BAKC, ranking third in terms of trading volume. The highest trading price reached 500 ETH, and the current price is around 5 ETH.
MAYC price performance and basic data(source: NFTscan)
CryptoPunks is an early NFT collection created by Larva Labs, consisting of 10,000 unique collectible characters. Yuga Labs acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits, and handed over the commercial rights to the community. They are the inspiration behind the modern crypto art movement. Each CryptoPunk has a unique appearance, including different hairstyles, glasses, hats, and other accessories, making them highly collectible.
Basic information about CryptoPunks (source: Opensea)
The acquisition of CryptoPunks highlights Yuga Labs’ absolute leadership in the NFT space and its own brand strength. CryptoPunks is the representative acquisition by Yuga Labs, and blue-chip NFTs such as Meebits, CoolCats, and World of Women are also part of Yuga’s portfolio. In addition to NFTs, Yuga also acquired Beeple’s NFT collection 10KTF and the Web3 company WENEW.
CryptoPunks price performance and basic data (source: NFTscan)
If BAYC is a must-have for high-end NFT players, MAYC represents the luxury collection of NFTs. Even in the current bear market, it has a floor price of around 60 ETH and is the largest NFT project in market capitalization, with 76% of accounts holding for over a year.
Otherside is a metaverse game project developed by Yuga Labs, positioned as a MetaRPG (role-playing game), aiming to create a gamified, fully decentralized, interoperable world. Otherside is not only open to Bored Ape holders but also integrates other project NFTs. The sale of Otherside land (Otherdeed) officially started on May 1, 2022. Yuga Labs will continue to advance the development of Otherside and sell more land plots in the future.
Basic information of Otherside (source: Opensea)
Otherdeed’s metaverse attributes give its holders a shorter holding period and liquidity. The current price is approximately 0.6 ETH, with a total of 17.3K holders.
Otherdeed price performance and basic data (source: NFTscan)
Koda is an NFT avatar introduced by Yuga Labs in Otherside. According to the official description, Koda is the “primitive creature that leads us into the Otherside.” They are classified as members of the “Celestial” clan and are crucial to the world of Otherside. Their energy is key to maintaining the stability of the universe. In the game, Koda may become an important avenue for players to explore and develop in the Otherside world.
Basic information about Koda (source: Opensea)
As an essential character in the Bored Ape Yacht Club-themed game, the price and trading volume of Koda have been relatively stable, with a current floor price of around 4 ETH.
Koda price performance and basic data (source: NFTscan)
HV-MTL Forge is a game launched by Yuga Labs that falls between pet breeding and a casual world. It is a creative, social, and competitive game designed for HV-MTL NFT holders. In the game, players must create a forge and make their pets (NV-MTL NFTs that need to be raised) happier and more efficient through frequent interactions and maintaining a suitable environment in the forge. Players also need to build and decorate their forges and win community votes. The more forging votes a player receives, the greater the rewards.
Basic information about HV-MTL (source: Opensea)
HV-MTL NFTs started minting in March 2023, and as of October 9th, the trading volume has approached 40K ETH. Most holders (80.27%) have been holding onto their NFTs. Still, due to market conditions and gameplay, the current floor price is stable at around 0.2 ETH.
Price performance and basic information about HV-MTL (source: NFTscan)
Yuga Labs was founded by four friends: Gargamel, Gordon, Tomato, and Sass. Gargamel and Gordon became interested in cryptocurrency in 2017. After seeing an opportunity, Garga texted Gordon, “Let’s make an NFT,” and they invited engineers Sass and Tomato to join the creation.
Cryptocurrency traders have affectionately referred to themselves as “Apes” for a long time. The team envisioned a future where crypto changed the world and everyone in the crypto space “succeeded” (Supercycle, etc.). Each “imitator” or person who made an effort to enter the crypto space exceeded their wildest imaginations. But then what? What do bored “Apes” do? Their answer was to hang out in a secret club in the swamp, exclusively for apes. And they doodled on a collaborative pixel board in the club’s bathroom. After collaborating with a team of freelance illustrators to turn this idea into reality, the Bored Ape Yacht Club was ready for its one-week presale launch on April 23, 2021.
Since then, the legendary journey that everyone is familiar with has unfolded, and the team has welcomed more web3/web2 industry leaders. According to ROOTDATA, the current management team includes:
In addition to the founders, CEO Daniel previously served as the Chief Operating Officer at Blizzard, and CTO Mike was the Executive Vice President of Development at Epic Games, the developer of “Fortnite.” Yat Siu is the co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, an investor in Yuga Labs, and brings a wealth of resources.
2021.02.08 Yuga Labs, LLC established
2021.04.23 BAYC presale begins. All 10,000 NFTs can be minted for 0.08 ETH
2021.06.24 The first batch of community grants winners announced: Jenkins The Valet, Josh Ong, etc.
2021.06.25 BAKC unveiled
2021.08.28 MAYC released
2021.10 First Annual Ape Fest held on a yacht in New York
2021.12 Adidas enters the metaverse through Bored Ape Yacht Club
2022.03.11 CryptoPunks and Meebits join Yugaverse
2022.03.17 Yuga adopts ApeCoin as the primary token
2022.03.18 Otherside announces the launch of gamified virtual universe and land minting in April
2022.3.22 Yuga completes $450 million seed funding at a valuation of $4 billion
2022.07.16 Otherside makes history of web3 with First Trip demo
2022.08.20 IP licenses of CryptoPunks and Meebits released to the community
2022.10.05 BAYC Community Council announced
2022.11.14 WENEW and 10KTF joined Yugaverse
2022.12.05 Yuga Labs listed on CoinDesk’s 2022 Most Influential List
While CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties were absolute pioneers in the industry, Yuga’s creation of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) truly revolutionized gameplay, innovation, and brought NFTs to wider boundaries. In the market at the time, Yuga connected NFTs with culture, physical items, and offline gatherings, breaking the digital limitations of small images and transforming them into symbols of ownership and culture. This was a creative innovation in NFT gameplay.
By building a story around the successful “Ape” and promoting their NFTs to influential celebrities like Mark Cuban and Stephen Curry, Yuga created a “FOMO” sentiment and established itself as a “celebrity-level product.” Whether through offline gatherings or collaborations with Web2 brands like Gucci and Tiffany, Yuga’s IP-focused approach gradually removed the speculative nature of BAYC and added brand value premiums.
Yuga’s animations, metaverse demos, and even regular activities have their own cultural characteristics. They excel at capturing the attention of Web3/Web2 users and consistently act as pioneers. The most direct example is the direct acquisition of CryptoPunks, which confirmed their leading position through the acquisition and allowed NFT players to understand their ambitious “Apeverse” vision.
Yuga places great emphasis on community building and has organized many exclusive products and benefits for the Yuga community, such as the initial announcements of BAKC and MAYC, as well as the later airdrop of Ape Coin to Yuga NFT holders. Holders continuously receive “benefits.” In the early stages, many offline gatherings and Ape Clubs were organized and hosted by the community itself.
After the launch of Ape Coin, Yuga governs itself in the form of a DAO, and the way to join Yuga governance transitions from holding NFTs to holding $APE tokens. More suggestions and opinions are proposed and approved through proposals. In this positive feedback loop, Yuga has built a cohesive community, and the community drives the expansion of Yuga’s boundaries.
From on-chain images to community symbols, and then to IP, Yuga has changed its roadmap twice, evolving from an NFT brand to a metaverse that can accommodate Web3 IPs and experiences. With the funding obtained, Yuga has acquired multiple blue-chip NFT projects and collaborated with various technology companies to create its own “Apeverse.” Yuga has become not only a leader in the NFT space but also a frontrunner in the Web3 field. Through games, IPs, and other means, Yuga has already had a significant impact even in the Web2 world.
As mentioned earlier, although the APE token makes it easier to participate in Yuga, there is no direct connection between the APE token and the Yuga project’s economic token supported by the project.
ApeCoin DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) where all APE token holders can participate in governance decisions. They can decide how to allocate ecosystem funds, establish governance rules, select projects, and establish partnerships, among other things. After DAO members vote on proposals, the APE Foundation will continue to execute community-led governance decisions. The APE Foundation acts as the legal regulator of the DAO and promotes the healthy growth and development of the APE ecosystem in a fair and inclusive manner. The foundation has a special council called the “Board of Directors” whose task is to ensure that the community’s vision becomes a reality. Yuga Labs is one of the community members of ApeCoin DAO and actively applies APE as the primary token for all new products and services.
Regarding ApeCoin, it is an ERC-20 token designed to serve as a governance and utility token within the APE ecosystem. As an open-source protocol layer of the ecosystem, ApeCoin performs several key functions:
Like BAKC and MAYC, the APE coins were initially distributed to the community, where:
Currently, half of the APE coin have been unlocked, and the remaining tokens will be unlocked by 2026.
APE Coin unlock status (Source: TokenUnlocks)
IP (Intellectual Property) is the most important aspect of Yuga’s development. Most of Yuga’s NFT collection consists of PFPs, which can be used not only as avatars but also as brand creative content and products. Up to now, Yuga has more than 300 IP products covering various fields such as community, food, fashion, conferences, music, and more.
Yuga’s IP Ecosystem Growth Rate (source: Harry Liu)
Yuga has adopted a different strategy in the IP aspect compared to most NFT projects.
By having multiple celebrities buy Yuga NFTs, it has garnered public attention and created a perception of “high-end” branding, which has driven prices up. Through high-profile acquisitions, OG promotions, auctions, and other activities, Yuga continues to expand its influence.
By guiding Web2 brands into the metaverse, Yuga has found long-term partners for IP collaborations and provided examples for IP adoption. Once Web2 brands benefit from the collaboration, they will also promote further partnerships.
Online activities increase the diversity of IP adoption and expand its uses. Offline activities help build community cohesion, materialize products, and truly make IP ubiquitous.
The experiences created by Otherside and various games using BAYC IP have shown Yuga’s extension beyond the NFT field. As a large-scale user-oriented application, the adoption of IP in games and experiences also increases mainstream users’ awareness of Yuga IP.
With the guidance of examples, more and more holders are creating their own IP adoptions and achieving mutual collaborations. For example, by combining BAYC-themed cuisine with BAYC games, winning the game can lead to a free offline tasting. Applications within the same IP network have more combinability for collaboration.
Due to Yuga’s innovative journeys and leading position in the NFT space, there is no available data to compare it with other NFT projects. Therefore, we will discuss Yuga’s challenges and prospects based on future goals, price performance, and industry conditions.
Building the “APEVERSE” is a long-term and ambitious goal for Yuga, which requires continuous effort and years of technical refinement. This may impact holders’ confidence and raise questions about the timely completion of Otherside and various game experiences. Unfortunately, we do not have answers to these questions.
Combining the NFT bull market with the macro bull, Yuga entered the scene at an opportune time. However, with the recent bear market, the floor price has dropped below 30 ETH, leading to some holders selling and spreading FUD. Whether Yuga can regain user confidence or leverage this bear market to gain a loyal community remains questionable.
As a successful Web3 “building from scratch” case, Yuga has collaborated with many Web2 brands, but there is still a lot of effort needed to establish its IP as a world-class IP. We have seen some physical and cultural products made using BAYC IP being released in the real world, which will help Yuga break through industry boundaries.
However, other NFT projects face the challenge that Web3 cannot support the emergence of a second Yuga. Many are imitating rather than surpassing because the goals are too ambitious. If Yuga stops growing, it could mean that the industry’s ceiling has been reached.
There are more and more ways to participate in Yuga, from holding BAYC NFTs worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to buying APE, purchasing Otherside land, and new game items. Gate also launched an MAYC fragmentation activity, which fragmented an MAYC NFT into 1,000 pieces, each of which could be purchased for 25 USDT, allowing users to access Yuga NFTs at a lower barrier to entry. Some people believe that this dilutes the brand, but from Yuga’s development path and future goals, it is clear that Yuga can only generate revenue and benefit its holders if its IP is adopted by more people. At the same time, the construction of the “Apeverse” should be a combination of open, shared, and rich experiences. Yuga is also constantly creating its own experiences through acquisitions and partnerships. Holders of Yuga-branded NFTs can constantly obtain rights and benefits. However, this also urges Yuga to continue leading industry progress and expanding beyond the Web2 boundaries.