Yuga Labs, the company behind the highly successful NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club, has made a major acquisition: the rights to the NFT series CryptoPunks and Meebits, both of which were created by Larva Labs, the Verge reports. The company also bought 400 CryptoPunks and 1,700 Meebits from Larva Labs. The IP rights and the assets were both bought for an undisclosed sum.
For NFT collectors, CryptoPunks are considered hugely valuable. These NFTs resemble pixelated representations of punks, and have become the model for PFP projects, which involve sets of NFTs that are generated in the thousands through procedural algorithms that can create tiers of rarity and value, with examples from the CryptoPunks project selling for as much as $24 million worth of Ethereum. Bored Ape Yacht Club, founded in 2021, is the heir to this model.
But Bored Ape Yacht Club has a team that has focused heavily on community building by throwing parties for holders, airdropping special prizes, granting IP rights to owners, and attracting celebrities like Snoop Dog and Jimmy Fallon, and so that NFT project has overtaken CryptoPunks in popularity.
In an interview with the Verge, Matt Hall and John Watkinson, the cofounders of Larva Labs, seemed to admit to the fact that the CryptoPunks project was cruising on its legacy, saying, “We felt like we were less and less suited to this as a couple of software developer experimentalist kind of people.”
Yuga Labs isn’t planning on recreating their BAYC model for CryptoPunks, thought it will continue granting IP rights to holders. Currently, anyone who owns a Bored Ape has the rights to do what they want with it. One could, for example, use the image and sell objects printed with its picture. Owners of CryptoPunks and Meebits will now be granted the same rights.
“We see ourselves with tentacles into all those things: streetwear, events, gaming, NFTs, et cetera,” Wylie Aronow, a cofounder of Bored Ape Yacht Club, told the Verge. “It’s just a matter of figuring out and extending that utility to these new IPs.”
IP rights to NFT projects may not immediately seem all that valuable, but people are finding ways to create derivative projects. Mila Kunis and Reese Witherspoon both are launching TV shows using NFTs projects whose rights they acquired.
The acquisition comes at a time when the NFT market has cooled significantly. Yuga Labs is betting on the market’s long-term viability, however. The company’s staff has grown from 11 to 50 people in the last two months, and there have been talks that Andressen Horowitz’s venture capital firm A16z will make a major investment in the company.