“They created perceived value out of thin air”: How Yuga Labs became an NFT juggernaut


Welcome to Art Angle, an Artnet News podcast that dives into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story to earth. Join us each week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market and more, with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators and diners. other leading experts in the field.

About a year ago, two Miami literary brothers decided to start a business.

It was a few weeks after Beeple’s Every day sold for $69 million at Christie’s and NFTs took the art world by storm. Yet few could have guessed at the time that their small company, Yuga Labs, would produce a series of cartoon monkeys that would become one of the most successful and controversial characters in the NFT universe.

“It’s hard to justify that a Bored Ape NFT is worth $300,000 based on art. They are cartoon monkeys,” said crypto journalist Amy Castor. “They’re cute, you know, but are they worth that kind of money?”

For many people, including many celebrities, the answer is yes.

Today, Yuga Labs has over 60 employees and total revenue of over $2 billion. Over the past few weeks, it has been on a roll announcing new initiatives, from acquiring CryptoPunks and Meebits, arguably the other two most popular NFT series, to launching Apecoin, its own cryptocurrency. Larva Labs now hopes to create what is essentially a Marvel Universe out of all that intellectual property and make a lot of money along the way.

But Castor thinks Yuga Labs’ recent acquisitions run counter to the fundamentals touted by NFT evangelists.

“The general idea of ​​NFTs is that they’re supposed to be decentralized. It’s not supposed to be one company that controls the three most expensive NFT projects,” she said. collected out of thin air so they can then monetize that brand.”

His strategy suggests what the future of the NFT space might look like. But it’s unclear whether that future will benefit collectors and everyday NFT enthusiasts as much as it does big investors and founders of companies like Yuga Labs.

To unpack the wild and winding history of Yuga Labs and the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Editor Julia Halperin sat down with Amy Castor, who recently chronicled the rise of this phenomenon for Artnet News.

Listen to other episodes:

“You can absorb the traumas of time, but also open yourself to the future”: Cecilia Alemani on curating her Venice Biennale for anxious times

‘Assimilation is very dehumanizing’: How Afghan artists navigate their way into exile

‘Visibility Means Survival’: How the Art World in Ukraine’s Besieged Capital is Fighting Back

“You tell me your first five exhibitions, I can tell you in 20 years how much your work will sell”: how to become a successful NFT artist

The Art Angle podcast: Marina Abramović explains how her artistic method can change your life

The Art Angle podcast: Jennie C. Jones explains why you should listen to her paintings

The Art Angle Podcast: The Black Art Visionary Who Secretly Built the Morgan Library

The Art Angle podcast: How Lucy Lippard and a group of artists fought against American imperialism

The Art Angle Podcast: Art, Lies, and Instagram: How Catfishing ‘Collectors’ Fooled the Art World

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.


Comments are closed.