The creator of Bored Ape Yacht Club has purchased CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. Yuga Labs announced the acquisition yesterday.
Yuga Labs wants to encourage a community that produces creative works based on CryptoPunks and Meebits by giving IP and commercialization rights to owners.
Greg Solano, Bored Ape Yacht co-founder, told new outlet The Verge, “Everybody knows CryptoPunks, everybody loves CryptoPunks. It’s just iconic, ahead of its time. It’s visionary, and it’s gonna be here forever. We were just immediately excited about it without knowing at all what we would want the next step to be.”
CryptoPunks was started in 2017 by Matt Hall and John Watkinson, the founders of Larva Labs. It began as a “sort of digital art project.” The duo now feels the project will be handled better by Yuga Labs. Hall said the two of them were less suited for the job as they were nothing more than software developers experimenting with art.
As part of the deal, Yuga Labs will take control of over 400 CrytoPunks and 1,700 Meebits. However, the total worth of the agreement has not been made public. But Yuga Labs has confirmed that Larva Labs will function independently and take on new projects.
Bored Apes have become a global phenomenon, and OpenSea says more than $1 billion of the collection has been sold. It is the second-largest collection by trading volume, bested only by CrytoPunks, which has moved $2.2 billion. Meebits sales are a fraction of that, having pulled in $227 million.
However, the NFT market has started to slow down following its rapid rise last year. Trading volume rose before heading south around the holiday period, and the market has not recovered. According to data released by NonFungible, which tracks NFT sales, total transactions on a recent day were about 12,000, worth $30 million. This was about one-tenth of what the market did around August last year.
With the purchase of CryptoPunks and Meebits, Yuga Labs is cementing its position as the leader in the NFT space. But the company is already looking to the next big thing. It has already launched a mobile game, unveiled merchs, and even organized a party attended by celebrities.
One problem Yuga Labs has to fix with its new acquisition is monetization. CryptoPunks and Meebits did not earn money for Larva Labs because the company did not get a cut from every transaction involving the collections like Yuga Labs does with every sold Bored Ape. The new owner has said it would not change the model, nor would they replicate their Bored Ape membership club model, so it has to work out another way to profit from the collections.
Adding to the pressure to monetize CryptoPunks and Meebits is that Yuga Labs’ staff roster is rapidly getting longer. It ended January with 11 employees but now has almost 50. However, the company might get a cash infusion soon as it is said to be in talks with investor Andreessen Horowitz over an investment that will bring its valuation close to $5 billion.
Yuga Labs’ acquisition may mean the NFT sector is finally getting mainstream and more conventional. Previously, they have been run more like nerdy side projects, but we might have entered the era of consolidation in the space.