Bored Ape Yacht Club creators buy up rival token collections to become an even bigger NFT powerhouse

Some of the world’s most famous non-fungible tokens are getting a new owner.

Yuga Labs, creators of the Bored Apes Yacht Club tokens that look like cute apes, has bought intellectual property of the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections from Larva Labs. It acquired 423 CryptoPunks and 1,711 Meebits. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

CryptoPunks’ average selling price is about $177,420, per DappRadar, while Meebits sell for an average of $16,100. So the deal is likely worth more than $100 million, just considering the price of the valuable NFTs Yuga received. Yuga will also own the CryptoPunks and Meebit brands and logos, which it could potentially use in marketing and merchandising.

The expectation is that Yuga — known as one of the savviest marketers of NFT brands — could help build CryptoPunks and Meebits into even bigger brands, perhaps with some of the characters debuting in games or on luxury goods. Yuga recently struck a deal with Animoca Brands to develop a game using BAYC characters. Owners of BAYC get access to exclusive merchandise and exclusive events.

“What we don’t plan to do is shoehorn these NFT collections into the ‘club’ model we’ve developed for BAYC,” Yuga’s team said in a blog post. “We’re not in a rush here. We’ll be listening to the community before we decide what comes next.”

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As part of the acquisition, Yuga said it will transfer commercial and exclusive licensing rights to individual NFT holders for free. 

Meebits is the top NFT collection by lifetime volume, having facilitated $7.54 billion in sales, per tracker DappRadar. CryptoPunks comes in third, with $4.2 billion in lifetime sales, while BAYC is in fifth place at $1.4 billion, per DappRadar.

The acquisition comes as the NFT market cools, with total daily sales nosediving in recent weeks and average selling price declining as well. Concerns about an easing of pandemic-era stimulus and geopolitical tensions have weighed on the crypto market.

Yuga was founded in 2021 by four friends, who decided to build a community around ape NFTs, according to the company. 

“To us, NFTs are not about art or even money, they’re about culture,” Yuga Labs said in a recent emailed response. “We believe NFTs are a key that can open the door to incredible utility and a community of people you might not have met otherwise, who are pushing out the frontier of the internet.”

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