Ape avatars will sweep Twitter: see what the project founders say

Original title: “Why do monkey heads sweep Twitter? See what the founder of the project said

As the most popular NFT Avatar project after Cryptopunk, Ape has swept Twitter. Recently, it was officially confirmed that it will be auctioned at Christie’s. Why can a picture be sold at a sky-high price? Is this art? Or financial hype? still is?

BAYC founder Gargamel said that the sense of community has always been missing on the Internet. “We hope that your ape is your digital identity.” It is a kind of collectible. It is not hung on the wall or placed on a shelf, but filled in a small square or small circle in the screen space. This should represent your self.

Co-founder Goner said: “Anything that people create with their monkeys will only grow the brand. Just as Silicon Valley startups are obsessed with “scalable software” and serve more users with exponential growth. The goal of the NFT club is “scalable culture” ; like open source software, their cultural creation can be organically expanded through the efforts of many users, while maintaining recognizability, forming a myth of user production.

The author of this article recorded the creative process through interviews with the project creators, and wrote down the collection motives and feelings of many BAYC collectors, which can intuitively show us the story of the first civilian global tribe in the meta universe.

Ape avatars will sweep Twitter: see what the project founders say

Source images courtesy Bored Ape Yacht Club

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC for short, Bored Ape Yacht Club) was launched in April. It is a strange combination, not only a threshold online community, but also a stock holding group, or an art appreciation association.

NFT clubs are gaining popularity in the domestic and foreign currency circles. Are they just another gimmick of getting rich, or do they represent the direction of cultural advancement?

On social media, agreements are fragile and alliances are short-lived. It is good to be as sensational as possible-conflict can generate traffic more than politeness or cooperation. However, in early May, Kyle Swenson, a 25-year-old clothing dealer in Orlando, Florida, noticed a change in tone on Twitter. More and more accounts he follows have replaced their avatars with cartoon apes: apes wearing sunglasses or rabbit ears, apes with leopard prints or rainbow fur, apes with cigars or laser eyes. Many people have indifferent expressions or grinning teeth, some people still have cigarettes in their mouths, or their eyes are red, as if they have been infused with ecstasy. In the chaotic jungle of Twitter, these apes hugged each other in a hug, and their emotions were calm. These avatars come from a website called Bored Ape Yacht Club. The website was officially launched on April 30, offering 10,000 unique cartoon primate images for sale as NFTs, each at a price of about US$200, and settled in ETH. An ape NFT “can serve as your ape club membership”, the website advertised under an illustration of a dilapidated wooden building with a string of colorful lights hanging on it.

Within one day after the release, all 10,000 pictures of the “Boring Monkey Yacht Club” were sold out. On May 3, when Swenson decided to buy one, he paid approximately $1,700 on OpenSea, the NFT market. His ape has an avant-garde appearance-sailor hat, plaid shirt, down vest-“similar to the way I like to dress,” Swenson said. A few weeks later, he bought another one. He has previously traded NBA Top Shots, a NFT-style basketball game highlights video, but this time it feels more meaningful. “This is a kind of FOMO psychology,” he told me, “I have observed that many old NBA Top Shots players I care about change their Twitter avatars to monkeys.” Matt Garrigan is a company called XMTP The co-founder and CEO of the cryptocurrency information network, he successfully purchased four apes during the initial sale. He told me: “This has become a kind of status symbol, a bit like wearing a high-end watch or wearing a pair of rare Sneakers.”

Ape avatars will sweep Twitter: see what the project founders say

Source images Bored Ape Yacht Club

Compared with the previous NFT avatar project, BAYC has created rich and detailed images that come from the personal taste of its founder.

BAYC’s initial batch of NFT sales revenue exceeded US$2 million. Since then, the transaction volume of the series has almost reached 100 million U.S. dollars, and the cheapest apes can often sell for nearly 14,000 U.S. dollars. In recent months, the project has inspired a wave of similar club projects and crypto enthusiasts for NFT avatars. Collectors can buy cute cartoon cats from Cool Cats, which released thousands of NFTs of its own on July 1, and sold out soon after. (Boxing champion Tyson has one as his avatar). They can buy angular sci-fi girls from Fame Lady Squad, punk ducks from SupDucks, 3D-rendered pills from BYOPills, Shiba Inu with MEME from The Doge Pound, and bonsai trees from Zenft Garden Society. New projects are launched every week to promote their products on Twitter. Twitter is the main public place for cryptocurrency speech, and they all hope to sell all NFTs. “Everyone saw the success of apes and quickly abandoned their original projects,” said Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, founder of Electric Artefacts, a London-based curatorial consulting firm (who has already bought and sold some NFT avatars), “I passed I trade jpeg pictures on the Internet to pay my rent. This is what I told my parents.”

Each avatar club is a strange combination, not only a threshold online community, but also a stock holding group, or an art appreciation association. When an ape (or a cat or a pill or an alien) is bought at a high price, the value of all 10,000 authentic pieces of this NFT will increase, just like a painting sold at a record price at auction. It will increase the value of an artist’s overall work. When a buyer turns his Twitter avatar into a picture of a new NFT club, it is an identity sign and a signal for other buyers of the club to follow him on social media. (“I changed the picture to an ape, and I had hundreds of Twitter followers on the first day,” Swenson said.) At the center of most clubs is Discord, a real-time chat application. BAYC’s Discord server has more than 13,000 people-fans and NFT holders-and continues to initiate various discussions in channels such as #crypto-talk and #sports-bar. Through this joint investment in both social and financial aspects, club members have formed a unique connection in the endless Internet hustle and bustle.

Drew Austin told me: “When everyone participates in the game, a new dynamic balance mechanism is created. Not everyone can express and criticize everything at will without bearing any consequences. “. He is a technology investor who owns three apes and co-owns the other two with others. The founder of BAYC said that this sense of community has always been missing on the Internet. Contrary to their reputation for redundancy, NFT can help fill this gap. “We hope your ape is your digital identity,” one of the founders, Ge Gewu, told me in a recent video chat. It is a kind of collectible. It is not hung on the wall or placed on a shelf, but filled in a small square or small circle in the screen space. This should represent your self.

Neither Gegewu nor his co-founder Gordon Gunner (both of whom use pseudonyms) are unlikely to be technical managers. Before founding BAYC, Ge Ge Wu was a writer and editor. Gunner was planning to take a Master of Arts course, but fell ill and turned to day trading in cryptocurrencies. These two people in their thirties are “literary nerds.” According to Gegewu, he wears wire-frame glasses and a carefully trimmed goatee. They grew up in Miami and met while drinking in a bar ten years ago. Gunnar has a tattoo on his chest and he told me, “We had a big fight about David Foster Wallace.”

At the beginning of this year, when Gegewu and Gunner started the brainstorming NFT project, the Avatar Club was a new trend. Gegewu and Gunner are familiar with CryptoPunks, which are a group of 10,000 pixelated characters. After being released by a company called LarvaLabs in 2017, they became blue chip artworks in the NFT market. CryptoPunks, which can now be sold for 200,000 US dollars, were originally not the basis of the social avatar club, but some collectors (including Jay-Z) use them as avatars—set an NFT as a profile avatar or “PFP” “To show off is the ultimate symbol of digital NFT. “Austin, who owns two apes, said: “It’s like having a Harvard degree in the NFT world.” Gege Wu and Gunner also noticed the success of Hashmasks, an art enterprise that sold 16,384 NFTs in January. Images, with a total value of more than 16 million U.S. dollars. Both projects are closed systems, and their developers have not promised any expansion beyond the initial, limited release. Gegewu and Gunner seek one they can over time Continuously evolving program. Gegewu said: “We see the opportunity to produce projects with a larger story arc.

One of the early ideas the two considered was CryptoCuties, a group of NFT “girlfriends”, but it made them feel too kitsch, not to mention creepy. (The male-dominated crypto world can sometimes feel like a fraternity; the creator of a recent project drew criticism for featuring female images with blackened eyes and taped mouths, and later apologized) One concept is a shared digital canvas: anyone can paint on it. But this seems to be easily used as a toilet wall for a small bar. Gegewu said: “The first thing some people do on it is to draw a dick.” However, the image of the small bar deeply attracted the couple, and thus formed a sci-fi storyline. The year is 2031, and those who invested in cryptocurrencies in the early days have become billionaires. “Now they are just fucking boring. What are you doing now, your wealth exceeds your craziest dream?” Gunner said, “You are going to play with a group of apes in the club, weird. “Why ape? In cryptocurrency terms, buying a new currency or NFT at the risk of a large amount of money is called “ape in”. “We happen to like apes too,” Gunnar told me.

Ape avatars will sweep Twitter: see what the project founders say

Source images Bored Ape Yacht Club

BAYC members have obtained the commercial rights to their avatars. “Co-founder Gordon Goner said: “Anything that people create with their apes will only grow the brand.

Until then, avatar projects tended to use low-resolution, usually pixelated images, with the style of an 8-frame animated game. Whether it is a person, a monkey or a ghost, these images are quite ordinary. In contrast, BAYC created a rich and detailed portrait based on the founder’s personal taste. Bored Ape Yacht Club (an ironic name) is set up to evoke places like Churchill Bar, an old Miami music venue frequented by Gorgeous Witches and Gunner. “We are deeply inspired by hardcore in the 1980s, punk rock, and hip hop in the 1990s,” Gunner said. “We have always called ourselves theBeastie Boys of NFT”. From the scene of the apocalyptic tiki bar on its website to the cheerful style of the monkey itself, BAYC feels more like a 3A video game than an isolated NFT combination. Complex visual effects, subculture fashion accessories (the shadow of Hot Topic), and literary descriptions make BAYC a statistical group image of the encrypted circle to some extent. “We learned a lesson from Hemingway’s iceberg theory,” Gridwood told me, “10% is visible at the top, and all the scaffolding is built underneath.”

Gegewu and Gunner invited two other friends. They are programmers named No Sass and Emperor Tomato Ketchup to handle the necessary blockchain programming. For the art resources of the project, they hired professional illustrators, which accounted for a large part of their upfront costs (according to the group, about $40,000). Like many avatar clubs, the characteristics of cartoon apes are then input into an algorithmic program that randomly generates thousands of images with unique combinations of body, head, hat, and clothes, just like digitally dressed dolls. Certain characteristics-bowed hair, laser eyes, robes-only appear on a few people, making apes with these characteristics more popular and therefore more valuable. Each picture is hidden before the first wave of collectors pays, so buying a picture is a bit like playing a slot machine-get an ape with the correct features, and you can make a huge profit by reselling it. This is also a bit like participating in a multi-level marketing plan. Normally, a small number of cryptocurrency enthusiasts each buy hundreds of NFTs and then sell their stock when the price rises; new collectors must be found constantly to make the previous collectors profit.

A large number of NFT projects have failed, or there is no secondary market at all. The creator already knew “rug-pull”, gave up the adventure and absconded with the collector’s money. Artamonovskaja, the founder of ElectricArtefacts, speculated that BoredApe Yacht Club was successful because it was relatively easy to obtain. She told me: “No one can afford CryptoPunk”. Apes seems to be the next best purchase object-“a cool avatar at a very reasonable price”. Artamonovskaja bought an ape for about US$1,500 shortly after its launch, and she regrets it now; the same ape (wearing a BAYC brand baseball cap with a pop-punk feel) is currently selling for as much as US$12,000. sell.

For a founder who made a net profit of $2 million from the first sale, releasing a new NFT is no different from printing money. The cuteness of the image conceals the huge amount of funds. Investor Austin told me that the way he bought the avatar was like “trying to make a risky deal, which is interesting because what I saw was a damn boring ape.” Nevertheless, Gunner told me that he and Other founders are reluctant to use these apes as “investment tools.” He added: “If you think about it from the perspective of artists and weirdos running hedge funds, it will make us have a heart attack.”

As with many crowdfunding projects, the creator of each NFT club provides potential buyers with a “road map” before launching, explaining what they will do with the raised funds. They promise to provide a YouTube channel, donate to charity, and provide collectors with additional NFT and physical goods. BAYC has sold branded baseball caps, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the monkey sanctuary, and provided each collector with a dog’s NFT (BAKC), provided by the boring monkey dog ​​club. But it is also one of the first clubs to provide individual buyers with the commercial rights they own: each member is allowed to brand their projects or products and sell them independently. In the three months after the club was established, the apes owners put these cartoon primates on the craft beer production line, created a YouTube series of animations, made painted replicas, and designed a skateboard deck. Clothing distributor Kyle Swenson launched a publication called “Boring Ape” to report on the community. An owner named their ape “Jenkins the Valet”, gave him a backstory as the main gossip of the yacht club, and is crowdfunding a novel about the ape. (NFT is not completely secure-ownership is only represented by a line of code on the blockchain. In theory, anyone can copy an ape image and use it as an avatar. But the club regulates this embezzlement. “Encrypted Twitter has this. Understanding: You just don’t steal other people’s avatars,” Artamonovskaja told me)

For most brands that produce culture, whether it is Supreme streetwear, Marvel superheroes, or pop music, the free circulation of intellectual property rights is prohibited; exclusivity is a business model. In contrast, the founders of BAYC believe that their openness is an asset. “Gunner said: “Anything that people create with their apes will only grow the brand. Just as Silicon Valley startups are obsessed with “scalable software” and serve more users with exponential growth, the goal of the NFT club is to expand the culture; like open source software, their cultural creation can be organically created through the efforts of many users Expansion, while maintaining recognizability, forms a myth of user production. Dom Hofmann, co-founder of the now-defunct social network Vine and creator of the NFT club project Blitmap, told me: “This is a bet on the idea that over time, fans may know what they care about. The universe is the best.” Investor Austin envisions the Boring Ape Yacht Club as the future “decentralized Disney”.

In a way, it is this possibility that makes NFT club buyers so eager: buying a hot new avatar may be like acquiring a small part of the rights to the next Mickey Mouse. However, Cryptopunk, who inspired BAYC, became too expensive and was considered to have deviated from its original intention. What makes a group cool and what makes it rich does not necessarily have a unified answer. Garygan, the founder of the startup, kept two of his four boring apes, one of which was a creature wearing a cap and heart-shaped sunglasses and was set as his current Twitter profile picture. “The more it relates to status, the less I am willing to keep it,” Garrigan said. “If the sole purpose of a club is to’price rise'”–the cry of cryptocurrency to price rise–“then, this It’s a bit inferior.”

Author: Kyle Chayk

 

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