Interview with the founder of BAYC Boring Ape: the biggest success story in the NFT world

On the evening of February 4 this year, Greg Solano, 33, and Wylie Aronow, 35, were at their respective homes with their significant other when they got some shocking news.

They’ve just learned that BuzzFeed News will publish a story revealing their identities to the wider world, having been carefully concealing their true identities (they thought they were well concealed).

Speaking at a midtown Manhattan hotel earlier this month, Solano recalled: “We got a 20-minute warning.”

As Solano and Aronow do when they make big or even small decisions about their business, they make a phone call right away, everyone freaks out, and then they plan their next move. “Frankly, we have very real security concerns,” Aronow said. He was sitting on a bench in the hotel courtyard restaurant next to Solano.Bad guys might try to hack into their accounts. People may show up in their homes or do something worse to them than that. “We don’t know what’s going to happen,” they both said.

They started removing personal information from the internet. Aronow recalls that he deactivated his Instagram, worried that it might contain clues about the location of his home, and then they warned his family of what was about to happen, lest they be targeted as well.

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Aronow on: J.Lindeberg jacket, t-shirt; Solano on: Rag & Bone t-shirt

While Aronow’s immediate family fully understands why the upcoming article is getting so much attention, Solano had to explain the specifics to his father. He and Aronow are the creators of the Boring Ape Yacht Club, the hottest NFT project on the internet. They launched the Boring Ape Yacht Club through Yuga Labs in April 2021, and the company is currently valued at $4 billion.

The Boring Ape is a collection of 10,000 unique digital head-and-shoulders paintings, each with a unique combination of traits ranging from common (“boring” mouth) to ultra-rare (“pure gold” fur). A rare ape sold for a jaw-dropping $3.4 million at Sotheby’s last October. That same month, Guy Oseary, a veteran artist manager representing Madonna and U2, became BAYC’s business partner.

Today, the bored ape is ubiquitous in pop culture, from T-shirts sold by Old Navy to VMA-nominated music videos by Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Celebrities like Steph Curry, Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Post Malone and Seth Green all own the Boring Ape. Other high-profile holders include Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton, who had a controversial exchange about their apes on The Tonight Show in January. (Solano and Aronow said they had no prior knowledge of Fallon’s remarks, and they thought the discussion on the show was “very surreal.”)

YouTube-The Tonight Show

Despite the collapse of the cryptocurrency and NFT markets this year, Boring Ape is still considered a “blue chip” investment in the space. The current floor price for an ape is about $140,000, down from a high of about $434,000 in April. Yuga Labs can receive 2.5% of the royalties for every secondary sale of the Boring Ape NFT.

Solano’s father knew his son was working on a project in the NFT and cryptocurrency space, but he didn’t know the details until he got a call from his son that night in February. Solano, who is of Cuban descent, explained: “I didn’t tell my father because he would tell everyone. He would tell the women in la carreta (coffee shop) – ‘My son is the creator!’. Who else Want to know, who else wants to know?”

This would have been a problem, because before the BuzzFeed article, most people only knew the account names they used online – Solano used Gargamel, taken from the villain wizard in The Smurfs, and Aronow was Gordon Goner, a popular Punk-inspired names, and their corresponding ape avatars.

The same goes for the other two co-founders of BAYC, who are in charge of the technical side. Zeshan Ali, 32, went by No Sass, later shortened to Sass (his profile on the BAYC website reads “for the orangutans, not for Sass”), and Kerem Atalay, 31, aka Emperor Tomato Ketchup (named after an album by the Anglo-French indie pop band Stereolab).

And all four of them want to keep it that way. In their view, Solano and Aronow were dug into a corner. (Ali and Atalay were not identified in the article.) Katie Notopoulos, senior technology reporter for Buzzfeed News who wrote the article, disagreed with this assessment. Notopoulos told Input: “I would characterize it as news. A lot of other sane people would think so too”. As she explained on the Untangled podcast in June, “we don’t understand” who runs a multi-billion-dollar company, which seems to go against all social norms.

While working on a plan of action on the phone, Solano and Aronow decided it would be best to “human flesh them” by tweeting their photos first. Solano exclaimed: “Aronow quickly found a good photo of themselves. Instead of preempting BuzzFeed’s report, they revealed their true colors to the Internet within an hour of the report’s publication.”

Four days later, Ali and Atalay followed, tweeting their names and pictures of themselves. “We wanted to have more control over the narrative and make it a more celebrated thing than Greg and Wylie,” Atalay said.

Today, months later, Solano and Aronow are trying to take back control of their own narrative. So this meeting, accompanied by their publicist, finally tells their story in its entirety for the first time and publicly resolves a major controversy that has plagued them for over a year.


‘F*CKING EVIL’

Solano and Aronow exude a fraternal but defensive vibe throughout our time together. “We are the most superstitious people in the world,” Solano said. He wore a tan T-shirt to the interview because Aronow thought he needed “yellow energy.”

Aronow wears what he considers a “positive” amber bracelet and barely eats his cheeseburger. At one point, Solano kindly made fun of his friend’s eating habits. “Wylie only eats things like cheeseburgers and chicken wraps. We joke that he has a ‘baby mouth’,” he said.

I later learned that it was the result of a debilitating disease that kept Aronow bedridden for the better part of a decade, starting in his 20s. He is now able to manage his condition, but is still unstable and even salad is a threat to him, causing his illness (he won’t say what) to come back.

On Solano: Sunspel hoodie and T-shirt, Versace jacket, jeans and glasses; on Aronow: Vintage shirt, T-shirt and jewelry.

Stress is just that. As Yuga’s current public face, that might seem nerve-wracking. The company is growing: In March, it bought two other popular NFT series, CryptoPunks and Meebits, from creator Larva Labs. Shortly thereafter, Yuga launched what is essentially its own cryptocurrency, ApeCoin.

In the days from our conversation, Yuga will be hosting a massive demo of Otherside, the immersive game it’s developing with UK-based studio Improbable. Only, this isn’t just a game – it’s the beginning of the Web3 Metaverse, open to the masses outside of the Boring Ape community. Yuga will compete directly with big players like Meta.

More stressful, however, are lawsuits. In June, Yuga sued concept artist Ryder Ripps (an event known for collaborating with artists like Kanye West and brands like Gucci) for trademark infringement, among other complaints, for creating an NFT collection identical to The Boring Ape in May. According to Artnet, the project made an estimated $1.8 million in profit. (Mainstream NFT marketplace OpenSea removed this series).

But Ripps’ copycat project (known as RR/BAYC) is only part of the problem. (Ripps told Input that he worked with three other people to develop RR/BAYC, including NFT marketplace creator Jeremy Cahen, who was also indicted). Since late last year, Ripps has been very public in accusing BAYC of being rife with racist and neo-Nazist symbolism. The founders of BAYC have denied the claims, saying they are all part of a plan to drum up interest in Ripps’ copycat monkeys.

Solano said: “It’s extremely obvious to anyone who knows our history, how absurd this is. Having said that, the obsession of the trolls, the malice, and frankly how the fuck the whole thing is evil, it’s hard.”

A stern look crossed Aronow’s face as he described the online hate they had received over the allegations.”It’s like this every day,” he said.


   weird partner

“In terms of context, we’re really an odd pair,” Aronow said. He was referring to his friendship with Solano.This is obvious. The first thing you notice is the huge height difference between the business partners: At 6-foot-2, Aronow is taller than Solano.

Aronow has bushy black hair and is covered in tattoos (he is embarrassed by the lifelike portrait of author Charles Bukowski on his right arm, which he got as a teenager). His voice was low and loud. He is the human incarnation of the rally number “LFG” (“Let’s Fucking Go”) for NFT enthusiasts. Solano, a bald, goateed, soft-spoken man, calls Aronow the perfect motivational “fitness buddy.”

Aronow said: “We would fight over every idea, whether it was a simple tweet or an entire NFT project. In fact, our friendship started with a battle. We were in Miami about a decade ago while we were home from college break The first meeting in a dive bar where they started debating the merits of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which Solano hadn’t even read but reflexively hated because of his creative writing classmates Appreciate it. They kept in touch at a distance, arguing about books, movies and ideas, and playing World of Warcraft online together.”

A few years later, in 2017, the two started talking about cryptocurrencies. Like everyone else, they’re trying to make some money in a bull market. But they are most interested in the possibilities brought by the Ethereum blockchain, on which people have built decentralized applications, including gamified collectibles like CryptoKitties, where you can buy, trade, and breed unique cartoon cats to create more Kitties.

Despite his interest in digital collectibles, Solano did not buy his first NFT until early 2021. Shortly thereafter, in February, Solano texted Aronow to start an NFT project of their own. Aronow said: “We immediately started to conceive. One of the ideas was a public digital canvas, which Aronow shared with his longtime friend Nicole Muniz, who is now the CEO of Yuga. She keenly predicted that someone would paint on it. a little brother”.

These people did just that. Aronow said: “I was like, where would you draw a phallus?. The answer was: on the bathroom wall of a dive bar. So what kind of people would go there”? The kind of people he knew on Crypto Twitter who made their fortunes in cryptocurrencies but still only wanted to play MMORPGs online and not live the luxury life of the expected multi-millionaire.

Aronow sent Solano a “whole article” to plan the idea, where the name “Bored Ape Yacht Club” came up. “As the great editor, Solano said — ‘That’s it. That’s it'” recalls Aronow. The concept evolved – in cryptocurrencies, millionaires are real apes, and the term “ape” means that someone living in 2031 will compulsively invest in a new project without doing much research. Aronow said he and Solano started a limited liability company the next day. (The information BuzzFeed reporters used to identify him with human flesh was mainly related to Solano’s address at the time)

“I’d love to talk to other people, and they’ve suddenly created something that’s very popular. It’s unbelievably surreal.”

They weren’t artists, and at the time, Solano was working in publishing and Aronow wasn’t, so they hired a team to execute their ideas. Muniz, the founder of a branding consultancy, introduced them to a visual artist known as Seneca, who created the original BAYC concept art based on directions like “tattered punk rock” and “dive bars in the Everglades.” Four other artists helped design the original 10,000 apes.

In a Rolling Stone profile earlier this year, Seneca called her compensation for the project “suboptimal.” The two said they compensated her for four to five days of work, roughly the equivalent of Solano’s then five-figure salary, and at the end of last year, paid Seneca and four other artists $1 million each. (Seneca did not respond to Input’s request for comment).

Meanwhile, Solano got in touch with his friends Ali and Atalay, who had met while studying computer science at the University of Maryland. (Solano first met Atalay when they were both at the University of Virginia – Solano was an MFA, Atalay was an undergraduate). Ali grew up on the West Coast, the son of immigrants from Guatemala and Pakistan, who met during English classes. Atalay’s parents were also immigrants from Turkey; he said he had a “normal, suburban upbringing,” mostly in Washington, D.C.

Solano is not a programmer, and he asked if they knew Javascript, which is not a relevant coding language for blockchain. The tech duo quickly learned the right programming language – Solidity. “That’s the easiest part,” Atalay said. Because the ERC-721 token standard for NFT programming has long been published, it is easy to use as a template.

The complication is managing the multiple components of the project: the website, smart contracts, token-gated community spaces, and tying them all together. “There are only two of us, especially just learning blockchain programming, and it’s a big challenge to do that,” Ali said.

Left to right: Zeshan Ali (Sass), Kerem Atalay (Emperor Tomato Ketchup), Nicole Muniz (Yuga Labs CEO), Solano, and Aronow at ApeFest 2022 in New York by Matteo Prandoni/Courtesy Yuga Labs.

But they did it. The pre-sale and minting started on April 23. And on the night of April 30, 2021 (Hitler’s death date), as Ryder Ripps and other BAYC conspiracy theorists would point out – the foursome released these monkeys for $200 each. Then they went to sleep.

At about 3 am on May 1, Ali received a call from Atalay. He said Ali thought there was a “big problem”, but instead he and Atalay watched the collections sell out in the early hours of the morning. (As it turns out, news of BAYC has spread throughout the rabid NFT community). At that moment, they knew they had created something big.

This all happened almost exactly 15 months ago. Shortly thereafter, all four co-founders started working full-time at Yuga Labs. Yuga added new NFTs to the family of apes, giving them dogs in June 2021 (via the Boring Ape Club airdrop) and mutant apes in August; the latter series sold $96 million within an hour of launch . Steph Curry, one of the first celebrity holders, bought his ape for about $180,000 the same month.

Muniz joined as a partner in September 2021 (a month before Oseary) and became CEO in January of this year. In March 2022, Yuga Labs raised $450 million in a funding round led by a16z. Today, the company has about 70 employees. “I’d love to talk to other people who suddenly created something that’s become so wildly popular very quickly,” Aronow said. “It’s just incredibly surreal.”

The four founders insist they are not living a flashy lifestyle. They’ve all bought houses in locations across the U.S. they refuse to disclose (except for Solano, who lives in Miami). But Solano and Aronow say they spend most of their time in their own homes, working at least 10 hours in their home office — where Solano’s office is unadorned and Aronow’s is plastered with BAYC items and children’s wallpaper, He said it all came with the house.

Left to right: Solano, digital artist Beeple, and BAYC partner Guy Oseary at ApeFest 2022 Ben Rosser/Courtesy Yuga Labs.

But they do get to meet celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Colin Kaepernick. “Sometimes Guy would introduce us to someone on the speakerphone. Oseary would hold his phone up to the screen. He would FaceTim with someone I totally admire,” Aronow said. Aronow’s favorite celebrity is primatologist Jane Goodall (Yuga Labs donates 1 percent of the total ApeCoin supply to her foundation). Solano said he enjoyed meeting digital artist Beeple.

Perhaps the biggest change for Solano is that he is now dismissive of taking business calls from celebrities. In the past, he has also been so introverted: “I wouldn’t want to call and order Pizza Hut,” he said.


   bizarre characters

Solano and Aronow, who both grew up in Miami, lamented that Miami had become less cool because of the industry they were in. Their Miami is not a concrete jungle for crypto bros living in high-rises downtown.Aronow said his Miami was particularly “lush, beautiful, and full of very strange characters.”

As a child, he met many of these characters—the mighty “1980s Miami Vice-era dudes” who were old friends of his father. They would take him out to lunch and tell him the story of his father, Don Aronow, who was murdered in 1987 when Wylie was a baby.

Aronow says: Don Aronow, the son of Brooklyn-born Jewish immigrants, made his fortune in construction in New Jersey in the 1950s and went on to become a leader in the powerboating industry, making a name for himself in the process. He was there to witness “the emergence of the industry” and he sold ships to and dealt with “movie stars, kings and queens”.

The subsequent president, Bush Sr., was a friend who owned Don’s powerboat. U.S. border security agents use his boat — just like the drug smugglers they hunt down. John Travolta played Don in a 2018 film, Speed ​​Kills, which Aronow described as “terrible” and which RogerEbert.com gave half a star.

Don was shot dead in his car in North Beach in 1987. He was 59 at the time. About a decade later, two men (a former powerboat industry contender and a hitman he allegedly hired) have “no objection” to his murder.But there are still plenty of conspiracy theories surrounding the businessman’s death, involving gang ties and a jealous partner of an alleged mistress. According to online speculation, Don was also a CIA agent.

Whatever the true circumstances of Don’s life and death, Aronow said the stories he heard from his father’s friends often conflicted with those of his mother (former Wilhelmina agency model Lillian Aronow), whose death deeply affected Wylie childhood. He grew up in Coconut Grove with his mom, stepfather, and an eight-year-old older brother, the “bar hero” of the Miami punk scene.

Aronow said he didn’t want to offend his parents, but described his home environment as “poor”. Much of his childhood was spent in video games, such as Final Fantasy. By the age of 12, he would often run away from home, like his older brother before, to attend local punk rock shows. There, Aronow found a sort of “second family” of similarly problematic characters.

By the age of 15, Aronow was an alcoholic and addict. He would run away from home for months at a time, sleeping with other young runaways in construction sites and mangroves. He said he had been to the same “court-forced treatment” facility twice. He added: “The head of one agency said I had the worst case of alcoholism among teenagers he had ever seen.

He was sent to a second “very messy” institution. He said: “It’s like where Paris Hilton goes, they kidnap you at night and take you into the desert. The people who run the Utah Center won’t let him read anything but the Bible or popular science books, which are basically the Bible for Alcoholics Anonymous. Aronow chose the latter, saying he read it about 50 times while in Utah, and the book changed his life.

He said: “The moment I got back to Miami, I became the AA captain trying to help other alcoholics see the same message I felt in the desert. He was only 15 years old at the time, and he and his older Decades of abstinent smokers and black coffee together (Aronow occasionally drinks alcohol these days, but not drugs).”

I really wanted to give everything because in my head, I thought, maybe I’m going to get sick again.

Aronow went to college and hopefully entered a top-tier MFA program, like the one taught at Syracuse University by his hero, author Joe Saunders. Those dreams were dashed when Aronow fell seriously ill in his 20s and had to drop out of school.

Likewise, Aronow doesn’t speak out about his illness – given his superstitious nature, he doesn’t want to give it “that kind of energy.” But it kept him in bed for most of the “truly dark decade”. His family supports him financially due to his illness. He travels the country looking for doctors who can help him (mostly to no avail), he learns to meditate, and hangs out in online communities, “scraping for a living” through Twitch streamers and YouTubers. He traded cryptocurrencies, but never had a real 9-to-5 job. He somehow managed to meet his current girlfriend.

Finally, in his early 30s, he found the right specialist, the right medication, and the right diet. He is healed.Then, at the same time, the rest of the world fell ill. Covid-19 has the upper hand. With everyone stuck at home, people are looking online for ways to get involved in their communities, as Aronow has done for the past decade. NFTs as art and collectibles shine on the scene.

Then, in February 2021, Solano texted Aronow: “Hey, do you want to do an NFT?”

“It was like, ‘I want to do everything,'” Aronow said. “I really wanted to give everything because in my head, I thought, maybe I’m going to get sick again.”


   ordinary people

Solano himself admits that his backstory is far less dramatic than Aronow’s. His parents, both Cuban immigrants, came to the United States very young when his mother was an infant, and his father joined the Communist youth group Youth Vanguard when he was old enough. (Solano only went to Cuba for the first time about seven years ago).

Solano’s mother has lived in Miami all her life, while his father moved there after serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets) in his 20s. His parents divorced when Solano was 11, and he and his sister live with his mother, who works for a television network, he declined to be named.

Solano has wanted to be a writer since he was 11 years old. After graduating from NYU, he moved to the South to earn an MFA at the University of Virginia, which he says ended up being “the best time of my life.”He could spend all his time writing, he made friends quickly, he also met his future wife, now a professional landscape architect, who first approached him because he liked him poetry.

“You see founders as a bigger life character online. Then when you meet them, you’re like, well, that could really be me.”

After graduating from the University of Virginia, he took a job at a small publishing house, working on licensing intellectual property — coloring books for Harry Potter and manuals for World of Warcraft. It’s not a dream job, or the highest paying job (cheap Bored Ape NFTs now sell for twice his salary at the time), but it’s satisfying. He said: “I retired later and wanted to write a physical book, which was amazing.”

He is aware of the ironic fact that his work is now almost invisible. “But at the same time, we’ve been trying to make it more tangible,” he said.

Indeed, BAYC has real-life benefits (including access to branded merchandise such as hats and hoodies).What’s more, the ape holders own the intellectual property rights of their ape, which opens up a vast world for branding. Actor Seth Green said, “When you talk about people spending X dollars for any of these boring apes, what’s in that spending is commitment, it’s opportunity, it’s to be the next Mickey Mouse!”

(In May, Green lost his boring ape, Fred, in a phishing scam. Green later managed to regain ownership of his ape, saying he struck a “multiple deal” with NFT collectors who bought the ape from the scammer Aspects” of the deal, and, he told Input: “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Cybercrime Squad is working on this case. Once I reach a deal to get my ape back, I’ll be relieved to be able to see this market with God’s eyes.” Instead of feeling so crazy, as if all my plans were terminated in one keystroke.”)

Escalator at Pier 17 in New York during ApeFest 2022

Pop star Sia (right) and fellow ApeFest 2022

Besides business, there is also fun in the form of IRL events. Last fall, in conjunction with the NFT.NYC conference, BAYC organized its first ApeFest, which culminated at a warehouse party in Brooklyn with performances by Strokes, Beck and Lil Baby (an early celebrity Ape holder) .

Back then, founders could enjoy the festivities without being recognized by the wider BAYC community. “I remember last year at ApeFest, I could play with anyone and no one knew who I was. Once the leak happened, I knew it was going to be different,” Ali said. The second annual Ape Festival, during the return of NFT.NYC in June, features four nights of performances such as LCD Soundsystem, HAIM, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and (again) Lil Baby.

And then there are the milder BAYC gatherings around the world. For example, the party I attended with Solano and Aronow after our interview. It was held on the leafy patio of a dark basement bar in midtown Manhattan, where about 15 ape-holders, one of whom launched his own Boring Ape brand of hot sauce, gathered for a drink. As is the case with the NFT scene in general, the team is skewed towards youth and men.

Plans emerge for the 2023 Day of the Apes. Someone said, “I’d love to go to Las Vegas. I don’t know how many orangutans live in Las Vegas, but…” Others have floated the idea of ​​taking the festival to the desert. A prominent community member, Josh Ong, responded: “Apechella!”. The concept of Tokyo Ape-Man Festival in 2025 has been proposed. Solano suggested going somewhere “a mountain”.

Snoop Dogg performs at ApeFest 2022

Questlove DJ at ApeFest 2022

After a quick group photo, the founders’ publicist sent them back to the hotel. But some people insisted on staying, so I asked them what it was like to meet the people who created BAYC. Says a young man named Doris Burke on Twitter (“Not an ESPN announcer,” his bio reads): “It’s almost surreal because they’re just, like, ordinary people.”

He continued: “You see them online as someone more important than life, and then you see them in person and you’re like, well, that could really be me.”


   “Evil Troll”

Not everyone sees BAYC’s founders as “normal.” Many critics on Twitter see them as opportunists at the top of the monkey JPEG pyramid scheme, an allegation that Input has previously investigated. (The founders naturally disagree with this description.) And, of course, there is probably their most vocal critic—Ryder Ripps.

Ripps set up a website earlier this year, GordonGoner.com, where he compared the Yuga Labs logo to the Totenkopf logo used by the Nazis and claimed that the word Yuga was a reference to the anti-right. (The company says the name comes from a villain in the Nintendo 3DS game The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.)

Ripps believes that all founders’ pseudonyms have insidious connotations. Gordon Goner is an inflected word for dragongo negro. The Smurfs’ Gargamel is an anti-Semitic depiction of a Jew. The Sass was a combination of “two main branches of the Nazi military”, the SA and the SS. Ripps pointed out that Emperor Tomato Ketchup was originally the title of a Japanese film that was widely censored because it was considered child pornography.

Ryder Ripps Nicholas Rhodes/Corbis Entertainment/Getty Images in January 2015

Furthermore, Ripps claims that orangutans are themselves racists — an example of “apeization,” where people demean a racial or ethnic group by comparing them to monkeys. He also pointed to some allegedly problematic orangutan features, including a “Prussian helmet” (another Nazi whistle, according to Ripps) and a “sushi chef’s headband.”

Others have taken his guns and gone a step further, like popular YouTuber Philion, who recently posted an hour-long video, titled “Boring Ape Nazi Club,” dissecting Yuga’s image. To date, the video has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

Earlier this year, Input investigated Ripps’ claims, spoke with the artist himself, and consulted with experts at the Jewish group Anti-Defamation League, who cast doubt on most of the allegations. However, experts at the Anti-Defamation League did agree with Ripps that both “hip-hop” features (gold chains, gold teeth) and “sushi chef headbands” are problematic. Still, one of the researchers told Input at the time: “It’s hard to infer that the people behind them are white supremacists.”

Aronow compared the controversy to the rumors surrounding his father’s life and death: “We’re all shrouded in a world of shit full of intrigue”. He and Solano have both become solemn and measured when they talk about Ripps. Allegations are an understandably sensitive topic. (During their photo shoot the next day, Aronow noticed that the green army jacket he was wearing had a German-looking badge on the sleeve. He kept repeating: “This is not my jacket.” edit out this detail).

The founders say Ripps is a “vicious troll” who is good at “stealing things” and making them look bad in front of people who don’t know. They came up with factional lines that Aronow and Oseary were Jewish and the other three Yuga founders were children of immigrants.

Oseary said: “In the early days, I was really offended. I even contacted Ripps. I thought through me talking to him, he would know that I would never be associated with something like this. You know, I’m Israeli, I am Jewish.”

“It should always be a fun, rebellious club. It should never go beyond criticism of any kind.”

The founders added that Ripps had been deliberately trying to get them to sue him. (In June, Yuga Labs filed a lawsuit against Ripps in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that Ripps “defrauded consumers to purchase RR/BAYC NFTs by abusing Yuga Labs’ trademark” and “via knockoff NFTs using the original Bored Ape Yacht Club imagery” The series floods the NFT market, demeaning the Bored Ape NFT”.

“It was a distraction on the validity of my criticism by suggesting that I was doing things for the money,” Ripps said. He called his series a “protest and parody of BAYC.” In a video interview with The Defiant, Ripps called RR/BAYC, “probably the greatest thing I’ve ever done.” He added, “It demonstrates what an NFT is. It’s a provocation for a company. It reveals a very important question. It’s creating an army of educators.”

While discussing the controversy with Solano and Aronow at the hotel, I brought up features like the sushi chef’s headband. Solano said: “It was supposed to be a fun, unfettered club. It should never go beyond criticism of any kind.”

“It’s hard not to offend everyone in the world,” Aronow added.

Enter the Metaverse

Three days after meeting Solano and Aronow, I was standing in an all-white room surrounded by a group of robots that seemed to be made of stone. About 4,500 of us (including the four founders) came together, and Curtis, the great ape in Hawaiian shirt and captain hat, explained the trip we were going to take together.Beside him is a pudgy alien creature named Koda. The man’s name is Blue.

Curtis announced at the start of Yuga Labs’ first public demo of the new Metaverse: “Welcome, travelers, to another world. Or to infinity, kind of like the halls of other worlds.”

After some instruction on how to get our avatars to dance and things like that, we had a hole open below. We were all caught up in a swirling rainbow passage that spewed us out onto a verdant island. “Wow, nerds, it’s raining!” Curtis quipped.

Courtesy Yuga Labs

Over the next hour or so, we nerds worked through a series of tasks under the guidance of Curtis and Blue.We’re looking for a “new pair of glasses” for a guy who broke his glasses at a recent NFT.NYC conference, and teaming up to incapacitate a dangerous, drunk Koda (Otherside’s “First Boss Fight,” we’re told “). At the end of the demo, everyone took a set of “selfie” poses.

On Crypto Twitter, the reaction to the demo was overwhelming. A few days later, Solano, Aronow, and I chatted on Zoom about the demo. “Honestly, this was one of our best launches,” Aronow said. They point out that while there are quests to accomplish in Otherside and drunken villains to overthrow, the point of the game isn’t that it’s a game. It is a virtual leisure place where players can simply play with their ape brothers, buy assets in the world with ape coins and own them in the form of NFTs.

They explain that this is an “interoperable Metaverse” as people can bring their NFTs in and out of Otherside and use them elsewhere on Web3. Fortnite, for example, makes money from players buying in-game assets, like skins for their avatars; its publisher, Epic Games, made more than $9 billion from the game in 2018 and 2019. “All these values ​​are going into the Metaverse, and none of them will come out again,” Aronow said.

It’s also a collaborative Metaverse. Travelers (users who buy with Otherdeed tokens) get a piece of land in the Metaverse that they can use as they please (according to Otherside docs: “under the informed guidance of the community”). Voyagers can also provide feedback via the Discord server, which is likely to affect Otherside’s form. “They went all the way, and each step was iteratively inputting what this was going to be,” Aronow explained.

“The ambition and scale of what we’re trying to accomplish here is enormous.”

He went on to say that this will help Yuga compete with internet giant Meta in the race to the ultimate Metaverse. “The ambition and scale of what we’re trying to accomplish here is enormous,” he said.

Solano and Aronow believe they are the right people for the job. Aronow said: “In the wrong hands (possibly bad actors) the Metaverse can be a utopian, scary place. They envision their Metaverse as lush, beautiful and full of very strange characters. . (though probably packed with “lots of men” as someone put it in the group chat of the Otherside demo)”.

Otherside will take years to develop, they said. But when it’s ready, one has to wonder, who cares? The cryptocurrency world is developing rapidly, and by then, isn’t the craze for the orangutan over? Also, the cryptocurrency and NFT markets have been falling recently.

When I brought up the ongoing crypto winter at the hotel, Solano told me: “The game the losers are playing only pay attention to the bear market.” Plus, they’re not worried. What they have is money.

Aronow added: “We are exceptionally profitable. We have a very sizable competing fund here to make sure we can survive, and not just survive, but build in any multi-year bear market. Just keep building, building. , and build again.”

It’s a huge challenge, one that the founders could never have imagined when they were just a pair of completely anonymous partners discussing penis drawings on a hypothetical bathroom wall. “We may be the biggest company in the NFT space right now, but we’re far from the biggest company when it comes to building the Metaverse,” Aronow said. “We’re going to kill some giants.”

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/interview-with-the-founder-of-bayc-boring-ape-the-biggest-success-story-in-the-nft-world/
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