How Yuga Labs NFTs became a dominant force with an $8.1B market cap

How Yuga Labs NFTs became a dominant force with an $8.1B market cap

Yuga Labs’ six NFT collections account for 43% of Ethereum’s NFT market cap*

Less than a year ago, on April 28, 2021, Yuga Labs launched the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), one of the most influential projects in the history of NFTs. Along with CryptoPunks, it spearheaded the NFT hype that saw record trading volumes in 2021. Both projects’ importance arguably transcends the blockchain space and reaches a cultural phenomenon status. CryptoPunks and Bored Apes have reached the mainstream through renowned auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s, and have become the avatars for dozens of celebrities on social media. Therefore, when Yuga Labs announced the acquisition of the CryptoPunks and Meebits IP rights, the entire crypto community went into a frenzy.

A few days later, Yuga Labs made headlines again after revealing its metaverse plans. Including the hotly anticipated ApeCoin, and Otherside, the metaverse project for the BAYC ecosystem. Yuga Labs went from launching an NFT collection with a mint price of 0.08 ETH or $210 to becoming a leading Web3.0 (Web3) brand. It’s currently valued at $4 billion and building a vibrant metaverse ecosystem. This report covers the impact of Yuga Labs announcements from different perspectives. It also explains the implications of these recent actions in the outlook of Web3 and the metaverse.

Key takeaways

  • Yuga Labs became a dominant force in the Web3 space with a total value of $8.1 billion, or 43% of Ethereum’s Top 100 NFT collections market cap.
  • ApeCoin strengthened its brand positioning by granting $2.3 billion in market capitalization.
  • A $450M investment led by Anderseen Horowitz and Animoca Brands at a $4 billion valuation is further boosting Yuga Labs’ metaverse plans.

Table of Contents

Yuga Labs NFTs hold 43% of the NFT floor market cap*

Before acquiring the IP rights of CryptoPunks and Meebits, which Larva Labs formerly owned, Yuga Labs was in control of one of the most influential names in the entire crypto space: Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The BAYC consists of 10,000 NFTs synonymous with the NFT avatar movement. The project was widely embraced by the NFT community and was quickly sought out by renowned NFT collectors. Most importantly by Hollywood, sports, and music celebrities. The high celebrity involvement gives the collection a sense of exclusivity similar to luxury brands in the physical world. 

Apart from the 10,000 Bored Apes, Yuga Labs’ BAYC ecosystem includes three additional NFT projects:

  • The Bored Ape Kennels (BAKC)
  • The Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC)
  • The Bored Ape Chemistry Club (BACC)

These collections showcase the high utility implemented by Yuga Labs. Bored Ape owners received 10,000 BAKC and another 10,000 Mutant Serums (BACC) at a 1:1 ratio for free (plus gas).

The BAYC ecosystem constitutes one of the most powerful groups in the entire NFT space. The estimated market cap for these four NFT collections is $5.5 billion, according to the DappRadar NFT Value Estimator Tool. This amount accounts for 29% of the floor market cap of the Top 100 Ethereum NFT Collections. 

After acquiring the IP rights for CryptoPunks and Meebits, Yuga Labs’ footprint in the NFT landscape became a dominant presence. According to the same valuation tool, CryptoPunks and Meebits have an estimated market cap of $2.42 billion and $370 million, respectively. The inclusion of the two collections into the Yuga Labs fold elevates the estimated market cap of the brand’s NFTs to $8.1 billion. This represents 42.6% of the $19.1 billion market cap of Ethereum’s top 100 NFT Collections.

Floor price of Meebits, CryptoPunks rises after the acquisition

The acquisition by Yuga Labs positively impacted the demand for CryptoPunks and Meebits. Trade for both collections surged 1,000% the day after they announced the acquisition.

The ApeCoin reveal further propelled the market for BAYC NFTs. Importantly, rewards for the airdrop were proportional to the holdings of NFTs belonging to the brand. During the week announcements were made, Yuga Labs NFTs generated 38% of the NFT trading volume transacted on Ethereum. Demand for the project was still high the following week (25%), although it began to cool down in the last few days.

On the same note, the floor price of these collections experienced a period of fluctuation. The price effect on both Larva Labs creations was positive, especially for Meebits. The latter’s lowest selling price grew 114% from the end of February and currently stands at 5.47 ETH. The floor price of CryptoPunks increased a slight 3% over the same period and currently sits at 71 ETH. Both increments show that the NFT market considers Yuga Labs a brand capable of adding more value and trust to a couple of already leading collections. 

BAYC NFTs received no particular benefits from Yuga Labs’ purchase, although MAYC saw a rise in value. MAYC’s floor price had hit 22.45 ETH, growing 28% from the previous month. MAYC was once the lower entry point to the BAYC ecosystem. Now that title belongs to the Kennels. 

ApeCoin, BAYC’s economic turbine close to a $2.3B market cap 

To add even more hype to the highly publicized NFT acquisition, Yuga Labs revealed its metaverse plans. This included the launch of its hotly anticipated ApeCoin (APE). APE is an ERC-20 token that will serve as the native utility and governance currency of the BAYC ecosystem – the backbone of Yuga Labs’ metaverse roadmap.

Source: Twitter

APE will fuel all economic activity inside the BAYC metaverse, which is expected to include games, experiences, and wearables. Furthermore, ApeCoin will be integrated into other platforms like Benji Bananas, a play-to-earn game developed by Animoca Brands, and into nWayPlay, another game platform. Even real-life businesses have integrated ApeCoin into their payment models, incentivizing the use of this currency. 

It is important to note that Yuga Labs do not oversee APE. Instead, the ApeCoin DAO governs this cryptocurrency. This is a decentralized entity supported by Ape Foundation – Yuga Labs’ legal entity based in the Cayman Islands.

APE will allow token holders to vote on governance events to shape the ecosystem’s future. In addition, according to ApeCoin DAO, the token is expected to have further utilities. These include granting access to exclusive BAYC metaverse experiences or additional airdrops. 

At writing, 90% of the APE had been claimed by eligible wallets. The price of APE increased around 83% since its launch to reach a market cap of $2.5 billion. Consequently, it become the 62nd largest cryptocurrency ranked by that metric. 

$450M investment boosts the BAYC metaverse

The icing on Yuga Labs’ plans came on March 22. The team announced a $450 million investment led by a16z bringing Yuga to a $4 billion valuation. The investment also brings important partnerships and collaborations with renowned names in the Web3 landscape. These include Animoca Brands, The Sandbox, FTX, and Coinbase. The team behind BAYC will count on more capital to keep building Otherside – its ambitious interoperable metaverse project. Otherside is expected to involve play-to-earn games, fashion plans, and media platforms.

It is expected that Otherside will feature a virtual world. Although the team is yet to reveal concrete plans, it is expected that there will be around 100,000 virtual parcels. About 40% will be airdropped to holders of any of the BAYC ecosystem NFTs. The rest will be available to the public. ApeCoin will fuel this metaverse, and all signs point towards this currency becoming the means to purchase these lands. 

Moreover, Yuga Labs’ virtual world teases interoperability, with images from different projects like Cool Cats, WoW, CrypToadz, and Nouns seen in what appears to be a spaceship navigating through Otherside. If Otherside launches effectively, the BAYC community will expand even further. 

Also, it is worth noting that Animoca Brands is supporting Yuga Labs to perform a Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process required for people to join the metaverse project. As the need for regulations rises daily in the crypto space, it is interesting to see two of the most prominent brands in the space team up for a process of this nature. 

All in all, the value of virtual lands in Otherside is far from being established. However, if the 1 ETH mint price is confirmed for the public, Yuga Labs would add a $300 million virtual world to their already coveted group of assets. 

Seismic implications in the metaverse/Web3 landscape

Yuga Labs has successfully positioned itself as one of the native Web3 brands leading the way in the nascent crypto industry. From an NFT perspective, the acquisition of CyrptoPunks and Meebits IP secures their position as the top project in the space, which now holds 43% of the $19.1 billion market cap held by Ethereum’s Top 100 Collections. No other team or brand comes close to this level. 

Their strategic roadmap contains ambitious metaverse plans and confirms that the team understands the need for decentralization, interoperability, culture, community, and revenue streams. Otherside is expected to become an interoperable gaming metaverse platform capable of hosting a holistic landscape with an underlying economy powered by APE.

Furthermore, the investment led by a16z, involving other leading brands like Animoca Brands, The Sandbox, and FTX, paints a bullish scenario for the Yuga Labs metaverse and the entire blockchain space. BAYC has become a cultural phenomenon since its conception, attracting celebrities like Neymar, Paris Hilton, and Justin Bieber, and even featuring on a Rolling Stones cover. With Otherside, Yuga Labs will provide the crypto community with another opportunity to become part of their coveted ecosystem. A scenario that might help bridge the gap between mainstream and the Web3 metaverse. 

*Floor market cap of the Top 100 Ethereum NFT Collections

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