How Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs Became $400K Status Symbols

NFTs are a big business, with about $25 billion being spent on them in 2021. But despite all that money flying about, nonfungible tokens have yet to enter mainstream culture. 

Tens of millions have heard about NFTs, but only a fraction could describe what they actually are -- much less name any. Yet if there's one brand that's transcended NFT culture, even in minor ways, it's the Bored Ape Yacht Club. 

You've probably seen one, even if you didn't realize you were looking at a pricey NFT.

Bored Ape owners currently using their NFT as a Twiter profile picture include Timbaland (1.6 million followers), Eminem (22.6 million followers) and footballer Neyman Jr. (55 million followers). 

Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton are also BAYC holders, discussing their Apes in a (cringey) Tonight Show segment. Justin Bieber made headlines with his purchase of a $1.29 million Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT in February. 

Since launching last April for $200 (0.08 ether) each, the cost has skyrocketed: The cheapest you'll find a Bored Ape NFT on OpenSea, the biggest marketplace for such wares, is $420,000 (145 ether). 

That ridiculous rise led to the NFTs being used as status symbols, first in the NFT space and then among celebrities too. 

Yuga Labs, the company behind the NFT collection, has already expanded the ecosystem to include a cryptocurrency (Ape Coin) and is developing a metaverse (Otherside). Beyond that, people holding Bored Ape NFTs are betting that the brand will completely breakthrough and go mainstream. 

Already it's collaborated with brands like Adidas and Gucci, and last year a Bored Ape graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. 

Like everything else to do with NFTs, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is contentious. Apes inspire jealousy among those who own and trade NFT art but confusion and suspicion among people who don't. 

Their value is instrinsically tied to ether, the second biggest cryptocurrency. That means NFTs like BAYC are likely to lose their lustre if crypto collapses -- something critics have prophesized for years. 

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