Bored Ape Yacht Club founders are helping launch an ape-themed crypto coin

The creators of one of the most recognized series of NFTs is dabbling in crypto coins via a newly-created entity with gaming and trading in its sights.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

The startup behind Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), a series of NFT images that have become something of a posterchild for the NFT movement as a whole, is now quietly participating in the launch of a new, ape-theme crypto coin.

Dubbed ApeCoin, the cryptocurrency will be overseen by a newly-created entity called, appropriately, ApeCoin DAO. The entity's leadership will consist of a council consisting of several faces that are tightly connected to BAYC creators Yuga Labs but are not directly employed by the startup. 

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This leadership council includes Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Amy Wu, the head of FTX Gaming that we recently interviewed, Maaria Bajwa of Sound Ventures, Yat Siu from Animoca, and Dean Steinbeck of Horizen Labs.

Despite what seems to be a considerable behind-the-scenes influence, Yuga Labs' only public-facing contribution to the project will be its "gift" of a 1/1 NFT that will serve as the ApeCoin DAO logo. The image can now be seen as the slowly-spinning welcome sign on ApeCoin's new homepage.

The crypto coin's governance will be somewhat unusual: All holders of the Ethereum-based currency will be allowed to vote on management and financial decisions. Those decisions will, however, still be executed at the discretion of the aforementioned council, a representative from the entity told TechCrunch.

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The initial dispersal of ApeCoin will also be a bit unusual. A full outline of who will receive what percentage of the initial offering is being made public. According to ApeCoin DAO, the breakdown will be as follows:

  • 8% of the 1 billion coins being minted will go to the BAYC's individual founders.

  • 14% will go to "launch contributors," or "The companies and people that helped make this project a reality."

  • 16% will go to Yuga Labs, with 6.25% of that total being donated to the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation charity. 

  • The remaining 62% will be offered to a combination of BAYC and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFT holders and the general public.

More specifically, 150 million tokens will be made available to BAYC and MAYC holders. The remaining 470 million will reach the public. However, only 117.5 million of those will be initially available. The remainder will be unlocked via drops of approximately 7.34 million tokens, once per month, for 48 months.

The same spokesperson told TechCrunch that ApeCoin should begin trading soon on "major exchanges," including Coinbase, FTX, eToro, Kraken, OKX, Gemini, Binance, and Binance US.

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The actual purpose of ApeCoin, aside from the usual fodder for crypto trading, remains somewhat mysterious. TechCrunch posited that it will be used as a form of in-game currency for one or more upcoming titles from Yuga Labs, but was unable to confirm much in the way of specific details.

This would fall in line with the play-to-earn mechanic FTX's Amy Wu seemed enthusiastic about during our recent chat, in which players can earn crypto tokens by logging game time and achieving in-game accomplishments. It remains to be seen if this mechanic can overcome the reticence some gamers have shown to date about all things blockchain-related.

More should become clear in the coming days as ApeCoin's trading commences. 

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