The NFT market had one of the most exciting moments in its short history this week. Yuga Labs, the company behind the bluest of all blue-chip NFT collections, Bored Ape Yacht Club, announced Friday that it made a massive acquisition.
How many zeros did it have?
They bought Cryptopunks, ending the battle for dominance over the NFT market that has been raging for months. The deal included Meebits too, another popular collection made by the same company, Larva Labs.
We don’t know how much Yuga Labs spent on this acquisition but it is almost certainly somewhere in the nine figures range. The deal included 423 Cryptopunks (floor of ~70 ETH) and 1711 Meebits (~5 ETH floor).
At current rates, that’s $100 million worth of NFTs.
The market seems to like the deal. The collection’s floor price skyrocketed from about 75 ETH to 95 in the 2 days after the acquisition. Cryptopunks saw a decent increase as well initially (almost 10%) but have returned to the same levels as before the announcement.
Cryptopunks were the pinnacle of blue-chip NFTs for most of the market’s existence. When NFTs started blowing up in the second half of 2021, everyone wanted a Punk. The collection’s floor rocketed from 20 ETH on August 1st to 115 on August 31st. Over that same month, Bored Ape holders saw a better percent return with the floor increasing by 8 times from 5 to 40 ETH.
The punks reached their peak floor price of 120 ETH in October and have been losing their dominance ever since. The BAYC floor hasn’t quite surpassed that peak yet but when the next bull run comes it has a great chance of going even higher.
(image courtesy of @hildobby on Dune.xyz)
Are the Apes Worth $5 Billion?
Yuga Labs may not be done.
The Financial Times recently reported in February that it’s in talks with prospective investors, including the huge venture capital fund Andreeson Horowitz (known as a16z). It wants to sell a multi-million dollar stake in the company that could value it between $4 and $5 billion.
After the start-up spent a tremendous amount of money on merging the two largest NFT collections, it’s looking for a massive cash injection. If they do close a deal with a16z or a different investor, they will have plenty of liquidity to grow and bring value to holders.
We know that some of the cash will go to completing the roadmap they dropped last September, but they are keeping other major events secret for now.
Yuga Labs has already completed some of the roadmap since September.
First, they released an extremely complex scavenger-hunt puzzle with the colossal prize of 10 ETH and 3 valuable NFTs (a Bored Ape, a Bored Ape Kennel Club, and an M2 Serum). A few weeks later they held the biggest ever Bored Ape holder IRL get-together during the NFT NYC conference.
Has there been community blowback?
A significant portion of the NFT community, especially Cryptopunks holders, were upset with this deal. Some don’t like that their favorite project was purchased by its longtime rival. Others are worried about a loss of decentralization at the high-end of the market.
Will giant corporations eventually own all the big projects?
The largest acquisition in NFTs before this was likely Nike purchasing the start-up that was behind CloneX and other NFTs such as RTFKT. The Cryptopunks purchase won’t be the last major acquisition either.
Is it Disney’s Turn?
NFT Twitter was full of rumors this past week. We knew something was happening with Meebits and punks before the official announcement but had no idea what. Now everyone is talking about the media giant, Disney.
Right now we have nothing more than rumors, but it seems like Disney is making some kind of foray into NFTs in the near future. The company has been hiring a few NFT expert marketers and meeting with founders of NFT projects for a while now.
The CEO of a venture firm, Jamie Burke, sent the community into an excited frenzy Saturday when he tweeted “Rumor has it Disney is about to make a big NFT acquisition…” He even said that it would be the biggest deal ever made in the NFT industry.
This is a wild claim, especially because he tweeted this after the likely 9 figure Cryptopunk acquisition.
Many people assumed that Disney must be buying Coolman’s Universe. It’s a popular cute generative collection made by a famous YouTube animator and comedian Danny Casale. The main evidence for this theory is Casale mentioning in his Discord server that he was meeting with Disney.
If Burke is right, however, it can’t be Coolman’s Universe. It’s just not large enough. No one could construe it as bigger than Cryptopunks or even Meebits. In fact, there are a few collections that are worth more than Cryptopunks: OpenSea, Immutable X, and Dapper Labs. However, OpenSea and Immutable X just secured massive rounds of funding so chances are low that it’s either.
If Disney is looking for an NFT platform, Dapper Labs would probably be a good choice and it’s certainly valued higher than the Cryptopunks deal. Dapper Labs is the company behind Cryptokitties, NBA Topshot, NFL All Day, and the Flow Blockchain. We still don’t know if Disney is acquiring anything and we likely won’t get any confirmation until it’s either announced or disproven.
Do you want to understand the NFT market better? Check out some of Henry’s other articles to learn more!
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Check out NFTimes 6 – NFT Communities Show Their Worth to see what a “great community” in NFTs really means and why it’s so important
- If you’re looking for the best breakdown of what NFT utility is, look no further than NFTimes 9 – Now THAT is Utility
- NFTimes 2 – The Hype Wave is Washing Over Asia is a hip rundown on how to follow the major trends in the market to find the best projects
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By Henry Stater and William Laurent