The Bored Ape Yacht Club is easy to write off — its based entirely on pictures of, well, bored looking apes. That’s it. 

But the BAYC is the leading edge of the NFT avatar movement, which has captivated the market recently with generative, collectible art, often of animals, that people build identities around. NFT avatars, arguably popularized by Larva Labs' Cryptopunks, have grossed at least $150 million in sales since the start of May, according to NFT data website Cryptoslam.io. 

While Cryptopunks remain the prized possession of the avatar community, the BAYC set off the current market frenzy. The BAYC and its connected project, the Bored Ape Kennel Club, have grossed more than $70 million since early May, and has spawned countless imitators (Bulls, ducks and golf pandas, to name a few). 

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The BAYC offers collectors complete commercial rights over their ape, which has led to a series of streetwear and multiple commissioned derivatives. 

"What kept me in it from like, day one or day two on I think was the community," said Josh Ong, an ape owner. "I did notice when I clicked on the roadmap, that it was themed around creating a community from the beginning. And that was something that I'd been very curious about. I'd watched Cryptopunks become self-organized as this elite community."

The BAYC organizes itself primarily through social media, including a robust Discord channel. Its holders gain access to the "club", which grants them perks and access to the community itself, which has produced reams of its own art and given tens of thousands of dollars to charity.  

Josh Ong's Bored Ape

Josh Ong's Bored Ape

Notable members include NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and hip-hop star Wacka Flocka. 

Ong is hopeful that such names could bolster the BAYC place in pop culture. 

"Once it reaches kind of mainstream pop culture, I think it's going to be very fascinating to see what happens," he said. "And obviously there will be a question on what's going to happen to the (price) floor as we call it, how hard is it going to be to get and what does it come to represent? It's going to be interesting, I think we have to recognize that things are going to evolve."

Only 10,000 apes were minted and sold at a price of 0.08 (about $200 at the time). The founders keep a 2.5% fee on any ape sold, some of which is funneled back into the community. 

As of this writing, the lowest price for a Bored Ape was 3.05 ether (about $6,350). 

Stephen Stirling is a senior reporter for the Street Crypto and Crypto Investor, covering the intersection of fiat and crypto. He makes and trades NFTS, and is currently an active user of NBA Top Shot, MLB Topps and Zed.Run. 

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is easy to write off — its based entirely on pictures of, well, bored looking apes. That’s it. 

But the BAYC is the leading edge of the NFT avatar movement, which has captivated the market recently with generative, collectible art, often of animals, that people build identities around. NFT avatars, arguably popularized by Larva Labs' Cryptopunks, have grossed at least $150 million in sales since the start of May, according to NFT data website Cryptoslam.io. 

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