Bored Apes and Other Yuga Ethereum NFTs Are Shedding Value—Why?

By Decrypt March 12, 2024 In Bored Ape Yacht Club, Ethereum, NFTs
A Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT. Source: Yuga Labs

Several NFT collections created by industry giant Yuga Labs have sunk to all-time low ETH valuations—at the same time that other NFT projects, including those acquired by the company, have grown in value on the wings of booming crypto prices.

Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC), for example, a collection released by Yuga in August 2021, has fallen to an all-time-low floor price of 2.4 ETH, according to CoinGecko—meaning the cheapest NFT in the 20,000-piece PFP collection can be acquired for that price. It cost 3 ETH to mint a Mutant Ape when the collection first debuted.

Similarly, Otherdeed NFTs—deeds for virtual land in Yuga’s ape-themed metaverse game, Otherside—have steadily fallen in ETH price over the last year, reaching their all-time low floor price last week: 0.21 ETH. The collection has since recovered marginally to 0.23 ETH.

While the price of ETH has more than doubled in value in the last year, that remarkable gain has not offset the plummeting prices of Yuga NFTs. It cost 305 ApeCoin to mint an Otherdeed when the collection launched in May 2022, a sum then worth $5,800; even taking ETH’s recent, spectacular rise into account, Otherdeed’s floor price of 0.23 ETH equals just $929.

Yuga’s marquee NFT collection, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), has also seen a massive drop off in recent months. Whereas it once cost 152 ETH to buy even the cheapest BAYC NFT, the celebrity-favored profile picture (PFP) collection has since plummeted to a floor price of just 15.29 ETH at writing. The last time Bored Ape NFTs went for 15 ETH was just months after the collection debuted, in August 2021.

It’s true that 15 ETH means more than twice as much now as that sum did a year ago. But again, ETH’s soaring price can’t make up for the rapid pace at which BAYC has been shedding value. One year ago, the cheapest Bored Ape NFT cost 72 ETH—a sum that even then, in the thick of crypto winter, was worth about $108,000. That amount of cash could almost buy you two BAYC NFTs today (15.29 ETH, the project’s current floor price, equals about $61,600 at writing).

Further driving the point home is the reality that not all NFT collections are currently suffering to the degree that BAYC, MAYC, and Otherdeeds are. CryptoPunks, for example—a blue chip Ethereum NFT collection that Yuga purchased the rights to in early 2022—has almost doubled in USD value since December, per CoinGecko. Just last week, an NFT from the collection sold for a whopping $16.03 million.

So why is Yuga’s Ape-verse disproportionately suffering in the recovering crypto and NFT market? Bored Ape projects aren’t the only Ethereum NFTs losing steam in recent weeks as Bitcoin Ordinals appear to suck up more attention, but they’re shedding value more rapidly than many other top projects in the space.

CryptoPunks, created in 2017, were the first NFT PFP collection to ever climb to sky-high prices and attain broader cultural significance. To that end, they represent a piece of crypto history, and a sort of value that has weathered multiple market cycles. They’re the top-tier status symbol for many crypto die-hards.

When Bored Apes emerged in 2021, they attempted to forge a new business model for NFTs: one focused on perks, parties, exclusivity, and access. The concept worked well—really well—throughout the 2021/2022 NFT bull run.

But now that the ice of the last crypto winter is finally beginning to melt away, will Yuga’s Ape-themed metaverse continue to appeal to NFT holders? Or will the next bull run leave it behind as rivals gain steam?

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