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After buying its biggest competitor for the title of the hottest line of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) last week, Bored Ape yacht club creator Yuga Labs is looking to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to build a metaverse.

According to a pitch deck seen by The Block, a cryptocurrency industry publication, Yuga Labs is seeking a $5 billion valuation on the premise that it can raise the $127 million it made in 2021 to $455 million. this year, largely from sales of “land” plots in a game-centric virtual reality called MetaRPG.

(Does anybody dare to bet that name will beat out the lawyers for Meta, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg just changed his name to Facebook to underscore his belief that the metaverse is the future of social media?) Apparently, Yuga also wants to launch his own cryptocurrency, APECoin.

Aside from the Facebook metaverse, starting a metaverse is all the rage in the cryptocurrency industry these days, especially in the segment dedicated to collectible NFTs, many of which are usable as avatars in the virtual world.

This is likely because big companies, from HSBC and American Express to McDonalds and Disney, are buying into the metaverse hype, dreaming of a virtual world full of marketing targets that can be lured into embracing marketing. experiential.

At least in blockchain-based metaverses like The Sandbox and Decentraland, NFTs are used for just about everything, from “clothes” to give your avatar a fashionable look to the plots themselves.

It is worth noting that the hottest NFTs do not necessarily mean the most popular. Ranked by sales, CryptoPunks is the #1 NFT collection, at $2.1 billion. Bored Apes is No. 3, with $1.4 billion.

Ahead of them is Axie Infinity, which uses NFTs to power the top blockchain-based game, with just over $4 billion, according to CryptoSlam.

However, sorting by buyers is a very different story: The combined 20,000 NFTs from CryptoPunks and Bored Apes – not all of which have been put up for sale – have been sold and resold more than 45,000 times. Axie Infinity’s NFTs? Just over 15 million.

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The March 11 deal, in which Yuga added the collection of CryptoPunks – some of which have sold for millions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s – highlighted the company’s success in using experiential marketing and creating a community.

In large part, the sale was a result of the fact that the creator of CryptoPunks, Larva Labs, was not interested in becoming a marketing company, something Yuga is much better at.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) gained notice by adopting the “club” part of the name. The exclusivity was played with a private Discord channel and has evolved to include access to a SoHo gallery and a Brooklyn warehouse party during the NFT.NYC industry event in early November.

It’s no wonder celebrities from Paris Hilton and Jimmy Fallon to Eminem have bought and promoted their Apes. Adidas has even done brand deals, and an Ape graced the cover of a limited edition Rolling Stone magazine.

One clue: BAYC owners also received full commercial rights to their Bored Apes, a rarity in the NFT industry, in which someone paid $69 million for a piece of NFT art that had no rights other than to display it publicly.

The owners of BAYC have closed intellectual property deals, such as the Backpack Boyz marijuana lines, which contributes to the visibility of the brand.

That was part of the first announcement of the CryptoPunks purchase: “Great news to share today: Yuga has acquired the @LarvaLabs CryptoPunks and Meebits collections,” the company tweeted. “And the first thing we’re doing is giving full commercial rights to the NFT holders. Just like we did with the BAYC owners…”

In the official press release, they added: “By giving away these rights, we are further aligning CryptoPunks and Meebits with the spirit of web3, and hope that a wide range of third-party developers and community creators will incorporate CryptoPunks and Meebits into their web3 projects. We will build the overall brand together with them.”

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