Yuga Labs, the company behind one of the biggest and most valuable NFT collections in the industry, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, today announced that it has bought the rights to the intellectual property of the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections from Larva Labs.
And step one for Yuga Labs is to grant full commercial license to CryptoPunks and Meebits holders, according to a statement from the company: “With this acquisition Yuga Labs will own the CryptoPunks and Meebit brands and logos, and as they’ve done with their own BAYC collection, Yuga Labs will transfer IP, commercial, and exclusive licensing rights to individual NFT holders.”
Yuga Labs, which launched the BAYC collection in April of last year, had previously granted all Bored Ape NFT owners full license to use the images they own for whatever commercial ends they choose. Entrepreneurs, brands, and celebrities quickly capitalized on the BAYC phenomenon and launched various Bored Ape-branded enterprises, including an Arizona Iced Tea ad campaign and a Gorillaz-inspired “metaverse band” from Universal Music Group.
Larva Labs, creators of the CryptoPunks collection, had been reluctant to grant this same kind of commercial license to its NFT holders, which had become a source of controversy among CryptoPunks investors. As a result, several high-profile holders abandoned the project, including the pseudonymous “punk4156,” who told Decrypt in December that the IP dispute was what led to his $10 million CryptoPunks NFT sale.
NFTs are unique tokens that exist on blockchain networks, such as Ethereum, and are used to demonstrate ownership over digital items, like profile pictures, music files, or video game assets. The market for NFTs exploded over the last year, with more than $23 billion changing hands in 2021, according to data from DappRadar. The boom was led in large part by collections like Bored Apes and CryptoPunks, which today both command a minimum entry price of 73 ETH, or roughly $182,000.
Now, both collections will be housed under the same proverbial roof, with Yuga Labs’ today confirming the rumors of an imminent acquisition.
Yuga Labs, however, stressed in its announcement that its focus will remain on the Apes. “To be clear: the BAYC ecosystem will remain the center of our universe,” the company tweeted. “We believe that what’s good for Punks is good for Apes and the rest of the space. Likewise, what’s good for Apes is good for Punks. We want to grow the pie, not fight over slices.”
As for what, exactly, is in store for CryptoPunks now that the IP will be controlled by Yuga Labs, the company’s pseudonymous co-founders appear less sure: “We’re not in a rush to do anything but give people their IP, see what they build, and listen,” they said in a statement.
Editor’s note: This story was updated after publication to provide additional context and statements from Yuga Labs.
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