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The Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT set adds CryptoPunks in a US$5 billion merger, will transfer the IP rights to owners

BAYC and CryptoPunks form a mega NFT merger (image: OpenSea/Edited)
BAYC and CryptoPunks form a mega NFT merger (image: OpenSea/Edited)
Yuga Labs, the company behind the popular Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT series has acquired the distribution rights to the no less popular CryptoPunks and Meebits series for undisclosed amount. The first thing that Yuga announced together with the acquisition is that it will be transferring the IP rights to CryptoPunks NFT buyers, something that its creators from Larva Labs had refused to do.

As if the Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks NFT series needed any more publicity and demand creation, the two legendary NFT collections have now merged. Yuga Labs, the parent company of the celebrity-infested BAYC NFT ownership, have acquired the rights to distribute the no less popular CryptoPunks and Meebits collections from Larva Labs. This creates an NFT behemoth controlling the jaw-dropping US$5 billion in digital art market capitalization and may be the harbinger of a consolidation spree to sweep the NFT industry. The CryptoPunks set was released as a limited series way back in 2017 that some say singlehandedly led to the creation of the ERC-721 standard for exchange of non-fungible tokens and digital collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain.

The Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT series is a more recent phenomenon, but managed to gain prominence due to a number of celebrity endorsements and investments like Justin Bieber spending nearly US$1.8 million on two Bored Ape NFTs in a week or so. Shaquille O'Neal, Post Malone, Snoop Dogg, Mark Cuban, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eminem, or Paris Hilton are just a few others that have joined the BAYC club and helped raise the NFT market profile to stratospheric heights. Recently, the two creators behind the BAYC set - Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow - had their mysterious identities revealed from hiding behind the Gargamel and Gordon Goner digital personas.

They are the founders of Yuga Labs which now owns the most valuable NFT property and intends to become become the center of gravity for all things digital art, according to the official statement:

We’re working with our legal teams to draft the new terms and conditions for both collections, and expect to share these with the community soon. By handing over these rights, we’re further aligning CryptoPunks and Meebits with the web3 ethos, and we expect a wide range of third-party developers and community creators to incorporate CryptoPunks and Meebits into their web3 projects... For us, NFTs have always been about culture. Our vision has always been to build a community-owned brand that extends far beyond NFTs, and now we get to bring CryptoPunks and Meebits along for the ride.

According to Larva Labs' founders Matt Hall and John Watkinson, Yuga Labs will be the "the ideal stewards of the CrytoPunks and Meebits." "In their hands, we are confident that they will continue to be vital, thriving projects in the emerging decentralized web," they continue, while at the same time announcing that they won't be personally transferring to the new entity, but will rather continue to work on separate projects.

As if to soothe the surprise that CryptoPunk NFT owners may have felt upon the merger, the first thing that Yuga Labs did when it announced the Larva Labs sets acquisition was to confirm that they will transfer the IP rights of individual NFTs to their buyers. That's what Yuga Labs does with its BAYC collection, but something that Larva was reluctant to grant to CryptoPunks' owners despite that this has been a pet peeve of theirs for a while now. Mum's the word on the price of the acquisition, while the new mega non-fungible token entity could become a prime target for the NFT and digital art market regulation clouds that are gathering on the horizon.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 03 > The Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT set adds CryptoPunks in a US$5 billion merger, will transfer the IP rights to owners
Daniel Zlatev, 2022-03-15 (Update: 2022-03-15)