7 min read

October 01, 2021

The Bored Ape Phenomenon and the Rise of Crypto Apes

Understanding one of the most niche crypto topics and trending crypto phenomenons.

If you’re new to the world of cryptocurrency, chances are that learning about different coins, their pros and cons, crypto tax, and crypto charts is already a full-time job. But, to truly understand the world of cryptocurrency, learning crypto slang is also critical — and one of the most commonly used slang terms in the crypto world is “ape.” 

So, what does it mean to “ape” exactly? Essentially, it means to buy a new coin. So, if you come across a conversation on Twitter with someone asking “What coin are you aping into?” it quite simply means the same as asking “What coin are you buying?”

More recently, though, the cryptocurrency world has been “aping into” an actual ape: the Bored Ape!

What is a “Bored Ape”?

In order to fully comprehend what a Bored Ape is, you’ll first need to understand what a NFT is. 

NFT stands for ‘non-fungible token’, and can be a photo, video, audio, or other digital file. Each NFT is a unit of data on the blockchain, which certifies that it is unique and not interchangeable, giving it its value. As a result, NFTs can be bought and sold for investment. 

So, while NFTs allow for digital ownership, just like cryptocurrencies, they are also volatile. This is because NFTs can only be purchased using cryptocurrency — the specific cryptocurrency depends on the platform the NFT is being sold on — and given how volatile cryptocurrencies can be, NFTs can also be a risky investment if you hope to be able to sell your digital good in the future.

At the end of April, a website called the Bored Ape Yacht Club launched ten thousand unique images of cartoon apes, which could be bought as NFTs for ~$200 in Ethereum (0.068 ETH at the time of release). Within one day after the launch, all the NFTs were bought and their price continued to rise due to high demand with a Bored Ape NFT now costing as much as 740 ETH.

The Bored Ape has now become a digital identity for those who own one of these NFTs. It gives them access to a unique club where they can trade these JPEGs, as well as becoming a part of a community on Twitter and other platforms where their Bored Ape is now their avatar.

The Surge of Crypto Apes

The Bored Ape NFTs have now generated more than $750mn worth of trading volume, including variant sets, or images that have been inspired by the original set yet are unique. But why have these Bored Apes caused such a stir, especially on Twitter? 

Well, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is an exclusive society and owning a Bored Ape NFT unlocks your membership. Members have access to a unique Discord server where owners, including many top celebrities (like Stephen Curry and the band Chainsmokers) hang out and chat. Additionally, members have access to a digital graffiti wall called The Bathroom. The Bathroom contains a canvas where members can draw or scrawl, like at any dive bar bathroom, and each ape-holder can paint a pixel on the bathroom wall every fifteen minutes. Essentially, this is a collaborative art experiment in the crypto sphere. 

Why are perks like The Bathroom so enticing? Well, because of how rare they are. Moreover, other NFT art spaces exist, for instance on Instagram where artists can post their take on a unique Bored Ape, but collaborative ones do not. 

More importantly, however, owning a Bored Ape NFT earns you access to additional NFT collectibles, which can then be re-sold. For instance, a set of 10,000 virtual Mutant Ape serum vials were released to members, for free. These virtual vials generate a Mutant Ape NFT, when injected into a Bored Ape. Another set of 10,000 virtual Mutant Ape serums were released to the public for $10K a piece, or about 3 ETH. Another example of these exclusive NFTs offered to members is the Bored Ape Kennel Club, or a set of 10,000 unique dog images. 

Crypto Ape

So, paying for a Bored Ape NFT is like paying a one-time membership fee to an exclusive society where you have perks, a social scene, and new NFTs available to you. In order to join the club, you’ll need to purchase a Bored Ape with enough Ethereum to cover the cost of the NFT, as well as the Ethereum gas fee. It’s tough to say how the future will unfold for the Apes, but the perks are likely to only continue. 

And, how does all this relate to the slang term “aping”? Well, because people have been “aping in” to the Bored Ape Yacht Club! While this time, the cryptocurrency buyers are aping into is quite literally an image of an ape, it will be completely different next time. 

But, now you have a better idea of what it means to ape in the cryptocurrency world, and what kind of perks may be available if you join a NFT club like the Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Right now, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is the second most popular NFT picture collection, behind the CryptoPunks, but it could very well become the most popular. Until, of course, the next surge!


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Keertana Anandraj
Keertana Anandraj is a recent college grad living in San Francisco. When she isn’t conducting international macroeconomic research at her day job, you can find her in the spin room or planning her next adventure.

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