Bored Apes Yacht Club maker Yuga Labs announced on Friday that it has acquired the rights to the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT collections from creator Larva Labs.
Bored Apes and CryptoPunks are the two most valuable NFT collections by market capitalization and hold a combined value of at least $3.6 billion at current prices. Yuga Labs has been rumored to be in fundraising talks for the past few months, but hasn’t made any official announcements.
Terms of the agreement were not announced.
CryptoPunks and Meebits NFTs are owned by members of the community, but the intellectual property rights to the characters have long (and controversially) belonged to the creators of the projects. With this announcement, Yuga Labs signaled that it would license full commercial rights to NFTs to individual holders; they notably won’t transfer the full copyright, but it’s a step beyond what Larva Labs has ever done and what the owners have wanted for a long time.
“We have long admired CryptoPunks and the work of the project founders, Matt & John. They have moved NFTs and the wider crypto world forward, and we are honored to carry the brands they have built into the future we are building at Yuga,” a Tweeter from the Yuga Labs Twitter account reads.
The CryptoPunks project was launched in 2017 with 10,000 NFTs claimed by users for free; it is generally considered to be one of the earliest and most influential NFT projects. In late 2020, prices for pixelated portraits began to climb, with the rarest selling for millions of dollars and the cheapest currently selling for nearly $200,000. In May 2021, the founders of Larva Labs released a follow-up project called Meebits, taking in tens of millions of dollars in primary sales within hours of launch.
The Larva Labs founders almost entirely divested from the project at this point, with Yuga Labs detailing in a blog post that they had also acquired 423 CryptoPunks and 1,711 Meebits from the company, leaving the founders with just a few of each. in addition to their generative art project Autoglyphs which was not part of the deal.
Yuga Labs has taken a more aggressive route to actively grow the Bored Apes project community, revealing a partnership.
“It’s not a Larva Labs acquisition though… As far as the sequel goes for us, we never talk about it until it’s ready, but in general we’re happy to get back to it. what we do best, which is work on weird stuff.” novelties”, a blog post of the founders of Larva Labs reads.