NFTs for digital set of ape cartoons sell for $24.4MILLION as virtual market balloons to $3.4billion

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A set of 107 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) representing images of cartoon apes sold for $24.4 million in an online sale at Sotheby’s auction house on Thursday, as the market for the niche crypto asset continues to heat up.

The images were part of the ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ collection of NFTs – a set of 10,000 computer-generated cartoon apes, made by the U.S.-based company Yuga Labs. Owners of the ape NFTs become members of an online club.

An NFT, also pronounced ‘nifties’, is a digital asset that uses blockchain technology to record who owns a digital object such as an image, video or in-game item. While anyone can view the asset in question, only the buyer can say they are the ‘official’ owner.

The tokens are similar to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in that they live on blockchain networks – a decentralized, distributed ledger that records transactions of digital assets. 

The frenzy for NFTs shows no signs of slowing. Sales volume on the largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, hit $3.4 billion in August, up tenfold from July. Some speculators ‘flip’ their NFTs for eye-watering profits within days or even hours. 

PICTURED: One image that's part of the set of 'Bored Ape Yacht Club' collection was sold for $24million when it's estimated was ranging between $12-18million

PICTURED: One image that’s part of the set of ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ collection was sold for $24million when it’s estimated was ranging between $12-18million

Another picture of the Yuga Labs' 'Bored Yacht Club' collection was sold for $24millionn this month

The Yuga Labs' 'Bored Yacht Club' collection was sold for $24millionn this month

A set of 107 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) representing images of cartoon apes sold for $24.4 million in an online sale at Sotheby’s auction house on Thursday

But unlike traditional cryptocurrencies, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning that one cannot be exchanged for another. The digital assets have collectors value, and can represent items including still images, GIFs, videos, music and more.    

Unusually for NFTs, the buyers of Bored Apes also receive the intellectual property rights for the images. They are often used as profile pictures on social media.

The lot contained 107 of these anthropomorphic apes, with different combinations of features such as clothing, accessories and facial expressions, plus the option to generate six new ‘mutant’ ones.

The lot contained 101 of the anthropomorphic apes

Each ape has different combinations of features such as clothing, accessories and facial expressions

The lot contained 101 of the anthropomorphic apes, with different combinations of features such as clothing, accessories and facial expressions

The sale also included a lot of 101 ‘Bored Ape Kennel Club’ NFTs – a set of dogs, marketed as pets for the apes. This fetched $1,835,000 and the set of apes fetched $24,393,000, bringing the total for the sale to $26,228,000.

Sotheby’s allowed payments in the cryptocurrencies bitcoin, ether and USDC, and fiat currency. 

The average weekly secondary market price for a Bored Ape has surged from around $1,500 when they were launched in April to $71,942 last week, according to NonFungible.com, a website that tracks the NFT market.

On Monday, a single Bored Ape sold for 740 ether (around $2.9 million).

Sothebys auctioned NFTs for Bored Ape Yacht Club and Bored ape Kennel Club (pictured) by Yuba Labs

Sothebys auctioned NFTs for Bored Ape Yacht Club and Bored ape Kennel Club (pictured) by Yuba Labs

Sotheby's auction for NFTs Bored ape Kennel Club (pictured) sold for nearly $2million compared to the $24million worth of the 'Bored Ape Yacht Club' collection

Sotheby’s auction for NFTs Bored ape Kennel Club (pictured) sold for nearly $2million compared to the $24million worth of the ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ collection

Michael Bouhanna, contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s, said that although there is financial speculation on NFTs, he sees the Bored Apes as works of art. He said the NFT market is not a bubble.

‘People were talking about a bubble in March, in June, etc., and then we see that the market is even stronger today so I think they’ve been proven wrong… I think it’s a very organic market with great collectors who have great appreciation of art,’ he said.

NFT sales surged in August, according to the largest platform for the burgeoning digital asset class, as speculators bet growing interest across the art, sport and media worlds will keep prices rising. 

The niche crypto asset exploded in popularity in early 2021, leaving many confused as to why so much money was being spent on items which do not physically exist.

The frenzy has now reached new highs. Sales volumes recorded on the largest NFT trading platform, OpenSea, hit $3.4billion last month, compared to March’s $148 million. In January 2021, the monthly volume recorded on the platform was just over $8 million.

On average, more than $10 million in NFT transactions are now taking place daily, according to the website DappRadar.   

The set of ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ cartoons is just the latest popular web character to sell for thousands, if not millions.

Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, became the most beloved cat in the world and has been featured in all types of work. Even though the real cat died in 2019, the NFT of her notorious meme has sold for $100,859.54.

Chris Crocker’s infamous ‘Leave Britney Alone’ video dominated when it first hit the scene in 2007, getting parodied in movies and on television. With the #FreeBritney movement in full swing, Crocker has sold the video as a NFT for more than $43,000.     

Chris Torres, creator of Nyan Cat, sold his iconic meme for roughly $590,000 and finally gained attribution for the artwork

Chris Torres, creator of Nyan Cat, sold his iconic meme for roughly $590,000 and finally gained attribution for the artwork

Overly Attached Girlfriend, spawned from a YouTube video of Laina Morris satirically showing her love for Justin Bieber, has sold for $459,260

Overly Attached Girlfriend, spawned from a YouTube video of Laina Morris satirically showing her love for Justin Bieber, has sold for $459,260

Chris Crocker has sold his infamous Leave Britney Alone video as a NFT for more than $43,000

Chris Crocker has sold his infamous Leave Britney Alone video as a NFT for more than $43,000

Chris Torres, creator of Nyan Cat, sold his iconic meme for roughly $590,000 earlier this year and finally gained attribution for the artwork – which he said was a huge factor in why he first sought out NFTs. 

Bad Luck Brian, the meme of Kyle Craven’s hilariously bad yearbook photo, sold for more than $45,000. 

Success Kid, the photo of photographer Laney Griner’s at the time 11-month-old son Sam, has sold as a NFT for approximately $35,000. Sam is almost 15. 

Overly Attached Girlfriend, spawned from a YouTube video of Laina Morris satirically showing her love for Justin Bieber, has sold for $459,260.  

And in March, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey’s first tweet – ‘just setting up my twttr’ – sold to Sina Estavi, the CEO of Malaysia-based blockchain company Bridge Oracle as an NFT for just over $2.9million.

NFTs are revolutionizing the art and entertainment worlds but what exactly are these non-fungible tokens that took over crypto

What is a NFT?

A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature and which verifies its ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the piece.

What do they look like?

Most NFTs include some kind digital artwork, such as photos, videos, GIFs, and music. Theoretically, anything digital could be turned into a NFT.  

Where do you buy them?

At the moment, NFTs are most commonly sold in so-called ‘drops’, timed online sales by blockchain-backed marketplaces like Nifty Gateway, Opensea and Rarible.

Why would I want to own one? 

There’s an array of reasons why someone may want to buy a NFT. For some, the reason may be emotional value, because NFTs are seen as collectors items. For others, they are seen as an investment opportunity similar to cryptocurrencies, because the value could increase.  

When were NFTs created? 

Writer and podcaster Andrew Steinwold traced the origins of NFTs back to 2012, with the creation of the Colored Coins cryptocurrency. But NFTs didn’t move into the mainstream until five years later, when the blockchain game CryptoKitties began selling virtual cats in 2017.

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