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What Are Bored Ape NFTs and Why Are They So Popular?

I‘m glad you asked! Let me start by explaining exactly what these "Bored Ape" NFTs are all about and why they‘ve taken the world by storm.

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a collection of 10,000 unique digital collectibles called non-fungible tokens or NFTs for short. Each NFT consists of a unique image of a cartoon ape with various quirky attributes like clothing, expressions and accessories.

They were created by a company called Yuga Labs and sold for around $200 each in April 2021. Now the average Bored Ape sells for over $300,000! Clearly they‘ve skyrocketed in popularity. But why? Let‘s dive deeper…

What Exactly Are BAYC NFTs?

Let‘s start with what NFTs are. NFT stands for non-fungible token. Unlike a dollar bill which can be swapped for any other dollar, each NFT is totally unique and not interchangeable.

NFTs use blockchain technology to create unalterable digital ownership records. Each Bored Ape NFT acts like a "deed of ownership" to a one-of-a-kind digital artwork.

Here are the key traits that make each Bored Ape verifiably rare and unique:

  • Over 170 possible attributes like fur, clothes, expression, hats and more
  • Computer-generated from over 100,000 potential combinations
  • No two apes are exactly alike – all 10,000 are fully individualized
  • Ownership is publicly tracked on the blockchain
  • Metadata logged permanently authenticates each as legitimate

So in a nutshell, Bored Ape NFTs are tokenized digital artworks showing stylized apes with fun combinations of eccentric features. Their uniqueness and traceable ownership is validated using NFT and blockchain technology.

Bored Apes Sales Statistics and Growth

Let‘s look at some stats that show the rapid growth of the Bored Ape NFT collection:

  • April 2021: BAYC launched, all 10,000 NFTs sold out within 12 hours for ~0.08 ETH ($200) each

  • Total original sales: $2 million

  • Current floor price (cheapest available): 85 ETH ($210,000)

  • Total current valuation: Over $2 billion

  • Highest sale ever: Bored Ape #3582 sold for $3.4 million in October 2022

As you can see, the average ape is now worth over 1000X compared to its initial sale price just over a year ago!

The staggering growth is even more apparent when looking at monthly sale volumes:

Month Total BAYC Sales
April 2021 $2 million
August 2021 $10 million
December 2021 $246 million
January 2022 $638 million

Trading volume went from $2 million initially to over $638 million in the span of 9 months.

Celebrity owners like Steph Curry, Snoop Dogg and Eminem have further catalyzed demand. With over 20 billionaires owning apes, it‘s clear Bored Apes are coveted status symbols.

Why Are Bored Apes So Popular and Valuable?

So what exactly is driving the explosive popularity behind Bored Apes? There are a few key factors:

NFTs Allow Digital Ownership of Art

NFTs enable digital scarcity and ownership of unique artworks and items. Before NFTs, digital files could be freely copied and shared endlessly.

Bored Apes tapped into a new paradigm where digitally native collectors can verifiably own rare cryptoart. It satisfies our human desire to collect and show off prestigious items.

Flexing Rarity as an Online Status Symbol

Just like a rare watch or outfit, Bored Apes serve as online credibility symbols. Owning one signals you‘re part of an exclusive digital club.

Their cartoonish style makes them more approachable status symbols than highbrow fine art. Rarity stats make some apes more valuable "flexes" than others.

Speculative Asset with Potential High Returns

Like any speculative asset, there is the potential for high returns if demand and prices increase over time.

Many buyers are wagering Bored Apes will maintain cultural relevance and scarcity, causing valuations to continue rising exponentially just like the last year.

Viral Hype and FOMO Drive Demand

The media hype around 6-figure apes triggers FOMO and goes viral on social media. Seeing celebrities snap up apes kicks the hype into overdrive.

The high prices themselves then help perpetuate the mania in a self-fulfilling cycle as more people fear missing out.

Shared Community and Belonging

Joining the Bored Ape "club" offers a sense of shared identity and community, which satisfies our human need for belonging.

Yuga Labs has fostered a collaborative community ethos centered around the apes both online and in real life events.

Flexible Commercial Usage Rights

Owning the NFT grants commercial usage rights. This lets holders potentially generate value through merchandise, content creation, and other opportunities.

Yuga Labs also promises future utility like games, media content, events, and virtual land benefits for holders.

As you can see, the appeal of Bored Apes stems from a combination of social engineering, internet culture, human psychology and an innovative use of emergent technology.

Examples of Bored Apes in Pop Culture

Bored Apes have become deeply embedded in mainstream culture. Here are a few examples:

  • Jimmy Fallon wore a Bored Ape t-shirt and featured apes in 2 episodes of his Tonight Show

  • Adidas launched a new line of NFT and physical shoes called Into the Metaverse with Bored Ape motifs

  • Rolling Stone magazine sold special collector‘s issues with Bored Ape covers

  • Madonna & Paris Hilton made their apes their social media pics

  • Steph Curry wore an ape-themed hoodie to a post-game NBA press conference

  • Arcade Fire wore full ape masks during a performance at Coachella music festival

  • Flavor Flav wore a hypebeast-style giant Ape necklace pendant

Clearly the Bored Ape imagery and branding carries cultural cachet. Celebrities and brands want to associate themselves with the buzzy phenom.

As the Apes infiltrate pop culture, their recognition and value appreciates. It‘s turned into a self-reinforcing cycle.

The Appeal of NFTs as Digital Assets

Bored Apes demonstrate why NFTs have become so popular as the next evolution of digital assets and culture. Let‘s explore why people are so drawn to NFTs:

Self-Expression and Individuality

In the real world, we express identity through clothing, accessories, art. NFTs enable the same self-expression digitally.

Just like an edgy tattoo or dyeing your hair green, choosing a weird, rare avatar expresses individuality online.

Digital Ownership

Previously digitally content could be endlessly duplicated. NFTs allow verifiable ownership of unique online goods – from avatars to artwork.

For digital natives, online self-expression and ownership is inherently valuable, even without physical possession.

Investing in Digital Culture

Speculating on NFTs allows betting on the growth of niche online cultures and communities.

It taps into rapidly evolving digital lifestyles and what will accrue value in virtual worlds.

Online Credibility and Belonging

Cool NFTs like Bored Apes signal online credibility, just like designer brands do IRL.

Joining exclusive NFT communities offers a sense of belonging and shared identity.

Democratization of Fine Art

NFT adoption makes fine art collecting more democratic by eliminating gatekeepers.

Anyone globally can own instantly recognizable works like Bored Apes rather than only the ultra-wealthy.

As these examples show, NFTs tap directly into accelerating digital lifestyles and cultures. They offer new ways to build online reputation, express identity, find community and participate in emerging economic and creative scenes.

Are Bored Apes a Lasting Sensation or a Fleeting Fad?

As quickly as Bored Apes entered the zeitgeist, could their popularity disappear? They could go the way of faddish collectibles like Beanie Babies and Tamagotchi pets.

Some factors that point to their long-term relevance:

  • The Bored Ape founders are executing well on their roadmap to build out a whole Bored Ape Experience metaverse. This will create utility and value beyond just the JPEGs.

  • NFTs represent a broader shift in how we think about digital ownership, assets, and online economies. Bored Apes spearheaded this paradigm change.

  • BAYC spawned an entire ecosystem of derivative NFT projects proving its cultural resonance.

  • Celebrities and the media continue to fan the flames of the hype cycle keeping demand high.

Yet some red flags remain that could dethrone the Apes:

  • Speculation and hype have inflated prices far beyond any intrinsic utility currently. If sentiment sours, the bottom could fall out.

  • Barriers to entry for generative avatar projects are low, spawning tons of competitors vying for attention.

  • Cryptocurrency volatility could adversely impact valuations denominated in Ether.

Ultimately the outlook depends on whether the Bored Ape team can turn the core images into a lasting brand beyond the initial mania. For now, they remain the alpha chimps atop the NFT kingdom they helped create. But the spotlight often shifts rapidly to crown newest sensations while yesterday‘s darlings fade away.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up simply, Bored Ape NFTs are unique digital collectibles showing stylized cartoon apes. They blew up in popularity as hype, speculation and celebrity interest drove prices sky-high, making them sought after online status symbols.

But whether their reign atop the NFT world will be lasting or fleeting remains to be seen. They epitomize both the promise and precariousness of these new digital asset frontiers.

I hope this gives you a comprehensive overview of what exactly the Bored Ape phenomenon is, why it became so popular, and what it potentially means for the future of culture both online and off. Let me know if you have any other questions!