Yuga Labs has acquired the intellectual property of CryptoPunks, a nonfungible token pioneer, and Meebits from Larva Labs, the firm behind the immensely popular Bored Ape Yacht Club nonfungible token collection.
The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. According to the deal, Yuga presently owns the brands, copyright in the art, and other IP rights for both collections, as well as 423 CryptoPunks and 1,711 Meebits NFTs. The transaction illustrates that the NFT craze, which employs blockchain technology to validate digital item ownership, is still alive and thriving.
On Friday, Yuga Labs announced the purchase, stating that it “came about in a very organic way from conversations between our partner Guy Oseary and the Larva Labs founders.” Oseary, a music industry vet and internet investor whose management clients include Madonna, U2, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, has signed Bored Ape Yacht Club and its Yuga Labs for representation.
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Yuga Labs asserts that now that it owns the CryptoPunks and Meebits intellectual property, it will provide owners of the CryptoPunks and Meebits the same commercial rights as owners of the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club. “We’re working with our legal teams to update the terms and conditions for both collections,” the company noted.
The 2017 release of CryptoPunks was a significant motivator of the NFT mania that started in early 2021. The CryptoPunks character NFTs (seen above) are 8-bit-style pixel art “misfits and eccentrics” who are algorithmically manufactured and one-of-a-kind.
Fans and speculators have swapped $2.2 billion worth of CryptoPunks NFTs, followed by more than $1 billion worth of 10,000 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, according to OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace. Meebits NFTs have traded for around $227 million, according to OpenSea.
Larva Labs cofounders Matt Hall and John Watkinson declared in a joint statement, “They are 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.”
Hall and Watkinson will not be joining Yuga Labs but will continue to operate Larva Labs and “will keep doing what they do best: creating awesome projects that help shape the future of web3,” according to Yuga.
Yuga has said that it would not “shoehorn” the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT collections into the club model it has developed for Bored Ape Yacht Club, in which it will earn a portion of secondary NFT sales.“We view BAYC as the center of the universe we are building at Yuga and CryptoPunks as a historic collection. While we will work to bring additional utility to both the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections, we intend to do so as thoughtful stewards. We’re not in a rush here. We’ll be listening to the community before we decide what comes next.”
“For us, NFTs have always been about culture,” Yuga continued. “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.”
Meanwhile, Yuga Labs has been in talks with VC firm Andreessen Horowitz about a funding package that could value the NFT operator at up to $5 billion, according to the Financial Times.