The space for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has been able to operate and thrive so much thanks to the growing popularity of these tokens themselves. Celebrities have been able to adopt NFTs significantly, and everyday people are also making money from them.
However, there has only been so much in terms of updates on the business front. Following the influx of funding into the NFT space, we appear to have gotten our first form of consolidation.
Big Moves Made Silently
This month, Yuga Labs - the company behind the wildly popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection - announced that it had acquired Meebitsand CryptoPunks from Larva Labs. The deal went through without much fanfare, and no one knows how much money the Bored Ape creators spent to complete the acquisition.
Regardless of its silent nature, there is no doubt to the fact that this is a big deal. Bored Ape Yacht Club is perhaps the most popular NFT collection right now, with each piece selling for six figures at the very least. CryptoPunks is one of the oldest and most popular collections globally, and its rise helped full the NFT craze that has now swept across the world.
At the same time, Meebits has risen quickly among the ranks of the most popular NFT collections despite launching in May 2021. So, in one transaction, Yuga Labs has now established control over three of the biggest NFT collections in the market.
According to data from OpenSea, the Boed Ape Yacht Club is the top-ranked NFT collection with over $1 billion in units sold. CryptoPunks ranks #4 in popularity, while Meebits is ranked as #10.
Yuga Labs has explained that they are looking to build a community of builders creating around its projects. The company has confirmed that they plan to grant commercialization rights and intellectual property to Meebits and CryptoPunks owners. This will allow these owners to create work in a way that Bored Ape owners also do.
The deal will also see Yuga Labs acquire over 400 CryptoPunks NFTs and 1,7000 Meebits from Larva Labs. Both companies have declined to share financial details of the deal, although Larva Labs has confirmed that it will continue to operate independently going forward.
Yuga Labs Finding Its Footing
Of course, the fact that Yuga Labs is becoming a juggernaut in the NFT space isn’t surprising. The company has been working to improve the popularity of its NFTs, and the acquisition of these new collections is only going to strengthen its position.
Interestingly, Yuga Labs itself is looking to raise money and grow. In February, sources at The Financial Times reported that the company was looking for funding as its creators were looking to sell a piece of it. The report pointed out that top Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is already in talks with Yuga Labs, with a possible funding round that could value Yuga Labs at $5 billion.
Yuga Labs has also been growing, rising from a team of just 11 members to almost 50 employees. The company has yet to comment on any fundraising plans, and neither has Andreessen Horowitz.
The venture capital firm itself has been looking to increase its exposure to crypto and NFT firms. It has participated in the funding rounds for companies like OpenSea, Autograph, and Cryptokitties. The Financial Times also reported back in January that Andreessen is looking to raise up to $4.5 billion in a new investment fund that will focus on digital assets and other related concepts and technologies.
A Lot To Look Forward To
With the CryptoPunks and Meebit acquisition in the bag, Yuga Labs has now moved on to bigger things. The company launched ApeCoin - a digital asset for community members and Bored Ape holders, and it has also teased its entry into the metaverse.
In a teaser video, Yuga Labs shared a clip showing a Bored Ape fishing in a pond of water. The ape eventually finds a bottle, drinks its content, and is abducted by a flying visitor. The video even references several other NFT collections - including Meebits and CryptoPunks.
It looks like an interesting time to follow the Bored Ape movement and Yuga Labs. The company has positioned itself as a giant in the NFT space, and it should lead developments in this sub-industry going forward.