Yuga Labs is by far one of the most popular names on the NFT market and for a good reason. Looking at the top ten NFT collections by trading volume, five belong to Yuga Labs – including BAYC and CryptoPunks. Their other ventures, such as the Otherside metaverse, are growing by the minute too.
These numbers alone prove the brand’s huge impact on the NFT market. Over the past two years, though, Yuga Labs ventured into other areas of the Web3 space too – and that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this guide.
From their top-selling NFT collections, BAYC and CryptoPunks, to the Otherside metaverse and beyond, you’ll learn all about the company’s most innovative projects. You’ll also meet the Yuga Labs CEO, the founding team, and what they’re doing right now.
If you’ve been wondering what is Yuga Labs, it’s time to unveil the mystery and discover the story of the most successful Web3 company to date.
What Is Yuga Labs?
Yuga Labs is a leading organization in the Web3 world. How much is Yuga Labs worth? Well, at the time of writing, the giant company is worth over $4 billion. Founded in February 2021 in Delaware, U.S., the company now boasts over 100 employees headquartered in Miami.
CryptoPunks, Meebits, Otherside, and their Bored Ape derivates Mutant Ape Yacht Club and the Bored Ape Kennel Club are just some of their most successful NFT projects. All of the NFTs owned by Yuga Labs live on the Ethereum blockchain.
In fact, it would be impossible to tell what is Yuga Labs without looking into their top NFT projects – so let’s gain insight.
BAYC, Icons of the NFT Space
The real journey of Yuga Labs began on April 23, 2021, when they launched one of the best-selling NFT projects of all time: Bored Ape Yacht Club. This collection of 10,000 digital avatars sold for a shocking price of 0.08 ETH ($250 at the time).
Despite their humble beginning, BAYC NFTs now have a floor price of 47.2 ETH. The project skyrocketed to popularity shortly after launch, creating huge potential for Yuga Labs – and they surely saw it too.
Only two months after dropping BAYC, the company launched Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC). These NFTs called ‘Club Dogs’ are in fact the Bored Apes’ companions – one for each Ape in the debut collection. At the time of writing, these virtual pets have a 4.3438 ETH floor price.
If that seems interesting, then the 20,000 Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT collection is even more outstanding. On August 28th, 2021, Yuga Labs airdropped a Mutant Serum NFT to Bored Ape holders. Each holder could use this serum to generate Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs just by paying gas fees. In addition, the Dutch auction offering 10,000 MAYC NFTs sold out in one-hour amassing $90 million. There are 20K MAYC collectibles in total, with a floor price of 10.13 ETH.
Thanks to the BAKC and MAYC drops, Yuga Labs became one of the first Web3 companies to airdrop NFTs of entirely different collections to current holders. Two years after its launch, Bored Ape Yacht Club still leads the charts along with the next NFT project on our list…
Launched in 2017, CryptoPunks is among the most iconic NFT projects ever – so when Yuga Labs purchased it from Larva Labs it was huge news. The company announced its acquisition in March 2022, which included the brand, IP rights, and artwork copyrights.
Surprising as it may have been, this decision benefitted CryptoPunks holders. For instance, Yuga Labs offered full commercial rights to Punk holders – something the community had longed for while Larva Labs owned the project.
At the time of writing, CryptoPunks has a 49.48 ETH floor price. It’s considerably higher than the other project Yuga Labs bought from Larva Labs:
In May 2021, Larva Labs launched Meebits – a collection of 20K 3D voxel avatars. In terms of design, you can think of this project as a modern remake of CryptoPunks (which is a reason for the NFT community’s excitement about it).
One year later, in March 2022, Yuga Labs purchased the project along with CryptoPunks. Although the companies didn’t share any details about their deal, we can only assume millions of dollars were involved. Right now, Meebits alone boasts over 169,643 ETH in total trading volume, with a 2.1 ETH floor price.
All in all, Yuga Labs’ projects speak for the company’s power in the NFT space and its founders’ vision – so let’s meet them all!
Who Created Yuga Labs?
Yuga Labs was created in 2021 by Greg Solano (aka Gargamel) and Wylie Aronow (aka Gordon Goner). The company soon took shape and ultimately consisted of four co-founders. Their identities were kept secret for a long time, so they were only known by their nicknames:
- Gargamel – Greg Solano
- Gordon Goner – Wylie Aronow
- No Sass – Zeshan Ali
- Emperor Tomato Ketchup – Kerem Atalay
By 2022, the Web3 world couldn’t wait to discover who its creators are – and their reveal was definitely one for the books! In February last year, Buzzfeed doxxed the founders Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano in an article. Accordingly, the reveal happened against their will.
Either way, that’s how the NFT community discovered that both men are in their 30s and live in Florida. Greg Solano, for instance, works as a writer and editor.
Since then, the two co-founders claimed their real identities on social media too. Wylie Aronow even shared his struggle to stay physically healthy due to overworking. Earlier this year, he recognized the signs of burnout and decided to step down from the company. However, he did say he would remain a part of the team and supported his new team member and CEO, Daniel Alegre.
Who Is the Yuga Labs CEO?
If you’re wondering who owns Yuga Labs right now, Daniel Alegre was first confirmed as Yuga Labs’ new CEO in December 2022, but it was only in April 2023 that he took over the company. Many would say that his arrival was perfect: Wylie Aronow had left the team, the Otherside metaverse’s 2nd chapter had just ended (more on that below), and their lawsuit against Ryder Ripps was still ongoing.
Alegre took all that in (and more) successfully and for a good reason. Prior to joining Yuga Labs, he spent three years at Activision Blizzard as their COO. He was also Google’s President of Global Retail, with a 16-year experience at the company.
This information speaks for itself. Daniel Alegre is a veteran in the gaming industry too, which will leave a mark on Yuga Labs’ projects in a great way. Most importantly, he shows his admiration for each project by collecting NFTs from the team’s own collections.
The current CEO took the helm from Nicole Muniz, who was Yuga Labs’ CEO between 2021-2023. She was one of the top names in the ‘Fortune 40 Under 40’ list in 2022 and remained part of the team as a strategic advisor.
Exploring the Yuga Labs Ecosystem
By now, you know that Yuga Labs owns some of the top NFT collections on the market. However, this company has spread its empire to other areas of the Web3 space, too: metaverses, coins, and even bitcoin ordinals are just a few examples.
Projects such as Otherside, ApeCoin, or Twelvefold proved Yuga Labs’ power of innovation beyond PFP collectibles. With that said, let’s continue our journey with one of the top metaverse gaming projects:
The Otherside Metaverse
Simply put, Otherside is a large expansion of the BAYC ecosystem to the Web3 space. Launched in July 2022, the metaverse is, in fact, an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) that supports more than 10,000 users at the same time. As a player, you can buy land, explore the metaverse with characters, and evolve within the ecosystem. What’s more, players can also travel to other metaverses thanks to the project’s partners: Cool Cats, World of Women, and CrypToadz.
This journey began with Otherdeeds: NFTs linked to the lands owned by players. Besides their main utility, these lands also come with in-game characters called Kodas. According to the storyline, these creatures carry the cosmic energy that keeps the Otherside metaverse running.
The game’s first trip was widely successful among players, convincing founders to take it to the next level. Therefore, back in March, Yuga Labs began Otherside’s Second Trip, which amassed over 7,000 players at launch. This immersive experience divided voyagers into teams and revealed new metaverse lands and games – all under BAYC mascot Curtis’s supervision.
Accordingly, Otherside has yet to evolve and create new opportunities for users. In fact, we can say the same for the next project on our list:
Twelvefold Bitcoin Ordinals
Back in February 2023, Yuga Labs revealed its latest non-NFT project, this time involving Bitcoin. The launch, called Twelvefold, consisted of just 300 generative art pieces. Each piece was inscribed onto satoshis (the units Bitcoins are made of). Notably, the Yuga Labs team had carefully crafted each digital piece using 3D tech, hand-illustrated traits, and generative art in a 12×12 grid form.
Innovative as it may seem, Twelvefold caused controversy as soon as it launched. To begin with, bidders had to send their bid funds directly to Yuga Labs – a heavily criticized move since the company could manipulate the bidding process. Even so, the collection sold out with a floor price of $50K.
These promising numbers couldn’t prevent the backlash that followed after the artwork reveal. Part of the NFT community found it oddly similar to Jack Butcher’s NFT project ‘Checks,’ while others claimed the entire project is a rug pull. Considering that Yuga Labs didn’t promise any road map or future utility, this can’t be the case.
Still, the concept of the project is so different from the company’s top projects that collectors still keep an eye out for it.
APECoin, or APE, is the governance and utility token for the entire APE ecosystem. As its name suggests, the web3 coin arrived after BAYC’s roaring success in March 2022. The first to receive APEcoins were BAYC and MAYC NFT holders and for a good reason.
Much like other ERC-20 tokens, APE offers access to the ApeCoin DAO. Holders can gain access to VIP events, exclusive merch, games, and trading within the APE ecosystem.
Here’s an example: remember Otherside’s Otherdeeds mentioned earlier? Only APEcoin holders could buy those web3 land plots – and because Yuga Labs had airdropped plenty of APE to MAYC and BAYC holders, they could basically own land for free.
At the time of writing, one APECoin is priced at $3.20.
Yuga Labs is undoubtedly a pivot of the Web3 space and most of the NFT projects it owns speak for the brand. From BAYC and its subsequent collections MAYC and BAKC, to purchasing CryptoPunks, this company owns some of the best-selling collections of all time.
Nevertheless, the Yuga Labs empire stretches beyond the NFT market. From metaverses to digital tokens and the revolutionary Bitcoin ordinals, this company keeps pushing the limits of the Web3 world as we know it. Projects such as the Otherside metaverse offer immersive experiences that build their community’s loyalty, while introducing new users to this new digital era.
Regardless of their changes in CEO, controversy among NFT users, and legal battles, Yuga Labs stands the test of time – and it’s here to stay.