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Yuga Labs: From Nothing to The Disney of Web3 in 2 Years

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From what started two years ago with boring ape JPEGs, Yuga Labs became an industry behemoth with 16 NFT collections in its portfolio. These collections are now responsible for 34.6% of all the trading volume in the NFT industry. This is a report about Yuga Labs, Bored Ape Yacht Club and the establishment of a true Web3 brand. 

As we approach the second anniversary of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) on April 30,, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the incredible journey of Yuga Labs and its impact on the NFT and dapp world. In an industry characterized by rapid change and occasional uncertainty, projects that consistently deliver value to their communities are the ones that stand the test of time, weathering the ups and downs of the market cycle. While some projects have “rug-pulled” their communities, abandoning development or reneging on promises made to holders, or simply failing to live up to high expectations, Yuga Labs has emerged as a leading example of commitment to providing value and nurturing its NFT holder community.

In this report, we will delve into the Yuga Labs ecosystem, analyzing its remarkable growth, achievements, and the factors that contribute to its ongoing success. By examining its performance across multiple domains, we will showcase the importance of a strong foundation. Moreover, we will dive into Yuga’s unwavering dedication to community engagement in creating a lasting and influential presence in the world of NFTs and dapps.

Key Takeaways 

  • Yuga Labs 16 NFT collections represent 34.6% of the entire NFT industry, having a total trading volume in the past 2 quarters of $2 billion.
  • The Bored Ape Yacht Club collection has the highest floor price of 51.45 ETH in the NFT industry, followed closely by CryptoPunks at 49.49 ETH.
  • Otherdeed for Otherside is the top-performing metaverse NFT collection, boasting $322 million in trading volume over the past two quarters, an average sale price of $3,112, and 5.52 trades per NFT.
  • Yuga Labs’ acquisition of WENEW and 10KTF resulted in the latter accounting for 74% of Q1 2023’s total NFT fashion trading volume.
  • APE’s impressive $1.48 billion market cap makes it the leading gaming token, showcasing its remarkable growth when compared to established Web2 gaming companies like Ubisoft ($3.46 billion MC) and Square Enix ($6 billion MC).

1. Yuga Labs: the rising pillar of the NFT industry – an ecosystem overview

Yuga Labs has risen to prominence as one of the most influential and financially successful entities in the NFT ecosystem. Its flagship NFT project, the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), holds the record for being the world’s most profitable NFT project, boasting an all-time trading volume of $2.88 billion.

Established in February 2021 and incorporated in Delaware, United States, Yuga Labs has experienced rapid expansion over the past two years. It has acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits, two of the most valuable NFT projects in the community, and is currently developing its own gaming metaverse, known as Otherside.

Presently, Yuga Labs’ 16 NFT collections account for 34.6% of the entire NFT industry, having achieved a total trading volume of $2 billion in the past two quarters alone. The company’s success can be attributed to its commitment to integrating art, identity, ownership, utility, interoperability, and culture in order to advance the crypto/NFT space.

The BAYC project originated as a collaborative art initiative, allowing the community to develop and evolve the concept together. This simple idea eventually transformed into a futuristic, swampy rendition of Miami, featuring a yacht club’s bathroom stall inhabited by bored apes. Today, BAYC is valued at billions of dollars, with numerous celebrities among its ape holders.

On 18 June, 2021, Yuga Labs introduced a spinoff collection for Bored Ape holders, the Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC), followed by the Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) on 28 August, 2021. NFTs from both collections quickly garnered high demand on secondary markets, with some of the world’s most famous individuals purchasing them.

Flash forward to March 2022, Yuga Labs raised $450 million in a funding round, reaching a $4 billion valuation. The round was led by venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), which has also played a significant role in launching Web3 organizations such as Dapper Labs, Coinbase, and OpenSea. Other notable investors include Coinbase, Animoca Brands, Samsung, and Google Ventures, among others.

Yuga Labs remains dedicated to its mission of merging art, identity, ownership, utility, interoperability, and culture to push the crypto/NFT space forward. The development and expansion of the Ape’s family tree (BAYC, BAKC, MAYC) continue to represent the “selling art” aspect, while milestones like granting BAYC owners access to exclusive merchandise, BAYC mutation serum for minting MAYCs, tickets to APE FEST, and ApeCoin airdrops serve as “exclusive club” benefits for the Yuga Labs community.

The company’s unwavering commitment to delivering unique and valuable experiences for its users has solidified its standing as a leader in the NFT ecosystem. Yuga Labs has successfully built a robust ecosystem that offers both financial and social rewards for its users, demonstrating no signs of slowing its momentum.

2. A deep dive into the BAYC NFT ecosystem

Yuga Labs has made a significant impact in the world of NFTs capturing the attention of the market. From the Bored Ape Yacht Club to Otherdeed Expanded, Yuga Labs continues to release innovative NFT collections that are eagerly anticipated by collectors and investors alike.

Launched in April 2021, the Bored Ape Yacht Club was Yuga Labs’ first collection and has since become one of the most sought-after NFT collections in the market. According to NFT rankings, it holds the third-highest all-time trading volume, following Axie Infinity and CryptoPunks, boasting a total trading volume of $2.88 billion or 1,030,104 ETH.

Yuga Labs has also successfully created a distinctive ecosystem of interconnected NFT collections that yield high utility for their holders. For example, owning a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT granted holders a Bored Ape Kennel Club NFT, which later led to the Mutant Ape Yacht Club. The Bored Ape Kennel Club’s floor price has increased by 874% since its launch, while the Mutant Ape Yacht Club’s floor has appreciated by an astonishing 19,300% since minting.

Additionally, Yuga Labs is expanding into the metaverse with the Otherdeed NFT collection. This collection represents nearly 90% of the entire virtual world trading volume, as noted in our Q1 metaverse report.

Over the past two quarters, the Bored Ape Yacht Club has maintained the highest NFT trading volume among all collections, with an average sale of $100,675. Traders within this collection tend to trade an NFT on average 3.52 times, and a trader trades on average 4.10 times an NFT from the BAYC collection.

The Mutant Ape Yacht Club holds the second-highest NFT collection trading volume within the past two quarters, with an average sale of $22,495. Traders within this collection tend to trade an NFT on average 5.72 times, and a trader trades on average 5.87 times an NFT from this collection.

Finally, the Bored Ape Kennel Club ranks eighth in the top NFT collections by trading volume over the past two quarters, with an average sale of $11,184 and 16,469 sales. Traders within this collection tend to trade an NFT on average 7.50 times, and a trader trades on average 6.76 times an NFT from this collection.

Yuga Labs’ ecosystem, however, extends beyond collectibles. As mentioned earlier, they are also developing a gaming ecosystem that will be explored in the following section.

3. Whales of the BAYC

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) has taken the NFT world by storm with its unique and engaging collection of NFTs. As the collection continues to grow in popularity, it’s essential to understand the distribution of ownership among the holders to gauge the risk of price manipulation or collusion. This article dives into the whale concentration and top holders within the Bored Ape Yacht Club, shedding light on the health and diversity of this thriving NFT community.

The BAYC collection has a Unique Holders Ratio of 56%, indicating a distributed collection with a lower risk of collusion among holders. With a whale concentration of just 4.59%, the chances of price manipulation by large holders are relatively low compared to other NFT collections.

Among the top holders, one prominent whale, holds 2.2% of the BAYC collection (222 BAYC) and 1.45% of the Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) collection. The second-largest whale holds 86 BAYC, 88 BAKC, and 32 MAYC. To further analyze the wallets of these whales and others in the top NFT collections, you can use DappRadar’s NFT portfolio tracking tool.

A notable contract from BenDAO holds 379 BAYC, reflecting the recent trend of traders lending their apes to introduce DeFi use-cases in the NFT world. This development further diversifies the BAYC collection and showcases its adaptability to the evolving digital landscape.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s low whale concentration and high Unique Holders Ratio signify a healthy and diversified collection with a low risk of price manipulation. The introduction of DeFi use cases and the active participation of top holders in other NFT collections demonstrate the collection’s strength and versatility in the ever-evolving world of NFTs. As the BAYC community continues to grow and innovate, it remains a prime example of the potential that lies within the NFT space.

4. Exploring Yuga Labs’ gaming ecosystem: from Dookey Dash to Legends of the Mara

The gaming ecosystem created by Yuga Labs has quickly become one of the most-talked-about in the Web3 industry. With the upcoming launch of Otherside, Yuga Labs is looking to create a one-of-a-kind gaming experience for its users. For example, they want the metaverse project to connect with the broader ecosystem and turn NFTs into playable characters. Their approach also embraces interoperability, as holders from other leading NFT projects like Cool Cats, World of Women, and RENGA will have the chance to don their avatars in the Otherside.

The ambitious project has attracted attention due to its gamification plan, connection with Animoca Brands, and an all-time trading volume of $1.42 billion (600.936 ETH).

Source: DappRadar

The first test of the Otherside metaverse platform took place in July 2022 and saw over 4,600 players participate. On 25 March, 2023, the second trial run happened, and according to Yuga Labs, about 7,200 players attended the 90-minute test run.

On 28 March, Yuga Labs released Legends of the Mara, a collection-based 2D strategy game that picks up where the events of the second run into the Otherside ended. In the game, players learn about Kodas, their origins, and their primal relationship with Otherside. To play Legends of the Mara, players will need at least one Otherdeed, a Koda, and possibly an apprentice Mara. Each Otherdeed holder can claim one Vessel NFT, which has different functions like hunting, farming, and enchanting.

Since their launch, Otherside Vessels made $6,32 million (3.328 ETH) in NFT trading volume, and Otherside Koda registered a total of $6,77 million (3.288 ETH).

Furthermore, Yuga Labs is not focusing on collectibles and the metaverse alone. On 18 January, Yuga Labs launched Dookey Dash. This simple but challenging game served as an interactive minting experience.

To participate, users needed a Sewer Pass in their crypto wallet. These passes were initially airdropped to BAYC and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFT holders for free and have since appeared on secondary NFT marketplaces, fetching as much as $113.8 million in trading volume.

Source: DappRadar

The game was a massive success, with over 25,000 Sewer Pass holders accumulating 7.5 million Dookey Dash runs, equivalent to roughly 80 years’ worth of playtime. The average player spent nearly 28 hours per Sewer Pass, and the game helped expand the BAYC ecosystem by 40%. The competitive minting experience ended on 6 February.

Yuga Labs has always valued exclusivity over accessibility, and Dookey Dash is no exception. The game was designed to reward existing community members with a tradable game pass that provides access to the web browser-based game and has value on the secondary market. This exclusivity has helped support a higher floor price, with speculators betting on the future value of the NFT rewards and their gameplay skills.

The game’s success raises questions about the value and utility of these passes once the game ends. However, Sewer Pass holders need not worry as Yuga Labs has already announced that they will be able to participate in the next iteration of its virtual world, The Summoning.

On 15 March, Sewer Pass holders were able to transform their passes into a Power Source. Dookey Dash scores played a critical role in this, with higher scores resulting in different types of Power Sources with rarer traits. There were eight possible Power Sources available to claim, adding another layer of exclusivity to the experience.

Source: DappRadar

The mechs featured in the game are part of a new collection called HV-MTL, which has already generated $45.46 million in trading volume.

Performance in the last 2 quarters

As said above, among the most successful NFT collections related to gaming in the Yuga Labs ecosystem is Otherdeed for Otherside. It has achieved the highest trading volume in the metaverse, with a total of $322 million in trading volume in the last two quarters. It has an average sale of $3,112 and a total of 97,974 sales, out of which 17,733 were unique NFTs. This translates to an average of 5.52 trades per NFT and 9.88 trades per trader.

Another successful NFT collection is Sewer Pass, which managed to position itself on the tenth place on the top 10 NFT collection by trading volume, with a total trading volume of $113 million in just one quarter. It has an average sale of $4,668 and a total of 23,494 sales, out of which 11,282 were unique NFTs. This translates to an average of 2.08 trades per NFT and 3.39 trades per trader.

The latest NFT collection related to gaming in the Yuga Labs ecosystem is HV-MTL, which was launched in mid-March 2023. Despite being launched recently, it has already managed to achieve an NFT trading volume of $20 million in just two weeks. It closed the quarter on the 36th place from the same list as Sewer Pass. While the collection is not heavily traded, an NFT from that collection is traded on average 1.66 times, and a trader, on average, trades 3.38 times an NFT from the collection.

The Yuga Labs gaming ecosystem has been experiencing continuous expansion with impressive results, as demonstrated in our analysis in this section. As we move forward, let’s shift our focus to the next area of interest: Yuga Labs’ strategic acquisitions. We will explore how these acquisitions have played a crucial role in their success and why they have effectively contributed to the company’s growth and development.

5. A look at the success of the CryptoPunks and Meebits acquisition

Yuga Labs made headlines when it acquired the IP rights for CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT collections from Larva Labs in March 2021. This acquisition significantly increased Yuga Labs’ presence in the NFT landscape, as both collections had an estimated market cap at that time of $2.42 billion and $370 million, respectively. After the acquisition, at the end of March 2022 the estimated market cap for Yuga Labs’ NFTs increased to $8.1 billion, representing 42.6% of Ethereum’s top 100 NFT collections.

The impact of Yuga Labs’ acquisition was immediate, with trading for both collections increasing by 1,000% the day after the announcement. The demand for CryptoPunks and Meebits continued to surge, and as of today, both collections remain blue-chip and highly traded NFTs. In fact, in the past two quarters, CryptoPunks had a total trading volume of $286 million, while Meebits had a trading volume of $46 million.

One notable fact about CryptoPunks is that it has the highest average sale price of any NFT collection at $114,437. Additionally, it has recently been heavily traded on Blur Marketplace, with 87% of the total trading volume for CryptoPunks taking place on this platform. It is interesting to note that the average trade size on Blur is 7.34% lower than on the CryptoPunk native NFT marketplace. This underlines that traders on both marketplaces trade the NFTs with different intentions.

Meebits, on the other hand, had a total of 9,179 sales in the past two quarters, with just 2,019 unique NFTs sold. This means that on average, an NFT from this collection is traded 4.55 times, and a trader trades an NFT from this collection 5.85 times.

Since the acquisition of CryptoPunks and Meebits, Yuga Labs has continued to make strategic moves in the NFT industry. In November 2022, it acquired Web3 ecosystem WENEW and its flagship NFT collection, 10KTF, which propelled Yuga Labs into the fashion industry. In the first quarter of 2023, the 10KTF collections represented 74% of the entire trading volume of NFT fashion collections.

In conclusion, Yuga Labs’ acquisition of CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs was a significant move that further cemented its position as a dominant player in the NFT landscape.

6. Pioneering the Web3 fashion revolution

Besides the high-end collectibles and their gaming face, Yuga Labs has also been making waves in the fashion industry with its innovative collaborations, bringing together the world of high-end fashion and Web3 technology, as we’ve previously mentioned in the section above with the 10KTF acquisition. This section delves into Yuga Labs’ latest partnerships with Gucci, Adidas, and Puma, and how these collaborations are redefining the fashion landscape while creating new revenue streams and rebranding opportunities.

Yuga Labs x Gucci: Luxury Digital Fashion in the Metaverse

On March 27, Gucci announced a partnership with Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, to bring luxury digital fashion into the metaverse. According to a Business of Fashion report, Gucci and Yuga Labs have signed a multiyear partnership to collaborate within Yuga Labs’ Otherside metaverse and its 10KTF collection. The partnership aims to explore joint opportunities between Web3 fashion and entertainment.

The two companies have previously collaborated on the Gucci Grail collection, which featured designs from 10KTF creator Wagmi-San.

Yuga Labs x Puma: Grailed PUMA Slipstream Sneaker Collaboration

On April 25, Yuga Labs announced a collaboration with Puma to release custom sneakers under the 10KTF Web3 brand. The partnership expands on the previous collaboration between the two companies, which started last summer. Puma’s iconic Slipstream sneaker line will be transformed into various NFTs, and the new sneaker drop is called “Grailed PUMA Slipstream.”

Beginning April 27, Puma Nitro NFT holders and 10KTF community members can get a customized physical edition of Slipstream sneakers.

Source: DappRadar

Puma chief brand officer Adam Petrick emphasized the intention to reimagine the traditional sneaker release format, stating, “We were able to bridge the gap between physical and digital and showcase one-of-a-kind designs in partnership with long-time PUMA collaborator, Alexander John.”

Yuga Labs x Adidas: The Indigo Herz Pack and ALTS by Adidas NFTs

Adidas’ NFT project, Indigo Herz, recently launched the “Indigo Herz Pack” to provide token-gated access to ALTS by Adidas NFT holders. The limited-edition series includes Bored Ape Yacht Club 2,145 pairs of Superstar shoes, a collaboration with PUNKS Comic and gmoneyNFT, and 2,195 hoodies featuring PUNKS Comic art.

Source: Twitter

AdiClub members can get early access to the collection during membership weeks starting April 26 (EU) and April 27 (other countries). This is a clear example of how brands can create gated experiences to reward their loyal fanbases.

Yuga Labs’ fashion collaborations with Puma, Gucci, and Adidas are not only pushing the boundaries of Web3 and fashion but also providing significant brand awareness for all parties involved. These partnerships create new revenue streams and rebranding opportunities for the fashion industry, showcasing the limitless potential of integrating digital technology into the world of high-end fashion. As Yuga Labs continues to lead the charge in this exciting new frontier, it’s clear that the future of fashion is being reshaped before our very eyes.

7. Yuga Labs vs. rising blue-chip NFTs

The NFT market has witnessed the rise of several high-profile collections, with Yuga Labs leading the charge. However, the beauty of this industry lies in its diversity, allowing new and innovative projects to make a mark.

This exclusivity, coupled with Yuga Labs’ presence in 6 of the top 10 NFT collections by all-time trading volume, showcases their tremendous impact on the market. Yuga Labs’ expanding ecosystem has successfully created hype and engagement across multiple sectors, setting a high benchmark for others to follow, and we will dive into the rest of the top 10 NFT collections by all-time trading volume.

Proof Collective

Despite facing challenges, Proof Collective has managed to stay relevant in the NFT space. Launching the “Moonbirds: Diamond Exhibition” collection, featuring works from 22 renowned artists, Proof Collective has displayed its resilience and commitment to the industry.

Though the Moonbirds collection has a smaller pool of traders, the trading volume remains impressive, reaching $191 million in the past 2 quarters, signifying its value in the market.


Azuki, with its unique Japanese aesthetic and diverse traits, has become a frontrunner in the anime-based NFTs category. The collection has maintained a floor price above 10 ETH for the past six months and amassed a trading volume of $309 million., demonstrating its status as a blue-chip NFT collection. Azuki has also contributed to the industry with its ERC-721A smart contract, minimizing gas fees for NFT transactions.


RTFKT, acquired by Nike in December 2021, has emerged as a game-changing design studio focusing on branded NFT collectibles and metaverse-ready sneakers. The studio’s community-driven and identity-focused approach has set it apart from other collections, with its CloneX collection boasting a current floor price of 2.94 ETH and a trading volume of $211 million, co-designed by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, offering unique visuals and utility across multiple metaverse platforms.


Doodles ecosystem is an innovative and thriving digital art space, where the floor price stands at 2.34 ETH. Over the past two quarters, it had a trading volume of $176 million, demonstrating the immense popularity and value of these unique collectibles. The recent launch of Doodles 2 on the Flow blockchain signifies a pivotal moment in forging a unified web3 world. Cross-chain interoperability is the key to unlocking the full potential of the ecosystem, and Doodles is leading the charge in bridging the gap between diverse blockchain networks.

While Yuga Labs’ dominance in the NFT industry remains unchallenged, it is encouraging to see other collections making their mark, focusing on various utilities and services to cater to a diverse audience. The continued success of these emerging blue-chip collections highlights the thriving and ever-evolving nature of the NFT market.

8. APE: the Web3 gaming token with the highest market cap

ApeCoin (APE) is a token developed by Yuga Labs, and an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum blockchain. Initially, Yuga airdropped the APE token to holders of certain NFTs, such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) or the Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) collections, with the possibility of receiving tokens with a value of more than $100,000.

Holding APE provides users with membership in the ApeDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that allows them to vote on proposals for system improvements and govern the community surrounding the token. APE is intended to be used as a utility token or currency in Web3 projects, such as games and metaverse worlds.

At the time of writing, the market cap of APE is $1.48 billion, making it the most valuable gaming token. To put this into perspective, traditional Web2 gaming companies such as Ubisoft, which have been in the industry for decades, have a market cap of only $3.46 billion, and Square Enix of $6 billion.

The developers of APE have identified four main purposes for the token. 

  1. Governance – holders can participate in the ApeDAO and make decisions about the direction of the community and future ventures. 
  2. Unification of spend – APE can be used as a decentralized currency powered by the Ethereum blockchain. 
  3. Access — holding APE can provide users with opportunities, such as additional airdrops or exclusive real-world events, as a part of the community. 
  4. Incentivization – developers of new blockchain projects such as games or metaverses can incorporate ApeCoin into their projects and participate in the Yuga Labs ecosystem.

It is important to note that ApeCoin is not restricted to Yuga Labs projects. The game Benji Bananas, developed and published by Animoca Brands, is a play-to-earn (P2E) game in which players can earn ApeCoin. In this case, the APE rewards exist alongside the game’s native PRIMATE token rewards. The creators of ApeCoin envision that this type of adoption will expand and continue into the future.

9. Conclusion 

As we conclude our analysis of the Yuga Labs ecosystem, it is evident that this powerhouse is playing a significant role in the NFT industry, with its 16 collections representing 34.6% of the entire sector and a trading volume of $2 billion over the past two quarters. The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s impressive floor price, the meteoric rise of Otherdeed for Otherside in the metaverse, and Yuga Labs’ successful acquisitions, all contribute to its strong market presence.

However, the key to Yuga Labs’ success lies in its unwavering commitment to providing value to its community, which sets it apart from projects that have rug-pulled their supporters. By consistently delivering on promises and executing well-planned strategies, Yuga Labs has established itself as a reliable and trustworthy player in the NFT and crypto space.

Investors and enthusiasts should take note of Yuga Labs’ approach, seeking out projects with a track record of fulfilling their promises and a doxed team to ensure accountability. By prioritizing such projects, the NFT community can foster a more transparent and sustainable ecosystem, where the projects that thrive are those that demonstrate genuine dedication to their communities and persist through the ups and downs of the ever-evolving NFT and crypto market cycles.

(By Sara Gherghelas)

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