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From the bored ape to the most anticipated metaverse community, can the electric sheep replicate

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Introduction to Yuga Labs


a. Development Path

Yuga Labs launched its first avatar image (PFP) NFT collection, "Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)," in April 2021. The collection was publicly released with 10,000 units available for purchase at a price of 0.08 ETH, which was approximately $190 at the time. Two months later, Yuga Labs released a new NFT collection called "Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC)" with 10,000 NFTs to be airdropped for free to corresponding BAYC NFT holders.


In August 2021, Yuga Labs launched its third NFT collection, "Mutant Apes Yacht Club (MAYC)," which contained 20,000 NFTs, twice the number of BAYC. 10,000 units were sold for 3 ETH each and were quickly sold out within an hour. Additionally, BAYC holders were airdropped "Mutant Serum," which they could use to mutate their BAYC NFT into a corresponding MAYC NFT, while retaining the original BAYC NFT.


In March 2022, Yuga Labs launched ApeCoin, which was designated as the circulating and governance token of APE DAO. BAYC and MAYC holders were eligible for airdrops of the token. Subsequently, in May 2022, Yuga Labs released Otherdeed, a land-based NFT for Otherside, with a total of 100,000 pieces available. The rarest core land of 10,000 pieces was airdropped to BAYC holders, while the second-tier land of 20,000 pieces was airdropped to MAYC holders. Additionally, 15,000 peripheral lands were reserved for team and developer incentives, while the remaining 55,000 pieces of land were sold publicly for 305 APE (approximately $5,700 at the time). On the day of the sale, these lands sold out in less than three hours, sparking a gas war.


b. Introduction to BAYC

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a PFP NFT project featuring images of bored apes with various expressions and accessories. Each bored ape has a unique appearance, generated by an algorithm that randomly combines over 170 features, including expressions, headwear, and clothing. Bored ape NFTs also serve as membership to the BAYC, granting a range of benefits, including access to BAYC restrooms for graffiti art. In addition, holders of bored apes have commercial rights to their owned images.


In April 2021, BAYC released 10,000 blind box NFTs for a fair price of 0.08 ETH (approximately $190 at the time). Players could only discover the appearance of their NFTs after a certain time. At the time, the standard issuance model for NFT projects was a curve issuance, where the purchase price increases as the number of units sold increases. However, BAYC pursued a fair pricing policy to attract more participants, which did not cause a stir at the initial launch. It was not until a week later when NFT collector Pranksy announced on Twitter that he had purchased 250 bored apes that BAYC received widespread discussion and attention, and the remaining bored apes were sold out quickly.


With its interesting story background, high image recognition, strong community, and open commercial rights, the popularity of bored apes continued to soar. In just a few months, the price of bored apes skyrocketed from less than 1 ETH to dozens of ETH. The celebrity effect also played an indispensable role. In August 2021, an NBA star bought a bored ape and used it as his Twitter avatar, which brought more attention and quickly made BAYC popular. Since then, more and more celebrities have owned bored apes, including rapper Eminem, talk show host Jimmy Fallon, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, well-known investor Mark Cuban, Jay Chou, Justin Bieber, and more. These celebrities bring huge audiences, and their holdings further increase the popularity of BAYC, pushing the price of bored apes to new heights, with a peak floor price of over 100 ETH.


c. Introduction to MAYC

MAYC is an NFT collection launched by Yuga Labs in August 2021 as an extension of BAYC. This is the second expansion of the Bored Ape ecosystem, the first being the Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) airdrop, but BAKC holders were not members of the BAYC club. The issuance included 20,000 Mutant Ape NFTs, with 10,000 distributed as an airdrop to BAYC holders as a reward for minting a Mutant Ape NFT, and the other 10,000 sold publicly at an initial price of 3 ETH to expand the community. These 10,000 NFTs were sold out within an hour. The purpose of this issuance was to reward existing club members (i.e., BAYC holders) and lower the barrier to entry by allowing them to mint a Mutant Ape NFT corresponding to their owned Bored Ape NFT using a serum airdrop. Compared to the floor price of BAYC at around 40 ETH at the time, MAYC's 3 ETH price greatly reduced the barrier to entry into the club. However, the level of membership for holders of Mutant Ape NFTs was lower than that of Bored Ape NFT holders.


The public sale of MAYC used a Dutch auction, where a high initial price was set and decreased over time. This was because after the explosion of BAYC, NFT collections on Ethereum were often preemptively minted by bots using high gas fees, causing a gas war that congested the Ethereum network and discouraged many potential NFT buyers. To address this issue, Yuga Labs estimated the market price and set an initial price (3 ETH) far above the market price and planned to gradually reduce the price to 0.01 ETH within nine hours. However, the popularity of MAYC far exceeded expectations, and it was sold out within an hour, with a final price of around 2.79 ETH.


For Bored Ape holders, the serum airdrop could be seen as a reward from Yuga Labs to old members. In this airdrop, Bored Ape holders could receive a serum in M1, M2, or MEGA versions based on probability. Using M1 or M2 serum would generate a Mutant Ape with some of the original Bored Ape characteristics retained, while using MEGA serum would produce a rare Mutant Ape with entirely new characteristics. These Mutant Apes could be sold on the secondary market for profit. Of course, members could also sell the serum directly on the secondary market to earn profits.


Recalling the initial launch of BAYC, the selling price was only 0.08 ETH, which means that Yuga Labs only raised 800 ETH in funds for their first NFT collection. Although the initial earnings may have been decent, the subsequent explosion of BAYC, with a floor price reaching 40 ETH, created a gap for the project team. Therefore, Yuga Labs had the motivation to launch new projects, raise more funds, and expand the community base, taking advantage of the BAYC hype. However, issuing new NFTs inevitably diluted the rights of existing BAYC holders, which could lead to negative sentiment in the community. In this situation, Yuga Labs' designed a clever solution: the airdrop plan for MAYC, which effectively alleviated the issue. The total supply of MAYC is twice that of BAYC, with 20,000 NFTs in total, and half of them were released to the public, with the profits going to Yuga Labs. The other half was fairly distributed to each original BAYC holder. In terms of gameplay, the Mutant Apes obtained by BAYC holders retain some of the characteristics of the parent NFTs, linking the two together. In terms of earnings, BAYC holders shared in the profits of the release, with an average of over 7 ETH earned in the first week after the release.


d. Ape Coin

In March 2022, Yuga Labs released ApeCoin as the circulating and governance token for the APE DAO. The total supply of ApeCoin is one billion, with an initial circulating supply of 277.5 million, and no further minting or burning will occur, thus keeping the total fixed. Of the total, 150 million tokens were airdropped to BAYC/MAYC holders at the time of release, with no lock-up period. Each BAYC holder can receive 10,094 ApeCoins, and if they also hold BAKC, they can receive 10,950 ApeCoins. Each MAYC holder can receive 2,042 ApeCoins, and if they also hold BAKC, they can receive 2,898 ApeCoins. The amount of the airdrop was determined based on the average floor price of NFTs in the month before the release of ApeCoin. It should be noted that holding BAKC alone does not qualify for the airdrop. ApeCoin was initially priced at 1 USDT upon its launch, but quickly rose in value, closing at over 8 USDT on its first day of trading on the Binance exchange. This means that BAYC holders could earn at least $80,000 in profits by selling their ApeCoin airdrops on the first day, while MAYC holders could earn over $20,000.


e. Introduction to Otherside

In May 2022, Yuga Labs launched Otherdeed, the land NFTs for the Otherside metaverse project. The first batch of 100,000 lands were released, classified into five levels of rarity, from the highest to the lowest: Biogenic Swamp, Chemical Goo, Rainbow Atmos, Cosmic Dream, and Infinite Expanse. Biogenic Swamp, with 10,000 lands located in the core area of the map, was airdropped to BAYC holders, while Chemical Goo, with 20,000 lands surrounding the Biogenic Swamp, was airdropped to MAYC holders. The remaining 70,000 lands were divided into 15,000 for the team and developers and 55,000 for public sale.


Originally, the Otherside project planned to sell the lands through a Dutch auction, similar to the MAYC release. However, shortly before the launch, the project announced a fixed price of 305 ApeCoin (around $5,700 at the time) for each land. Although the project set strict conditions to prevent overheating, such as KYC verification before purchase and the use of ApeCoin instead of ETH for minting, the final result still triggered a gas war. The gas fee reached as high as 3 ETH (around $9,000 at the time) and even exceeded the NFT price. Within less than three hours, all 55,000 Otherdeed NFTs were sold out.


Despite the low rarity of the three land types for sale, the Otherside project still attracted intense demand, demonstrating the project's popularity and community loyalty. As the core members of the community, BAYC and MAYC holders received higher rarity lands for free. In the first week of the sale, the average sale price of Biogenic Swamp lands airdropped to BAYC holders was 36.88 ETH, while the average sale price of Chemical Goo lands airdropped to MAYC holders was 13.95 ETH.


In July 2022, the Otherside project started its first round of testing, and only users who held Otherdeed were allowed to participate.


f. Conclusion

Looking back at Yuga Labs' success, they started with a simple avatar NFT and through continuous effort, they built a strong community and brand, becoming a leader in the avatar NFT market. In addition, they established a DAO, released their own token, and built an exciting metaverse. Yuga Labs' development process demonstrates the importance they place on community members. BAYC holders, as core members of the community, have a strong sense of loyalty, which we believe is due to the value of member benefits and the actual economic value of airdrops. For example, imagine an original holder of a Bored Ape NFT who initially minted it for 0.08 ETH and has held onto it without selling. The price of this NFT, combined with the cumulative airdrops, has now become a considerable fortune. First, there was the BAKC airdrop, which currently has a floor price of 7.8 ETH (about $2,900); then came the MAYC serum airdrop, which brought a Mutant Ape NFT currently with a floor price of 15.4 ETH (about $25,000); next was the ApeCoin airdrop, which gave them 13,352 APE tokens (currently worth about $76,600); followed by two high-rarity Otherside lands, one worth 3.3 ETH (about $5,280) and the other worth 1.77 ETH (about $2,800); and finally, the current floor price of BAYC is 78.3 ETH (about $125,000). When all of these assets are taken into account, the initial cost of minting a Bored Ape NFT for around $190, now has a total value of around $237,580, resulting in over 1,000 times the original investment. Even if someone missed the public sale and bought a Bored Ape NFT on the secondary market for 0.5 ETH, they could still earn several hundred times their initial investment.


Introduction to Ultiverse


Ultiverse is a blockchain 3A platform developed using Unreal Engine 5, with a focus on connecting Web3, VR, and other features to create a virtual world for players to immerse themselves in and socialize. The project's vision is to build a metaverse platform as the central hub for the community, allowing players to engage in a variety of activities such as trading, shopping, completing tasks, playing games, listening to music, socializing, building, and creating.


The Ultiverse team has extensive experience in 3A game development and has raised $950 million in funding. Currently, the project has released a core NFT called Electric Sheep and is in the process of coin issuance. Ultiverse is divided into three main modules: the metaverse platform Terminus, the resource collection war game Endless Loop, and the 3A strategy game Dark Fantasy. Currently, Terminus City is undergoing internal testing and is only accessible to Electric Sheep holders.


a. Team Background

As per publicly available information, the Ultiverse team members have strong game development experience and backgrounds. They come from international game giants including Blizzard, Tencent, and Ubisoft, and have experience developing and operating several well-known 3A titles such as Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed, and Elder Scrolls. The CEO is also a passionate gamer with long-term MMORPG game experience. These experiences and backgrounds undoubtedly provide strong support and assurance for the Ultiverse team to create high-quality games and metaverse platforms. However, the success of game development and metaverse platforms also depends on various factors such as market acceptance and user experience, which requires the team to continuously strive and improve during actual development.


b. Funding

On March 18, 2022, Ultiverse announced that it had completed a $4.5 million seed round of funding, led by Binance Labs and Defiance Capital, with other investors including Three Arrows Capital and SkyVision Capital.


Shortly thereafter, on March 25, Binance Labs chose to invest again, purchasing $5 million worth of equity in Ultiverse. This additional investment was intended to ensure that Binance Labs has more say in Ultiverse's future development path.


c. Products and Roadmap

Ultiverse aims to create a metaverse platform where players can immerse themselves in games and socialize with others. To provide a realistic gaming experience, Ultiverse is developed using Unreal Engine 5, which is commonly used in the development of 3A games. The platform uses BNB Chain with high TPS to store and trade assets within the platform, making it easier for players to store and exchange assets.


Based on the current roadmap and project description, Ultiverse has planned three main modules. The first one is Terminus City, which is the central hub of the platform, similar to the main city in an MMORPG. Here, players can participate in a variety of leisure activities, including accepting quests and teleporting to other metaverse games, showcasing their NFT collections in the gallery, trading in-game items at the Bazaar, hosting and participating in music parties at DJ Control, visiting other blockchain games from Gates, and meeting friends at the Death Circle Bar. The second module is Endless Loop, where players can explore, hunt, and gather resources on multiple planets with unique landscapes and resources. Players can build their own bases to better control resources, create space stations, drive spacecraft to other planets, engage in PVP and PVE battles with players or alien creatures, and participate in massive guild wars. The final module is the 3A strategy game Dark Fantasy, which has not yet been detailed. These modules collectively make up Ultiverse, where players can team up in Terminus City, venture into the worlds of Endless Loop to explore and gather resources, and bring resources back to Terminus City for trading.


Currently, Terminus City has launched its Alpha test, and only those who hold the Electric Sheep NFT are eligible to participate. Next, they will open the Beta test and introduce the economic system in the metaverse. In the following stage, Endless Loop testing will be opened. The final stage will open Terminus City and Endless Loop to all players, begin testing Dark Fantasy, and launch the Ultiverse Developer DAO. It is expected that the project will develop and introduce more modules to Ultiverse in the future.


d. NFT Information

Ultiverse completed the issuance of its core NFT, Electric Sheep, in July 2022, with a total supply of 6,755, including 1,700 whitelisted NFTs that were minted at a price of 0.5 ETH and 5,055 publicly issued NFTs at a price of 0.6 ETH. It should be noted that the total supply of this NFT collection is 10,000. Electric Sheep is not only a PFP NFT, but also comes with a range of benefits for its holders, including: 1. Receiving an Avatar NFT in Terminus; 2. Having the right to participate in the testing of Terminus and Endless Loop; 3. Receiving future token airdrops; 4. Receiving airdrops of Terminus land NFTs in the future.


However, to enjoy the aforementioned benefits, holders need to awaken their NFTs and pledge to reach level 1. The NFT is divided into five levels, and to upgrade from level 0 to level 1 in the first stage, holders need to pledge for one month. The requirements for upgrading in the subsequent stages will be announced later. In addition to fixed rewards, once the NFT reaches level 2, its holders will have the opportunity to participate in regular lotteries, with a chance to win NFTs designed by legendary designers, Electric Sheep's original sketches, as well as additional points, tokens, land, and whitelists for other cooperative projects.


Comparison


Both Otherside and Ultiverse are projects that aim to build a metaverse space, and have similar backgrounds in many aspects. In terms of team, both Otherside's development team Improbable and Ultiverse's team have extensive MMORPG project experience, which guarantees the quality of the product. In addition, both teams have good narrative techniques, with the former portraying an image of a crypto trader strolling in the swamp after getting rich, and the latter describing a fictional futuristic cyberpunk world.


In terms of financing, although Ultiverse's $9.5 million is much less than Yuga Labs' $450 million, this amount is already sufficient for the development of a 3A game. Together with the funds raised by the release of Electric Sheep, it is enough to complete the development of Terminus, but if the Endless Loop section is considered, the current funds may not be sufficient. However, if Terminus receives good feedback, the project team should be confident in raising additional funds from land NFTs and tokens to support the development of the later stages of the game. Similar to Yuga Labs sharing revenue with BAYC holders when releasing MAYC and Otherdeed, Ultiverse will also airdrop a portion of the new NFTs to Electric Sheep holders when releasing them in the future.


In terms of system, both projects connect the user entrance through a core PFP NFT, and then bind airdrops, tokens and other rights to that NFT.


In terms of price, before the explosion of BAYC, it had been hovering below one ETH, but with its popularity, its price has skyrocketed to over 100 ETH, and its floor price is still stable at around 80 ETH. This is only a part of the value of BAYC, and there are a series of derivative airdrop rewards with a total value of over 100 ETH. In comparison, Electric Sheep's public offering price is 0.6 ETH, and the current floor price is 0.8 ETH. Although the trading volume is not very high, the price has not been affected. This is due to its unique staking mechanism, which indicates that the community's loyalty is very high, and people have confidence in the project's development and are willing to stake Electric Sheep to gain future rewards, thereby reducing the circulation of the NFT. Through comparison and review with Yuga Labs, we believe that Electric Sheep is still at a low level and has high potential.

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